If you really want to grow your own food and take control of your food security, you need to plan for all your calorie needs. Here are 5 calorie crops everyone should plant in their survival garden

Growing your own food is something I think everyone should do. Even if you have just a small container garden or one tiny raised bed.

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Having a garden gives you an appreciation for where you food comes from. It also helps keep the younger generations in touch with the where their food comes from- which is so important in this time.

But if you want to grow a garden that helps you become more self sufficient, a survival garden, to sustain all or most of your family’s food needs, then you need to know about calorie crops.


5 calorie crops you need in your garden for self sufficiency


What are calorie crops?

Technically, calorie crops are calorie efficient crops- or fruits, vegetables or seeds, that offer a high amount calories (energy) per garden space.

More than that- they are foods you can grow that will give you calories, energy, and bulk.

I mean- imagine the grocery stores all closed down today and your garden was all that was left to feed you. What would that look like for you?

Can you imagine surviving on lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers alone? No!

You need more foods that are higher in calories that will fill you up. That’s where planting these important crops in your survival garden comes in! (and even if you aren’t planning a garden for food security, these crops are still worth planting!)


5 Calorie Crops You Need to Plant in Your Survival Garden




Beans are a legume that is high in both protein and calories.

Green beans are great, but better are dry beans. Dry beans will have more calories and go further in meals, plus they are more shelf stable and last much longer. Many types of dry beans give an average of 1500 calories per pound.

Dry beans to consider growing are:

  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Fava Beans
  • Cow Peas
  • Chick Peas

Basically any kind of dry bean you can grow in your climate. Test out a few and see what grows best.


dry corn and cornmeal



Corn is a staple in many gardens- and there’s nothing more satisfying than biting into a fresh picked ear of corn on the cob.

And while fresh corn will provide you with nutrition and calories, you will get more calories from your garden if you plant grain corn.

That is corn you dry and grind into cornmeal.

Dry corn will give you an average of 1500 calories per pound. Plus it’s very versatile to cook into a lot of different meals and dishes.

The main types of corn grown for this purpose are:

  • Dent Corn
  • Flint Corn
  • Flour Corn

All can be ground into corn meal, but some get finer than others. Search out a company like Victory Seeds, for heirloom, non-GMO seeds.


fresh dug potatoes



There’s no denying that the potato is a filling crop! It’s also one that is easily grown in many climates and has a fairly long storage life.

In many locations you can grow 2 crops per year- only taking up to about 90 days total from plant to harvest.

Potatoes will give you the most calories in the smallest space in the garden. You can even grow them above ground in a 5 gallon bucket or a large potato tower for a large harvest.

You can grow white, yellow, blue, or red potatoes.

My personal favorites are Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac.


homegrown sweet potatoes


Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another wonderful calorie crop for self-sufficiency. They are high in calories, and are full of nutrients like beta carotene.

Like white potatoes, they can be grown in most climates- though they do love heat.

Sweet potatoes aren’t the same as normal potatoes, they are in the morning glory family and produce long vines (which are also edible) with the sweet potatoes under ground.

Learn how to grow sweet potatoes for your garden- you won’t be sorry!

Then check out all these recipes you can use sweet potatoes in!


pile of various winter squash


Winter Squash

And finally, winter squash.

While many varieties of winter squash can take more room to grow, the results are well worth it. Though growing vertically can help reduce the space needed to grow this calorie crop.

It’s also a crop that can grow in most climates.

Winter squash if full of vitamins and nutrients, and has a long shelf life- lasting about 12 months under the correct conditions.

Learn more about how to grow squash– and some of the best winter squash varieties to try out.

And once you have a big harvest- here are 5 ways to preserve winter squash.


purple turnip tops poking out of the ground


Other High Calorie Crops to Grow

Of course, those 5 are not the only high-calorie crops you can plant. I chose them because of the amount of calories, the space needed, versatility, and where they can grow.

Below is a list of other potential calorie crops to consider in your garden:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Turnips (whole plant is edible!)
  • Wheat
  • Soy Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Amaranth
  • Jerusalem artichoke


Whether you are growing a garden to replace the grocery store, for food security and survival, or just to supplement your food sources- these 5 calorie crops definitely deserve a spot each and every year!

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