The Potato Is A SHTF Survival Food


There are about 100 calories in one potato. They are fairly easy to grow and you can pack more potato calories per acre than so many other foods.

If the SHTF, and you’re supplementing your food storage with whatever you can grow yourself, you might seriously consider the potato for not only its calories, but for these additional reasons…

The potato has even more potassium than a banana… 40-percent more. That’s good for lowering blood pressure too.

The potato can provide almost half your requirements for vitamin C. That’s in just one potato! Prevent scurvy.

The potato provides a-lot of fiber in their skins. So be sure to eat the skins too…

There have been many people throughout history who have relied on and survived on the potato. As preppers, let’s learn from history and remember that when it comes planting time.

The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop, which most people know…grows underground. It came out of South America (the Andes) 400 years ago and has since become the world’s fourth largest food crop (following rice, wheat and corn).

Potato farms in the United States are producing on average about 40 tonnes per hectare (~2.5 acres).

This is a great survival food for the garden. So even if its off-season, start looking into how you can grow your own potatoes to supplement your other food.

Here is one resource (Wikipedia-Potato) to get you started.

After the USDA had proposed eliminating the potato or restricting its consumption in various federal feeding and nutrition programs, Chris Voigt (Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission) decided to protest these proposals and ate nothing but potatoes for 60 days. His health improved and he lost weight. His potato-only diet attracted a lot of media attention, which helped Congress to intervene and save the potato.

Video link

It should go without saying, but all we’re simply suggesting here is that the potato be added to your other implements to supplement what should be a variety of foods that you’re growing. It’s all about balance (and calories when it comes to survival).

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  1. Taters are OK. They take more space than the article suggests. They are also imfamous for their resistance to disease. Ask the Irish.

    1. Look up potato towers. Potatoes can be grown by laying on top of the ground and piling up mulch as the plant grows. I did this last year. Also look into planting grocery store potatoes. Some say the bit about special seed potatoes is bunk.

      1. store potatoes can sometimes be grown but I have had a lot of them not want to sprout stems. That said if you buy organic one at the store you should have no problem

    2. From what I remember reading about the Irish potato famine it was the type of potatoes that were grown at the time. The government had been pushing farmers to switch to a version of potato that was a prolific producer. After several years when most of the country was using this potato was when the blight hit and continued for several years. Even though the potato was a prolific producer it was also susceptible to blight which people didn’t know at the time. Another example of government getting involved where they shouldn’t.

      1. Peanut Gallery,
        I think you are exactly correct on what happened. also correct on your last sentence

        1. Agreed. It is a classic example of government intervention, as though they know better than the citizenry (farmers in this example).

          1. to Jack and Peanut Gallery

            what really really irks me about gov’t intervention in something like potatoes – agriculture – farm – gardens etc

            is, far as I have been able to discern the folks who make/order such interventions are not – have not been – farmers – landowners – livestock raisers etc themselves. granted, a fair good few of them have advanced degrees in “something” often biology- plant genetics- agriculture BUT

            far as I have been able to discern they have
            no practical life experience
            no practical history of family experience
            no practical history of grandparents experience

            coming fr a background of grandparents / parents who knew/practiced/lived most all you folks discuss on here, I am woefully inadequate.

            so are most of those forcing those types of gov’t interventions. at least I have the history of hearing about these things first hand, and growing up hearing them.

            so many gov’t interventions are visibly stupid

          2. re: advanced degrees

            B.S.–We all know what that means
            M.S.–More of the same
            PHD–Piled high & deep

            We tend to confuse being educated with being smart.

      2. Farmers and gardeners both developed varieties that performed better in their specific conditions. It is called seed saving. It promotes genetic diversity and gives improved crops. Yes, they did know what they were doing.

  2. Potatoes are indeed an excellent choice for home gardens and survival gardens. Not just because they are nutrient dense but also because they are tasty and can be used in so many different ways. Beets and turnips are another great choice.

    1. +100. Planted Beets, Spuds, and Carrots this year and was surprised by my yields from 10×4 foot raised beds.

      We plant a 6×3 foot bed for onions and get enough to last most of the year by dicing them and freezing them in Food Saver bags. On the advice of this blog we also dehydrated some too this year.

      If you’re going to plant Potatoes get yourself a “Fry Cutter”, they’re cheap and you can fill your freezer with Fries.

      1. Good job! I believe growing food is easier than the hours spent working, driving to store, picking out produce, standing in line, driving home, unloading and storing. I use a lot of mulch on my garden, mostly tree leaves. I love fresh radish greens, rarely getbulbs, I eat them too fast… not to be confused with greens from store radishes. Uck.

  3. First, some store potatoes are treated so they will not sprout. Not good if you want to grow them. Next, you have to rotate your crops. Never plant potatoes in the same bed two years in a row. That will help prevent blight. Also, sprinkle bone meal in with your seed ‘taters for the minerals tubers need. Never add nitrogen to spurs as you will get very healthy leaves/stems but few potatoes. Soil needs to be more on the acidic side for them than other veggies. Add some sulpher to the soil which also helps prevent “scab”. Hope it helps. I love growing taters. But hey, I DO live in Idaho!! :-)

    1. The treatment ( a spray, I think) inhibits sprouting, but will not completely prevent said sprouting. Be cautious with “organic” produce from the likes of Whole Foods. I hear that fully 50% of the organic produce sold in USA comes from five farms in Cali. Hardly Old McDonald at work.

  4. Just like most other home grown veggies, you can get many more varieties of seed potatoes than you can at the store with many that taste totally different than any you have ever had before. The fingerlings or french or Kenebec come to mind. Also new potatoes”golf ball size” or so fresh from the garden taste like nothing you have ever bought from the store. They are creamy and not starchy and practically melt in your mouth,tissue paper thin skins and all. But after a week or so after digging, will harden off and then taste very much just like store bought.

    If your garden space is limited, just grown the varieties you can not get at the store and grow for fresh eating with your fresh green beans. And buy 50 lb. bags of russets for storage.Much better use of space and money and time.But, if you have plenty of space, by all means grow all your own taters.

    1. @Glacialhills, What is your preferred way to store your 50 lb. bags of potatoes (or any surplus)? Simply dark and cool I suppose.? Do you have any storage advice to maximize shelf life of fresh potatoes? What kind of shelf life are you experiencing? Curious…

      1. On home grown dont wash or clean the dug tubers just knock off the major dirt and call it good. Make an insulated box that will hold humidity along with temp and darkness. And dont just dump in a huge pile of potatoes because you need to be able to inspect them on a monthly basis to cull the ones going bad.A tray system works well. I have a home made tray box with 4 drawers 60″ long by 24″ deep that works great for what we use. Maybe an old set of salvaged dresser drawers that you can wrap in foam. That way you can manage your tuber supply and there wont be ones on the bottom that will get missed and rot and wreck the whole lot. We always have potatoes last thru April/May and most times have enough of at least a few long keepers to replant.

      2. I have a partially underground 10×12 store house and keep potatoes and onions there. Once my orchard produces I will have apples etc. My son has a basement in his house in Utah with a large unheated space. I have an inexpensive chest freezer… not ice free! The heating/freezing causes freezer burn. I can a lot of things like nuts, without salt. I turn butter into ghee which does not require refrigeration.

  5. Oh, just a side note…near me in SW Michigan, I know a farmer that grows potatoes on occasion for McDonald’s, They are a big long variety that they use for fries. Well after they harvest{mechanically)There are still literally tons of potatoes still in the fields that were dropped/ missed. He lets me go out and pick up all I want for free. Same thing with another farmer and green bean field when he grows them.Get to know your local farmers, Some of the best hard working people you will ever meet.

  6. Can I just turn the camera a little from Potatoes to Flour…. I am 70 and on a fixed income and my biggest bitch is how prices are manipulated when it comes to package size. E.G.: 10kg of Robinhood flour cost $9.99, and on the shelf above was 2.5 kg of the same product for $6.99. If you do the math that is $28.00 for the same amount of flour. What I am trying to point out is …. That it is we, who can least afford it, that are forced to pay way more than those who can, Or buy the larger amount and hope that it does not spoil. Mayo is another good example. and peanut butter. Thank God for food banks……

    1. Yes, thank God for food banks. I buy bulk items and repackage. I freeze flour, it doesn’t need thawed. I freeze juice in cubes and add to drinks or put in the blender for a slushee. I buy pounds of nuts, pressure can them in one cup containers. I save all glass food containers and divide up chip bags and dry items.

  7. Two potatoe stories. I believe it was Labrador that they found a mother & father dead from scurvy. Two children were OK. Reason the children were eating the potato peeling that mom threw in the garbage & mom & dad were only eating the peeled potatoes. So to get your Vit C eat the pealing as most of Vit. C is close to peel.

    A Dr. Abraham was curing many of his mentally ill patients at the sanitorium by feeding them lots of potatoes. He felt they provided the right mix of nutrients.

    We keep our potatoes in a cement room under our porch in wooden boxes. It is just a few degrees above zero with fairly high humidity. Don’t get too close to zero or they turn sweet which isn’t what you want in a potato. Right now they are not sprouting at all but if brought up to the much warmer kitchen they begin sprouting in after a few day especially in the light. We were still eating good potatoes in July last year.

  8. Many disease resistant potato varieties exist and there are even different species with different flavours and nutrient profiles. There are blight resistant potatoes such as Sarpo Mira and Tollocan and ones that can withstand some frost such as Alaskan frostless.

    The main issue in Ireland was that they literally grew one variety that lacked any disease resistance instead of several varieties. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Overall potatoes in the west are a lot less diverse than those from their homeland. Almost all potatoes in Europe and North America descend from a few tubers brought from Chiloe in Chile (the earlier, lower yielding potatoes brought from the Andes were abandoned in favour of the higher yielding, more cold adapted and long day adapted Chiloe potatoes).

    So I personally grow a few varieties and some resistant ones like Sarpo Mira. And I’m attempting to breed new resistant varieties by crossing resistant varieties and growing the true potato seeds (the actual seeds from the berries, not the tubers).

    Potatoes are tetraploid so offspring vary hugely because they have 4 sets of genes to line up instead of the two in humans. Think about it.

    1. This is why corporate monoculture has to fail. Really folks, start a garden. Even a few easy things. Add in perennials like elderberries, blackberries, blueberries are lovely shrubs. I planted ultra dwarf fruit trees for more varieties but trees grown from seed have a deeper tap roots and better drought tolerance.

  9. I haven’t been able to figure out potatoes. One year, bumper crop. Next year, same circumstances and the same amount of water, utter failure. I can plant in sand (or mulch, or clay) two years and get an entirely different result.

    Last spring I planted 28 tubers, got 28 plants and harvested less than five pounds of potatoes. The year before I only got about ten plants but each one was loaded. Going back one more year we harvested enough to fill several bins.

    It’s getting to the point where it’s not worth the space they take up.

    1. @ Lauren
      I cheat, I just buy potatoes from the local growers at $10 per 100#.
      Like you I have had problems with them, so I did the easy thing, I gave up LOLOL

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