Introduction: Food for the Apocalypse

Picture of Food for the Apocalypse

Finding useful tips for growing vegetables after the impending apocalypse, much as I have tried, seems to be rather difficult. As a big fan of the Walking Dead, I watched Rick and his family cultivating the grounds in a prison ..... and you just KNOW that his crops are going to get destroyed by zombies! Trying to grow corn is probably not a good idea as it will not only get trampled by those flesh eating creatures, but will attract the attention of marauding gangs of vegetable thieves. A far better tactic is to plant a vegetable such as sugar beet which will blend in with the weeds and is itself very much more resistant to trampling.

Actually, this is not something that I have just invented myself, but is well documented during the second world war when communities took to eating fodder crops normally grown for cattle and sheep. Sugar beet was a particular favourite in Poland where the climate is perfect for this crop and it was largely ignored by invading armies. Other possibilities include swede, which is a lot more tasty and probably has a wider range of nutrients.

Although sugar beet is extremely high in readily accessible calories, it is not a 'complete food' and after eating this vegetable on it's own for several months you will probably begin to suffer severe malnutrition (Mangel-wurzel disease), so your diet will need to be supplemented with plenty of rats, mice, cockroaches etc. However, due to the fact that it contains a huge amount of actual sugar, it can be used to create a very useful substance - alcohol - which can itself be used as an antiseptic for those nasty zombie bites, consumed to reduce the stress and strain of post apocalyptic life or traded with other gangs for food or bullets.

Step 1: Sow the Seeds

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Ideally, the seeds should be sown in a glasshouse in module type seed trays in the early spring and protected against frost. If no glasshouse or polytunnels is available then the seeds can be sown straight into the ground in a dedicated seed bed and then transplanted later on. If the seeds are sown direct in situ there will be a lot more weeding to do.

Step 2: Transplant

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The photo above shows the sugar beet already transplanted and growing nicely with a spacing of about 18" between plants. Sugar beet is not difficult to grow and some well rotted animal manure is useful. Don't be tempted to use human (or zombie) manure as this is a root crop and may pick up nasty bacteria such as cholera etc.

Step 3: Harvest

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When harvesting, the roots can entrap a large amount of soil which can be a bit off putting.

Step 4: Cleaning Off the Soil

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The best thing to use for cleaning is a cement mixer - chop off the leaves and chuck the roots in with lots of water. The leaves can be cooked and will be a valuable source of vitamins.

Step 5: First Chop

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Chop the roots into large chunks and throw them back into the cement mixer for a second wash.

Step 6: Chopping Again

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Chop up the roots once more and wash again in fresh water. They should be nice and clean by now.

Step 7: Shredding

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The roots could be cooked like they are for a very sweet tasting meal or processed further with a garden shredder for alcohol production.

Step 8: Alcohol Production

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The shredded roots are cooked in a large saucepan or stock pot for a couple of hours and the sweet tasting dark brown watery juice is saved for brewing sugar beet beer. We can even add hops!

The beer itself, rather strangely, tastes like rough scrumpy cider or mead or a combination of the both. Not pleasant to my own taste, but some people like it. If it's distilled it ends up smelling like methylated spirits, which is a bit off putting, but still great for zombie bites.

More info for making sugar beet beer is HERE. It can also be used for making vinegar HERE.

More on distillation is HERE.

Step 9: Final

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Love your inner zombie - but don't let them trample your vegetables!

Please feel free to add suggestions for improving this technique in the comments section below. This instructable will be updated if I have missed anything.

Please in the competitions - top right - Thanks!


offseidjr (author)2016-11-20


kelms1 (author)2016-11-06

Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening

beer20 (author)2016-10-12

I may have missed it but I think you've forgotten the second best thing to do with distilled alcohol. The Molotov cocktail!

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)beer202016-10-13

Yes I forgot that possibility - but would it work against zombies?

beer20 (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2016-10-13

I think in the book "The Rise of the Governor", they tried that and ended up with a horde of ever marching burned zombies. But they could work against your average intruders, so there's that!

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)beer202016-10-14

Yes, it's pretty brutal though as it wont kill your enemy but inflict a prolonged suffering. Better to trade it for bullets?

WhisperTheEmo (author)2016-10-13

also, potatoes would be perfect

Yes potatoes would be pretty good and a family in Siberia reportedly lived off them for 40 years being completely isolated from society. They are harder to grow, but taste nicer and don't like being trampled so not so good against zombies. They are also harder to disguise and you cant eat the leaves so might get spotted by rival gangs. They can be used to make alcohol but have very little 'free' sugar so need to be sprouted and treated like sprouted barley which is quite a bit more complicated.

Galt (author)2016-10-11

The key to self sufficiency in raising begins with managing to produce a sustainable means of feeding any animal proteins that you might favor without having to leave the compound/farm/bunker. To that end, here follows some ideas and resources to help inspire more of that type of thinking.

Not affiliated with any of these but the last, as we are Kunekune breeders in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. and members of the American registries as well as the BKKPS in the UK. The others are quick scores from Google, but the Orange Osage site has lots of fascinating information, as well as some very nice looking bows made by the site's author. Zombie preparedness has become an industry unto itself it would appear.

Of course it's also good for that day when everyone suddenly wakes up to the fact that the central banks have been perpetrating a massive fraud, and the scrip that people have spent their lives chasing doesn't keep you warm, dry or fed, when the bottom finally comes out of the bucket. Be it zombies, economic collapse, pandemic, or solar induced EMP, nothing makes The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) more potentially tolerable, nay enjoyable, than being prepared.

Grocery stores are for suckers. ;)

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)Galt2016-10-11

Nice photos! :)

Galt (author)2016-10-11

Keep a couple of Kunekune pigs (friendliest, easiest keeping, greatest
grazing and tasting pig out there) and let them self harvest the beets.
Maybe plant some lopes, watermelon and pumpkins with them That way your
somewhat limited food source is converted into tasty, tasty bacon, and
your pigs feed themselves for a good portion of the year. You can lock
the pigs in the cellar at the night for safe keeping - they're
generally cleaner than most people, but a barn or hut works too.
Kunekunes also stay small and marble like Kobe beef, so you won't find a
more succulent pig

Other than rats and roaches, spirulina
algae is also a tremendous super food for the post apocalypse. All of
the essential amino acids and protein you could want. Just be sure to
start with a pure strain (Univ. of Texas or Texas Tech I believe has a
repository) and it can actually be fed by growing it in waste water used
to scrub combustion gases. It is the only algae that will survive at
the high pH that it requires (over 8 something I believe) so as long as
the pH doesn't drop you are assured of having a pure sample. Important
because some of the blue/green algae that grows at the lower pH is
toxic. Spirulina can be eaten fresh and slimy, or dried and mixed with
other bulkier foods for a more complete nutritional profile.

rabbits are tough to beat for space efficient animal protein that can
be safeguarded from zombies while still replacing itself at a high rate
even in captivity - plus they're pretty portable if ya have to run. If
you're going to stay and fight, try growing a composite "fedge-row" of
copiced bush willow on the inner perimeter, woven into a kind of
espalier lattice of edible forage for pigs and bunnies. Then add an
outer perimeter of copiced and laid down Orange Osage hedge beyond that.
The willow is 14-15% protein and great roughage for the bunnies, and
for the pigs (just gotta watch the calcium) and the limbs are great for
all kinds of survival/homesteading projects - plus it's natural aspirin.
Orange Osage hedge is said to grow "horse-high, bull-strong and
pig-tight". Its thorns will likely further shred any interloping zombies
and its fruit, the "hedge apple", actually looks like a brain - so it
may also work as a distraction to the invading hoard. Orange Osage also
makes a fantastic firewood, great rot proof fence posts, tool handles
and war clubs, and bows made from its limbs are said to be as good or
better than those of the English Yew.

So aside from
providing zombie protection and distraction, animal fodder and medicine,
your "Fedge" could also supply you with great fuel for the fire to
roast your pig or spit your rabbit while you sit back and pick off
distracted zombies with your osage bow and willow arrows. Add a few
mulberry to the hedge (also good firewood and fodder) 'cuz bees love the
blossoms of all three, so you'll have some tasty mulberry mead to wash
it all down with. Maybe save the beet hooch to fuel the Mad Max-mobile
with the algae eating exhaust scrubber (to make you harder to track).
Call it sustainable zombie survival symbiosis. Just 'cuz we're fighting
zombies in the post apocalypse to stay alive doesn't mean we can't enjoy
a good nosh and a flagon 'round the fire. ;)

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)Galt2016-10-11

Wow! some excellent ideas - thanks.

yrralguthrie (author)2016-10-09

In an apocalypse there will be no government. In an emergency the government will not shut down distribution of anything. If anything they will speed up distribution of whatever.

They haven't in the past, re Katrina, about as emergency as it gets.

The government has no plans about what to do about an apocalypse, other than try to keep some semblance of government in place. There is no conspiracy. All in the head of a few wrong headed people.

Not that some in the government would not like to build a conspiracy, but there is no way to keep it quiet government wide. And it would have to change every 4 or 8 years. That is one of the beauties of halving a Federal election every 2 years.

Just not possible.

This is very true ..... But conspiracy theories are such fun ....... Have you heard of the one that hypothesises that god is a group of inter-galactic alien livestock farmers who put us on planet earth so that they could come back some years later to harvest us?

charmrus (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2016-10-10

I dunno....brains aren't too bad. It depends on what kind of wine you pair it with.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)charmrus2016-10-10

Those farmers would drink cider.

yrralguthrie (author)2016-10-06

Just curious. How is artificial intelligence an apocalypse?

No the stores won't be out of food in three days. You just read part of my comment. There will be no one to eat the food.

I differentiated between an emergency (storms, etc) and a real apocalypse.

No use to prepare for all those things you mentioned if no water.

You must remember the guy with the dark glasses in terminator? He was supposed to be an ai. A real ai apocalypse would be nothing like anything that hollywood could create and is almost beyond the limits of human imagination. So imagine the almost unimaginable!

OK, so the ai genetically creates a virus which wipes out 99.999% of the human population. One of the lucky survivors is a waitress in Las vegas. There's enough food in the shops to keep her going for ten years. There's also bottled water and eventually she decides to leave town and go somewhere else that's not in the middle of a desert.

charmrus (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2016-10-10

I think an ill conceived deployment for Apple/Android updates would be the end of civilization as we know it.

I expect that to happen after about 30 minute of not texting to be the trigger point. So it will be quick.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)charmrus2016-10-10

yes especially if they happened at the same time.

yrralguthrie (author)2016-10-06

In any real apocalypse, not just a few days or weeks emergency, 99 percent kof the population will be dead. I think if I am left alive I'll raid the local grocery stores for the first year. In my US county there would likely be less than 100 folks left in the entire county. If one of them gets greedy and wants more than their share I'll raid them.

Gordyh (author)yrralguthrie2016-10-06

"I'll raid the local grocery stores for the first year." That strategy will only work if there is a sudden mass die off. The so called experts say that if the trucks stopped delivering even the big stores would be out of food stocks in 3 days or less. look at what happens in areas where major storms are forecast to hit, store shelves are often emptied before the storm hits and deffinatly empty after the storm. Compound this with time, if things are really bad and the delivery trucks can not get through for a week or more. Study what happened when Caterina hit Louisiana and other storms around the world.

As to the water issue, you are correct. But this was about a possible food source. If you are preparing for an apocalypse there are many things you will need to prepare for, food, water, heat for cooking and house, power, home and personal defense, transportation fuel, medical supplies, to name a few.

muffrat (author)Gordyh2016-10-09

used to work for a distribution company, trust me when i say government have plans.they will shut down food distribution within hours of a emergency and whats left will be gone in hours...plan smart plan for the future

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)Gordyh2016-10-06

Yes it's a question of speed - a slowly coming apocalypse like global warming or a fast one like artificial intelligence.

nealbirch (author)2016-10-06

if you compost the human waste properly, the heat of the composting would kill the bacteria. That does take a little planning though, and time. Also, you can only contaminate the compost with cholera, etc if you have the disease, which you would hopefully notice beforehand. Get your shots, people!

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)nealbirch2016-10-08

Thanks - I did not know that about cholera.

nealbirch (author)Tecwyn Twmffat2016-10-08

It's a bacteria, most all bacteria are killed by heat or bleach.

Already people are dying in Haiti due to cholera (after hurricane Matthew), contaminated water most likely. Haiti was mostly cholera free before the earthquake that devastated the country years ago, rumor has it that aid workers brought in a strain from the far east.

Flooding that affects your septic tank, outhouse or other in-ground septic system is a major concern if you drink the untreated water downstream. You may have a good setup for human/animal waste, what about the folks further up the watershed?
That being said, we used to play in the creek downstream of a pig farm in the 1960's with little effect.
Until our mothers found out!

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)nealbirch2016-10-09

Ha! Mothers can be such killjoys! :) Me and my brother used to play in a stream with raw human sewerage outlets in it. Strangely, it was also full of fish.

Gordyh (author)2016-10-06

You got me thinking ;-) There are other root crops that would be good too. Most root crops also store well in a cool dark place like a root cellar weather it is outside under ground, or a unheated and semi insulated room in the corner of the basement.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)Gordyh2016-10-06

That'll work - just sort out the rotten ones every month or so.

nanaverm (author)2016-10-06

But eat the leaves, too! Beet leaves should be great for nutrition.

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)nanaverm2016-10-06

yes they are!

yrralguthrie (author)2016-10-06

Food is not the problem. You won't live to harvest without water.

Doesn't water depend on the climate? If you live where I do it rains every week and water is not a problem. If you're in las vegas it's probably a different problem?

Emma Schade-Stylli (author)2016-10-05

Nice pics!

Thanks - no dogs this time though :(

kelms1 (author)2016-10-05

Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening
Hey there's another good source of her information for you

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)kelms12016-10-05

Thanks - I'll check it out.

kelms1 (author)2016-10-05

He has several good books

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-10-05

Great apocalypse survival strategy. Hopefully we won't need it for a while. But it is really good to know.

Thanks ..... But the zombie apocalypse has already started!

About This Instructable




Bio: Ugly pirate roaming the seas in search of Treasure.
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