6 Heat-Tolerant Survival Crops You Should Be Growing

If you’re looking for high-calorie crops that produce despite drought and  summer temperatures, these 6 heat-tolerant survival crops are your best bets.

Okra is an excellent heat-tolerant survival crop. (The Grow Network)

Image by Santanu Manna from Pixabay

Survival Crops That Survive Drought and Heat

The summers in Central Texas can be punishing. On the day I shot the video below, we were in the middle of a hot streak where the temperature broke 100°F for more than 60 days in a row. So, obviously, we started talking a lot about heat-tolerant survival crops.

If you’re growing tender annuals during a hot streak like this, you might be out of luck.

I know this isn’t a concern for some of you up north. But if you’re gardening in a hot climateand you’re planning for your garden to sustain you during an emergencyyou’d better watch my video and learn about these great heat-tolerant survival crops.

Try Not to Depend on Your Summer Harvest

One of the best strategies for dealing with intense summer heat that could wipe out your garden plants is: don’t rely on your summer harvest!

Try to can lots of food in the fall and spring so that it won’t be so devastating if your summer garden doesn’t yield much.

I’ve talked to a lot of senior Texans about how they handle the summer heat. And the most common thing I hear is, “I don’t deal with the summer heat. I spend the summer afternoons indoors, and I start my garden again in the fall.”

You May Also Enjoy:

“A Perennial Food Guild for Arid Climates”

“15 Wild Foods That Will Keep You Alive in an Emergency”

Choosing Heat-Tolerant Survival Crops

When it comes right down to it, these 3 plants are probably your best bets for growing a lot of calories without a lot of water during extreme heat: black-eyed peas, okra, and sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato plants do really well when they’re stressed, so they’re an awesome source of easy calories when times are tough in the garden.

You May Also Enjoy:

“Growing Sweet Potatoes: Preparing and Planting a Bed”

“Sweet Potato Vines: How to Grow This Antioxidant Powerhouse”

“How to Plant Sweet Potatoes”

And if you ever find yourself in real trouble (as in, stores are closed and shelves are empty), there are 3 other plants that I grow just so that I’ll have them available if I ever need them:

  • Lamb’s quarters are nutritious edible greens that don’t mind extreme heat and low water.
  • Nutsedge, or nutgrass, is a very common weed around here. If you keep a lawn in Central Texas, you probably know it well. But did you know that it’s edible? I grow a variety that’s sold as feed for wild turkeys, and it’s delicious. Not to mention … it’s hard to kill!
  • And finally, I keep some canna lilies nearby that double as ornamental plants when there’s more water available. It isn’t as beautiful during the dry summer heat, but the tubers are edible, and it’s a very reliable plant.

Thinking Outside the Box About Summer Gardening

When you hear people talk about summer vegetable gardens, you hear a lot of advice like “use more mulch” and “install drip irrigation.”  Those standard techniques are fine, and they will probably get you plenty of vegetables. But if your whole strategy depends on loads of mulch and irrigation, you might end up in big trouble if the store ever closes or the local water utility shuts down.

What Do You Think?

If you have any other tips or suggestions for survival crops that tolerate extreme heat, please share them using the comments section below. I would love to hear what you are growing this summer!


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This post was written by Marjory Wildcraft


  • Dave says:

    I watched your survival gardening in heat video. You mentioned growing Cantalillies. I tried getting more info on it but it comes up as either Canna or Calla lillies and says nothing of being edible. Is this something that will do well in NH? Will it come back every year? Do I have the spelling correct? I was thinking it would do well attracting bees for the rest of the garden. Can you freeze for later use? I’m new at this, so any advice is appreciated.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Dave,

      Canna Lillies. Surprisingly, many plants in the lily family have edible roots or tubers. Hmm, there is a specific botanical name for the underground part(s) but it is late and I can’t remember them.

      Does anyone know if they grow in NH? Please chime in.

      Anyway, the roots have a nice bit of starch in them. I’ve cooked them up several times for my somewhat finicky family – and they liked them.
      Hmm, mine have dark red flowers that I think is more suited to attracting hummingbirds, but I am not sure.

      If anyone knows, please chime in!

      Mine come back every year. They die back with the first frost, and sprout again in the spring.

      I haven’t tired freezing the roots (yet). Yes, in NH freezing is a benefit to living there, yes? You basically have many months of easy refrigeration.

      1. Leslie Parsons says:

        In areas where the ground freezes Cannas need to be lifted and stored for the Winter. However, Day Lilies can stay in the ground, all parts of the plant are edible and they are also quite prolific. Pretty too!

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:


          I really appreciate all the comments you add.

        2. LaRee says:

          Thank yor for the information on day lilies. Can you dry the leaves and add them to other food in the winter? I read that you can eat hostas, and I was wondering about drying those leaves as well.

      2. Kim says:

        I have had canna lillies many times in the past and in the northern states, they need to be dug and saved in a cool, dark place for the winter. One year I did not get them dug out and they all froze and died completely here in Michigan in Zone 6.

        One food that seems to be unable to be killed off is the sunchoke. I was given one small tuber that I planted in my flower bed that spread like crazy! I tried to get rid of it for many years and was never completely successful. The tubers are edible though I found out. I think these would be great to add to the list of survival foods. I wonder how they do in the southern states like Texas though.

        A couple others I can think of are daylilies. I grow them for the colorful flowers which attract bees but I also dig up a fair number of the tubers to eat as well. The flower are also edible and are delicous stuffed with cheese. Not sure about there in Texas, but the dandelion is one thing that seems to grow in all weather conditions. Not very tasty once if flowers but I soak mine is some cold water and then lightly cook them with a little vinegar and then top with a bit of honey to balance out the flavors. Make a nice side dish.

        In the past, I had a smaller garden that I would protect well as my survival garden. I had hoops over the top that I would put some shade over and kept it watered. If the rest of the garden was going to die from the lack of water and excessive heat, at least this one smaller garden would survive long enough to provide food until another garden could get established. I would also dig up some plants and move them to a much more shaded part of the yard which seemed to help them survive longer.

        Just a couple thoughts. Kim

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Wow Kim,

          Thanks for your comment. So you eat the tubers of day lillies?

          Oh, I also like your strategy of keeping a smaller protected area. I do that too – sometimes its nice to just have something…

      3. Dianne says:

        The Cana Lillies will grow in Michigan so they will surely grow in NH. HOWEVER…. you need to dig up the tubers before they freeze and put them back in the ground in the spring.

    2. Hi Dave,
      NH. were’s that ? Just kidding. When ever I leave this state, thats what I get asked. I guess it take one to know this.
      Some of the best Lilly bulbs come from Holland and even they use pesticides on there shiped bulbs to US. Just a thought… Heres Paul Parent web site where you can ask a question like yours. Or I think your can e-mail him at paulparent@roadrunner.com .

    3. John Kail says:

      Learning a lot. We are in Central NM. Canna lillies don’t do well here. What about Day Lillies. Can you eat the tubers of them? We know you can eat the flowers. Thanks. Love your work.

      1. Liborio says:

        The term Day Lilly encompasses a lot of varieties, and not all are even true lilies, and some are not edible. So, as always, do your research first… That said, I have some of what I call “Ditch Lillies”. The ones you find growing wild all over the place. I have them growing in my flower garden, and as typical, they are always growing outside of the two foot area I have confined them to. The escapees get snapped off at/or below ground level. The green part goes in the compost, and the white part gets chopped up and tossed in the dinner salad. They’re wonderful raw, but I imagine they’d be just as good sautéd. This keeps my garden neat and tidy, food on my plate and nitrogen in my compost (chickens don’t care for them). In very large amounts, they may have a mild sedative affect. I hope this helps, Good Luck, +Blessings
        P.s… In zone 5, I had canna lilies planted against the foundation of my house, with a slightly heated (40-50*F) basement. They always survived the coldest of winters. However; any new bulbs that wandered away from the wall, about one foot, did not, unless dug up and replanted in early spring.

    4. robyn meyerhoff says:

      Hi Marjorie.
      G d Bless you.I recently moved from LA to new mexico.You very well may have savcd my life!!!
      Nothing ive planted will grow in this heat And surreal wind gusts.I have done well with Cana lillies in the past but didnt know the tubers were edible,THANK YOU THANK YOU Looking foward to seeing more

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Hi Robyn,

        Well thank you. Please let others know about the site. We do need help in spreading the word.

  • gena says:

    As I was watching your three common plants that do well here in Central Texas, which is where I live as well, and saw the three you listed, at first I was thinking, yuck, my three least favorite foods. But thinking a bit further, I realized that even if I did not want to eat these, in a crisis food situation, they would make really good barter crops I might be able to trade with people who might not hate eating those items. Also, I have considered if the grid doesn’t go down, bringing some container plants inside in the warmer months to grow them inside. As you know, inside an not air conditioned house in July and August in S Texas is very hot and hard to take, so were the grid to go down, that would not work. But as long as you even have a fireplace and fuel, it might extend your growing in the winter months, to bring container plants inside and keep them as close to your fireplace or heat source as you can. I am, at this point theorizing, not really sure how well that would work.
    When I moved back to Texas in 2005 after making the mistake of living in Oklahoma for three years, I had found some property outside San Antonio which had been in that family for generations. I actually spoke to the woman who had grown up in the house, before it was refitted. It had an outside covered porch area, and she was telling me that before the days of air conditioning, the family would all just sleep out on the covered porch in the hot summer months. Even in survival situation, as long as some people stayed awake to guard the rest, that would likely be the best way to sleep comfortably in the S Texas summer heat, when the grid goes down. You are not going to be able to sleep well in S Texas in the summer, with no cooling and your windows sealed, you will die of heat stroke. I learned once, in a situation like that, periodically wetting your clothes and hair makes it feel at least 20 degrees cooler, and wetting your pets down at the same time, helps them considerably tolerate the extreme heat. BTW beautiful calico in the background in your video.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Gena,

      I am delighted you bring forth that foods you don’t like are still valuable trade items. Excellent point.

      Several of my neighbors and I have been dong the -no air conditioning – during the summer months thing to experience it. You work in the early mornings, the evenings, and during the full moons. And rest during the middle of the day in as shaded and breezy a place as possible.

      We have a small pool (which I hope to make into a small pond soon) which I strip down and jump into regularly. The pool is in the shade and the water always cool. In just a few minutes my core temp drops and I am ‘reset’.

      For my rabbits, I use tiny misters on them to help them stay cool. In that area, the chickens, the dogs, the geese, the cat, and sometimes me – all hang out there as it is significantly cooler. The misters are extremely low flow and for about 10 gallons of water you can keep a shaded area very comfortable for the brunt of the heat during the day. I be writing about this form of crude but effective air conditioning fairly soon.

  • Leslie Parsons says:

    We can add Sunchokes and runner beans to the hot weather list. These plants can be invasive, but if planted within barriers, they produce a quantity of food. Also, when the tomato plants are refusing to set fruit as temperatures rise to 85 degrees, most cherry tomatoes will soldier on. They can be lightly pruned in July to manage the huge vines. The other tomatoes can be cut back severely at the same time and in my garden 4 out of 5 will live and deliver a good fall crop. If you take a few cuttings in June, the cuttings can be rooted (even hybrids) for a crop of new plants, to use the extra garden space available in July or August.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Marjory,
    After watching your video on gardening in the summer heat, I started thinking about what I had growing well here on my farm in north Texas. Prickly pear cactus and Honey Mesquite do great and have edible parts. Oak trees and Pecan trees have edible seeds. Also, If you have a pond, Cattails are a useful plant to have around and all parts of it are edible. When I owned land near Hondo, TX, there were many Brasil trees and Texas Persimmons on my land which also grow thru the Texas heat without a hitch and have edible berries and useful wood. The more you think about it, the longer the list grows. Thanks for the video.


  • Sharon says:

    I did not realize the Canna were edible. I live in Ohio and dig them up every fall and replant in the spring. I haven’t had any luck with heavy mulching and coming up next year. Sharon

  • Elizabeth says:

    OK, this I know about. Reading about the sleeping porch brought a smile. Aunt Myrtle had a house over close to Hancock Mall and my little place for visits was a lumpy twin bed in the screened-in porch out back. At my grandparents over near W 37th, they had those louvered French windows. What a great luxury to have a room to myself with a high, fluffy double bed. It was positively delicious, as a child, to wake up with the air still comparatively cool and the mourning doves and cardinals and mockingbirds singing their hearts out and just lie there and luxuriate.

    I didn’t live with central air until I was 14 and we bought a new house in Austin. Up until then it had been a swamp cooler in Lubbock and before that rotating fans in Austin (don’t stick your fingers in the fan!)

    My mother, born in 1918, grew up in Waco and told me that people often would take 3 baths a day.

    All windows, except for picture windows, could open and had screens, as did entry doors. Oscillating fans were in the main living areas. We had one for the whole house. I suppose it was a luxury. Look at modern buildings. The windows don’t open! All those stories high, yet, what is the plan if the air is off? I recently taught in a comparatively new school, and no windows were capable of opening. For several weeks last year, the AC was broken. The heat inside was miserable, and it wasn’t even summer.

    My husband, also a native Texan, and I have discussed this often, asking, “Do you remember being hot as a child?” Our answers are always no. That is just the way it was. We were aware of it being hot, but nothing special. We drank sweetened ice tea with mint, sat under shade trees or on a porch to visit, ran barefoot, opened the windows and doors, and ran the oscillating fans. One memory is of elementary school in Lubbock. You always were delighted to get to sit up front, near the fan, or hoped to feel a little air movement as it swept by. Of course, the windows were all on one side and wide open.

    Great video on hot weather gardening. I didn’t know that about how old timers didn’t work the garden in summer. However, this is why I like trees. You show them a little respect and in about five years or less, you are harvesting many pounds of figs or peaches or whatever comes in during summer.

    By the way, another old timely name for cannas is “depot plants” as I guess they were a favorite planting around train depots. My front bed grows 6′ cannas, same color as yours. Can’t kill the stuff, fortunately. In my yard, everything has to earn its keep by producing potential edibles.

    And finally, my favorite way to stay cool when really, really hot is to take a shower or go for a swim and then go to bed with a sopping wet head. It works wonders.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I really appreciate your post.

      I grew up in S. Florida and didn’t have a.c. until my late teens. You are right, we just didn’t think about it – it was hot and you have lots of fans and get in water as much as possible.

    2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I really appreciate your post.

      I grew up in S. Florida and didn’t have a.c. until my late teens. You are right, we just didn’t think about it – it was hot and you have lots of fans and get in water as much as possible.

    3. Sherry says:

      Are you related to the Hudson’s by any chance? I had a great-Aunt Mertle that lived near Hancock Center also! Lots of family roots in Austin, Round Rock, Jollyville, Cedar Park, Seagraves, Lubbock, etc.

      1. Hi Sherry, no I am not related to the Hudson’s. although they sound like nice folks!

    4. Sherry says:

      We are currently about an hour from Abilene and it is hot and dry here (well, ok – so we’ve had alot of rain this month, but I’m not expecting it to continue). We are under constant watering restrictions (once a week), so I harvest rainwater and water with a pail as needed mid-week and MULCH the heck out of everything. Even with last year’s heat and drought, we managed to keep the cherry & grape tomatoes going until fall, the squash (yellow & zucchini) were planted under the corn (which was a disaster we nicknamed the Franken-corns) produced all summer, though with a reduced amount of fruit and the desert watermelons were incredible. We got eight 35 lb watermelons off of one plant (pretty much took over the back half of our garden & yard) and lost 11 that weren’t yet ripe when the first freeze hit in the fall. Nearly lost a couple of quince bushes because I didn’t know what they were and so didn’t water them. Pomogranites didn’t do too well – lots of fruit, but lots of vicious bugs inside of them. Hope we’ll do as well or better this year – still learning.

  • Michael Rafferty says:

    The chufa nuts you talked about are used in Spain to make a beverage called horchata. Horchata is popular especially during the warmer part of the year, but is available year round. The flavor is reminiscent of almond ‘milk’. It is not the same as the Mexican horchata, which is typically made with rice. It is too bad that people in the U.S. think of this valuable resource as a weed.

  • Bamboo,
    We had that down the Cape. It can get pretty invasive. If you dont want it any-longer you may need a back-hoe if you dont want to kill that spot. We got ours form the Orient. Its gone now but I’m not sure it was a good plant to introduce to the Cape Cod.

  • Karen in AZ says:

    Great tips! I’ve also have had great luck growing Jerusalem Artichoke tubers in crappy, droughty soil conditions in my Arizona backyard. Soil grows nutgrass and weeds very well, and that’s about it. I planted two tubers in the ground in late February, and the plants are over 4 feet tall now. I put them in the sunniest part of the “lawn” and let ’em fly. Great food source as well! Caution, they grow pretty large and will take over a garden, so be sure to plant them in an area where they can’t overtake other plants.

  • JJM says:

    In Houston last year I grew Malabar Spinach (not really spinach but you can cook it like spinach with spices and it tastes good). The Malabar grew extremely slow until temps got above 90 and then they went crazy. 2 plants provided more leaves to cook than I + some neighbors wanted. In fact the vines exceeded 20′ in length. After that experience, I consider them as an excellent addition to your list.
    Warning: they produce lots of seeds that will sprout the next year and can become a pest/weed. I started pulling sprouts in April and am still pulling them.
    Not sure how/if they will tolerate drought???

    1. JJM says:

      PS – I was told by the person who gave me the original seeds that you can bury portions of the vine to get the buried portion to root.

      1. Bellen says:

        I found you don’t really have to bury pieces of stem to root and form new plants, just drop them on the surface and water for a few days. Malabar spinach is very good raw – on a sandwich or in a salad. I’ve even made mini wraps with the larger leaves.

  • Carol Burnham says:

    So THAT’S what I’ve been doing wrong! I live in Texas, too, and have tried for years to keep the garden going during the heat. And most of my plants have already called it quits for the season. In retrospect, completely due to your video, I have realized that most of my crops have done their job and produced their hearts out before the temps hit 105, except the okra. Learning that the old timers had more respect for the conditions in which they lived makes a lot more sense. Learning about the much easier to grow, and harder to kill, edible plants that I spent years trying to get rid of was a real eye opener. Thank you for helping us all survive in the coming hard times.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Carol, you are more than welcome. I appreciate your support of the site.

  • Rose Petal says:

    Thanks for all you continue to teach us about survival food. We live off the grid in Central FL and have been growing summer crops during this season when most aren’t gardening around here.

    My favorite so far is an edible gourd (cucuzzi)that has grown all the way up our 21′ windmill tower and is still going strong. If you harvest the gourds around 18″ long (they grow much longer) they taste like a delicious summer squash (only better). If you combine the gourds with the leaves (squash, pumpkin, and gourd leaves make delicious cooked greens) we have had a continuous supply for several meals a week this month for our family of eight off of only two plants! (over brown rice or with pasta it is to die for!) And it doesn’t appear to be nearly done! We do water them when it is really hot and dry, but it only takes a gallon or two for both plants combined to perk them back up again. If you’d like I’ll send you pictures.

    Another plant growing up our windmill is a Seminol pumpkin vine that tolerates high heat and drought. The pumpkins will keep at room temp for up to a year. And their leaves make great cooked greens. It grows so fast we can’t nearly keep up. It is experiencing some blossom end rot so we’re not getting any pumpkins yet, just greens. I did read your post about that and wonder if eggshell “tea” would make a good fast and sustainable calcium supplement for that. (?)

    We’ve also started growing chaya which is good animal fodder as well as makes a good cooked green (must be cooked around 5 min to remove toxins) like spinach but more nutrient dense. It is an extremely drought tolerant perennial and easily propogated by sticking mature cuttings into the ground. We learned about it at ECHO (http://www.livereadynow.com/echo-%e2%80%93-growing-massive-amounts-of-food-the-fast-way/) and have been impressed so far. I wrote a post with more details about it here: http://www.livereadynow.com/grow-your-own-animal-feed-part-ii/.

    Other perennials that are thriving in the summer heat that we’ve been using for salads (we eat lots of raw salads) are edible hibiscus (like a lettuce bush with huge tender leaves), cranberry hibiscus (so delicious in salads), katuk (tender nutty tasting leaves), okinawa spinach (like malabar not a true spinach but grows well in shade), moringa (which you know all about), onion chives, and various edible flowers. Many of these are available through ECHO (http://www.echonet.org/).

    Also, pigeon peas grow well in the heat and their leaves are delicious as cooked greens as well!

    Again, thank you for the wealth of info you share. It has blessed us a lot!

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Rose, thanks so much for your detailed comments. ECHO is an awesome source for specialty seeds and I hope to get to visit their research center. I’ve heard the Seminole squash is resistant to squash vine borers I’ve never tried to grow the cucuzzi – it sound samazing.

      Thanks so much for your input!

      1. Rose Petal says:

        Hello again! I just put up a new post with a lot more info about the cucuzzi, in case you’re interested. http://www.livereadynow.com/the-incredible-edible-vine/

        We’re watching your DVD again and learning more as we’re in a different season of development now. Thanks for all you share with us.

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Hey Rose,

          That is a really awesom article. You said you got the seeds as a gift? Know any sources where we coudl get some seeds for next year? That looks like just mykind of food – easy! LOL.

    2. Bellen says:

      Am growing/grew Seminole pumpkin for the first time this year. Got about six 2 lb pumpkins, but was only able to harvest 5, roof rats got the last one. No problem with vine borers but when I pulled the vines up the roots were huge with nematode knots. Didn’t seem to affect the growth however. I’ve got 4 more plants started that I’ll put out in about 2 weeks for a fall crop.

      Also growing Everglades tomatoes that are producing prolifically and should continue right thru the summer – temps this week are in the low 90s. Had to move those into the the pool cage as the roof rats were getting those too.

      I’m also growing Kale, Collards, Dwarf Bok Choi, Sweet Peppers and tons of volunteer Red Amaranth. All seem to do well in our summer heat and humidity.

      I mostly garden in containers, EarthBoxes mainly.

      1. JJM says:

        Nematodes – Since most of my tomato and pepper plants survived the unusually mild winter I was planning to transplant them as part of my rotational planting scheme. When I dug them up they all had to be disposed of d/t nematodes. I read that Marigolds are great for keeping insects and nematodes away and have several ‘flowers’ in all sections of garden this year hoping that they are a good natural deterrent.

  • Jackie Smith says:

    I live in the Coachella Valley in CA and it is way too hot!

    Passion Fruit grows well, very well as it is a fast growing vine. The fruit from the cactus (we have 2 huges one) the birds and rabbits love it also. Fig trees love the heat as does mint and citrus and thyme, white sage (healing) and aloe for healing.

    I have a friend who entire back and side yards are full of veggies and fruit…in summer months she covers much of the garden with umbrellas…. Jackie Smith

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks so much. yes, passion vines, figs… so many I didn’t get int he video. So glad you commented. That passionvine also makes an excellent calming tea.

  • Sharon Peel says:

    Is there any food value in irises? They grow so well around here, and I love their beauty, but can they be eaten?

    Thank you for all your information!!!

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hmm, not sure.

      Anyone know? Please post.

  • Susan says:

    Wow, Marjory, thank you!

    It’s not often you find ANYONE who knows about growing things in the heat! I live in Arizona (Northern) and we get cold winters and HOT summers and I have found very little about growing things here. I did plant some jerusalem artichokes and they are doing really well! We had them when we lived in NM, and they saved us! (We were pretty poor). Now we are growing them because we LIKE them! 🙂

    I am not an expert gardener by ANY means, and I really appreciate all of the hints and tips and lessons that you post! Thank you soo much! It means a lot to have someone out there that is willing to teach!

    Susan P

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi susan,

      Thanks for your kind workds. Actually, there is some real gold in these comments sections with all the other species that people post up.

      Here at the gyog portal we do try our best to offer real solutions for what is coming… And our lives need to change anywya.

      I appreciate your support!

  • Janet Lickey Fletcher says:

    Wow! I had no idea. I will put these tips into practice. I live in eastern Virginia so we don’t have temperatures quite that high for such an extended period of time but your tips will work well here too.

  • d. henry Lee says:

    I question planting bamboo in a garden. It is very invasive and hard to get rid of. I have a friend that now has a bamboo forest because a few plants got out of control.

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi D. – good point – thanks. Invasive bamboo is a big problem in some places. Bamboos are divided into 2 types, “clumping bamboos” and “running bamboos.” Running bamboos are the really invasive ones – I bet that’s what your friend planted. Clumping bamboos stay put where they are planted. Hopefully if anyone plants bamboo they will choose a clumping variety.

  • Loved this, Marjory! The Lamb’s Quarters are growing like crazy in our garden. I left them there because not only are they edible, but I also noticed that they seem to be a fantastic trap crop for aphids! I’d never heard of nutsedge before, so I’m excited to have learned that from you. We grow Canna’s for food, but something else I’ve read that I think is pretty neat is that the hard seeds of the Canna indica have been used in the past as bullets! Our Jerusalem Artichokes have done well surviving the heat here in the Southeast. Thanks for all of the great tips!! 🙂

    1. JJM says:

      I believe that nutsedge is also referred to as nutgrass. Nearly impossible to get rid of in the yard.

  • Robin says:

    Excellent video.

    I’ve grown Canna edulis in pots for several years. It’s also known as arrowroot – that same starch you buy in bags, so the root bulbs are certainly edible. The flowers are much smaller than the ornamental Cannas but very bright red and beautiful. It’s too cold in winter here to leave them outside but they make a very nice houseplant in a 24 inch pot.

  • Gus says:

    Hi Marjory, I live in British Columbia and we do not get the heat like you do in Texas. I grow this plant called New Zealand Spinach, Latin name: Tetragonia teragonoides. It really takes off in the hot weather we do get in July and August. I plant it in full sun but in your part of the country it might do better in partial shade. It’s a weird plant, the more you cut it, the more it seems to thrive. Try it.
    Cheers, Gus

  • Irma says:

    I just heard about the Everglades tomato but have not had a chance to try it yet. It is supposed to be indestructible and prolific, even in 100 degree South Florida weather. It is on my wish list.

  • Ellen E says:

    I have a 40+ year old olive tree in my yard, as do millions of others who live in southern California homes built in the 1960s and 1970s. It doesn’t mind heat, but it makes a big mess every year when the olives fall. Nobody uses them! One year I posted a “you pick” ad in the Penny Saver and had a couple of pickers, who preserved a few jars. I’ve been inspired by you, Marjory, and Toby Hemenway (who spoke at your food summit) to grow more food. I’d love a big apple tree instead of my olive, but I can’t take out such an old, healthy, beautiful tree. I need to learn to make olive oil. I watched a couple of YouTube videos regarding making it in very small amounts, but I will have many buckets full of olives. I hope one of your fans can direct me. Thank you for the knowledge and inspiration so far!

  • Kam C says:

    I really enjoyed this video – helpful/informative – always nice to know of some plants that will withstand heat and dry spells… and can be eaten. Thanks.

  • Cindy says:

    I live in Florida and I killed a lot of lettuce trying to get it to grow at the same time as the rest of the country. Like Texas, most gardens here go in during March and September but there are some plants that produce through our summers. Any of the perennial spinaches work well. They will die back in the winter then come back next year here. So do peppers and tomatoes. Up north I would treat them as annuals. We like Okinawan spinach – a friend gave us a cutting. We use it raw in salad and cooked. The plant has pretty dark green leaves on top with deep purple undersides. Malabar spinach is a beautiful vine with edible leaves and lovely purple “berries.” I don’t know if the berries are edible, do you? I don’t like its taste as much as the Okinawan. I got the seeds through seed savers website. I agree with planting okra. The others I will have to try! Thank you for the helpful advice.

  • Nelson McKinnon says:

    Cannot remember who to ask? My hot peppers are way ahead of my tomatoes. What is best way to keep the jalopena peppers till the tomatoes are ready to make HOT sauce?

    1. JJM says:

      Throw em in the freezer – they won’t come out crispy.

  • lori says:

    I live in Arizona and I found a couple of years ago that Armenian cucumbers grow great in the heat . I think they taste even better than regular cucumbers. They look like long curved cucumbers but are actually in the melon family. If you let them they can grow quite large but I prefer to pick them younger.

  • Hans says:

    I grow canna lilies in South Florida, I mix them in with my bananas. I use the canna lily flower in salads. You shoo the bees away before you pick them, cut away the rigid base of the flowers and top your salad with the colorful petals. In the summer here they have the texture of romaine greens and a sweet flavor. I also grow a variety of asparagus bean also known as a yard long bean (from China I think). They do well in the hot days of summer and produce tons of 2 to 3 foot long green beans. This is my favorite summer crop. Malabar Spinach grows good in the heat but you must pick off all the pink flowers to maintain good texture. I let it go to seed in October and it comes back year after year.

  • Lene says:


    I’m new to survival foods. Should the plant parts from the plants that you mention be cooked, or is it safe to eat them raw? Also, can they be stored, and how?


  • Carol Clingman says:

    Dehydrate hot peppers until tomatoes are ready, then make hot sauce.

  • Rebecca says:

    i want to thank each and every one of your for your great advice!! I am just getting started at learning how to grow your own food. China has purchased a large portion of our farm lands and is planning on sending overseas the crops that are harvested next year. China is now requiring us to pay them in their currency and it is causing our dollar to lose its value. The cost of food is going to go up next year with the quantities of food available will be reduced.

  • Anne says:

    Nut grass we have here in Oz. Whenever I’ve seen it in my garden I used to get quite distressed… hehe. Now however, I will be finding some and giving it a special spot! I’ve started to look at common weeds with much affection… especially the marshmallow. Was thinking of spraying and then realized it was a ‘gift’. How about the cannas? I’ve always secretly despised them a little as they’re a bit ‘common’. Once again I will be finding some special places for the ever so humble canna. I bought Arrowroot which must belong to the canna family… it’s all so interesting. Foraging will be the way of the future as it was in the past. So incredibly pleased I don’t ever have to worry about weeds again! Thank you Marjorie!

  • JJM says:

    2 Summer plants I was introduced to which do very well in SE Texas summers and do great in the heat are Malabar Spinach and Yard Long Beans.
    Malabar can be prepared same as Spinach and the young leaves are good in fresh salad. Malabar grows as a vine, my 1st year Malabar vines reached 20 feet long. Generally, every place you break off a leaf, 2 more side vines will grow. Warning, if you let the seeds develop and fall to the soil, next year you will have more volunteers than you know what to do with.
    Yard Long Beans are best picked at about 1 foot long before the beans start becoming obvious. At 2 feet long they will often be tough. ATT I have the green variety but will try the colored type for ease of finding the beans.

  • kathy says:

    Just started to grow Cannas and forgot to dig up come Fall. The pretty one (pink) seems to be a goner but the others seem to be coming back OK.
    Would the Nutsedge and Lambs quarters be available from seed? I feel a little silly asking for a weed at the nursery…haha

  • Bodey says:

    I place strips of carpet between rows of plants. Not only does it hold any water from irrigation or rainfall and leave it slowly available for the vegetables , it reduces the presence of moisture robbing weeds by cutting out sunlight in between the rows!

  • Mary says:

    I don’t think anyone mentioned eggplant. I live in South West Florida and I kept an eggplant growing for a whole year. There was a great amount of food from that one plant. I wrote about growing it here. http://www.lifeisjustducky.com/eggplant/ I’ve loved reading all these comments. There are some great ideas here.

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