Why do I suggest tomatoes? Because they are so easy to get/purchase, grow, and actually get some results. More importantly, you will have an immediate source of food. Rather than putting in fruit trees and waiting years you can get a fruit right off the bush within months and use it for the whole growing season. You can get different types and start some later to keep them producing right up until the cold weather.
Buy the wire supports or use something that can substitute for that. I used an old wire clothes dryer rack plus some metal grid fencing that I have. Here are some photos.
A simple set-up using the dryer rack.
The total cost of this setup is 6 bags of potting soil at $3 each = $18.
Tomato plants cost approximately $3
The pots I already had along with all the other wire racks etc. I just grabbed what I had.
Total investment $21.
I am well ahead on this investment and here is something to consider. If there is a food shortage this winter I’ll be ready to have fresh tomatoes again next summer. If I decide to radically increase production I could put away enough by canning or freeze drying, sun drying, or whatever means I decide to use that I would have a major low cost food supplement for the winters.
You also see a pepper plant in a plastic pot that is producing great tasting green peppers.
The grape tomatoes are superb sources of fresh vitamin filled fruit and the taste is superior to anything I can find in the store. I get this much yield every four days and have for the past two months.
I figure just that little bowl of tomatoes would cost around $2-3 in the supermarket. I get at least 10 of those this season, and probably a 15 or more and that is with just 4 tomato plants. Total predicted value $45.
This is just one type of food and the easiest I know of to get started with. You can do this on your deck in pots if you live in a subdivision or if space is hard to find.
Rather than put off growing your own food, how about next spring getting started. Or better, get your potting soil in bags now and consider it a prep along with some seeds and powdered plant food.
This is just an idea for you to consider in your goal for a balanced self reliance that you can accomplish incrementally. The fear of the unknown if you don’t grow your food already will quickly disappear if you get started and have a few seasons of experience under your belt.
Do it for yourself and do it for your family, and just as importantly do it to remain a viable member of your community in the event of food disruptions. Think of it as your Victory Garden.