by Jane Rising
Why do you need a good OPSEC in the garden? Well, when SHTF, rest assured that hungry and unprepared neighbors will look at your preparations with great desire. This includes your garden.
For those new to the world of readiness, OPSEC stands for Operational Security. The term is military in origin and means, in the vernacular, keeping your preparations secret. Prepper membership has a lot Articles Stressing the importance of good security process.
So how can we keep good OPSEC in the garden?
Fences are an obvious way. Fences make it more difficult for agile (bandit) feet, too. But there are more subtle ways to hide the garden, most notably the idea edible landscape.
One note of clarification: I’m not advocating tearing up functional garden space in favor of edible landscaping. I propose a way to transform unproductive spaces, such as street-facing and forward-facing side yards, into productive food areas. This method can also work for apartment and apartment residents, who may be dealing with property management/apartment associations who want to see flowers grow, not food.
There are also many edible plants that grow in city squares and most people don’t know that they are edible. Some are very ornate. Be aware, however, that some of them are considered weeds. Your municipality may fine you for planting them. As always, I suggest some research into your municipality’s regulations.
Identification of edible plants for use in landscaping
A plant identification app as well as books on native plants may also be helpful. Favorite is imagine this (App) and a book called Midwest Forage. I would suggest getting a book on foraging in your specific area.
The suggestions below is by no means an exhaustive list. more than The plants listed as examples in this article are from my garden. I discovered these plants a year ago when I couldn’t garden due to health issues. I decided to get to know my yard and the plants that grow there. If there is a plant you like, check it out! Or take your favorite Factory ID app and check out what’s in your yard. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Fill rooftop containers with edible beauty for good OPSEC in the garden!
Some, like the humble hosta, are traditional and edible. The best part is: few people know it! So it is possible to decorate the most conspicuous places in the yard with a food source that is hidden in plain sight. Rapini, also known as broccoli raab, is delicious, nutritious and, in warm climates, perennial.
Lavender smells good, and it has many health benefits, including being used as a sleep aid, and seriously lemonade! Swiss chard and turnip are both showy and easy to grow. Other things that grow in my garden as perennials include ox’s-eye chrysanthemum, borage, yarrow, and sorrel. In my city, this weed is considered harmful, so I may harvest it regularly.
What about parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme?
Basil is great for pollinators and has many uses in cooking, including pesto. Be sure to do your research, though! The trough, while showy and edible, also contains oxalic acid. Therefore, it is best used in salad mixtures and in moderation. What greens and herbs do you use that suit your garden well?
Daisy wrote an article on growth and use lemon balmWhich has many medicinal properties.
The flowers make excellent border and container plants, and attract pollinators
The humble dandelion herb is unfortunately considered edible. You can cook greens like cabbage or rapini, the root is a great liver cleanser when taken as a decoction, and the flowers make great wine! It’s also a great gift for pollinators, being one of the first flowers to bloom when they come out of hibernation.
Lilac flowers make great jelly, roses are excellent sources of vitamin C, and rosehip wine is great! Echinacea purple is commonly used to strengthen the immune system and help relieve symptoms of the common cold. In addition to helping pollinators emerge from hibernation, the humble violet has culinary and medicinal uses. The leaves are rich in vitamin A and C, and the flowers make an excellent jelly. Nasturtium, violin, calendula – the list of edible flowers is long! Sulfur and marigold plants also help keep pests out of your garden. What gifts are hidden in your favorite flowers?
Mulberry bushes also make wonderful edible (and defensive) hedges.
While berry bushes can be identified, Black Berry And berries have large thorns to discourage pests in your garden, or not if you prefer. I have a blackberry fence growing under my deck, as my container garden grows in season, it has many thistles. Climb this if you dare!
Strawberries can be used as border plants because they are low growing. Blueberries can be grown in containers and winter indoors. Berries are generally high in antioxidants and are useful in a variety of recipes. This is one of the daisy, Blueberry Lemon Jamgasm!
Fruit trees, vines, onions and chives!
Many fruit trees come in dwarf varieties. Be sure to check the vaccination requirements! My favorite plum requires cross-pollination except for one type. It was a challenge. Climbing vines such as kiwi, grapes, and beans can provide food and privacy.
Onions, garlic, and chives will help keep pests out of your garden while putting a little spice into your life. However, they need to be overwintered, so plant them in the fall for a nice summer harvest, or let them grow again year after year.
Edible landscaping is a great way to ensure OPSEC quality in the garden!
Edible landscaping can increase your gardening space while fooling everyone from neighbors to property managers to roving city inspectors! Many people are amazed at the goodness that grows in their yards each year and mistake some for weeds. What is growing in your area? What beautiful things can you hide in plain sight?
Source: Organic Prepper
Jayne Rising is a gardener and book educator with a BA from the University of Wisconsin and a Master Gardener. She has been growing food in her small urban area since 2010 and has been teaching others how to do so since 2015. She is involved in a number of local urban farming initiatives, working to bring a sustainable, healthy diet back into the mainstream.