Thanks for the great insights projecting results into needs for SHTF conditions. Good things to ponder.
No deer issues here, but squirrels and chipmunks have a much wider variety of appetites than we’ve ever seen before. And figs? Forget it! Between the birds and the squirrels, I think we got two decent ones! Nice quick snack. LOL
As for maximizing space, I presume you’re aware of the Square Foot Gardening method. If not, it’s worth checking out. Also there are a few good books on companion planting (what works well together, and what NOT to pair together). And I presume you’ve seen some vertical growing methods for some melons and squash – we’ve had varied and mostly limited success, but I think it was more our design than the concept. We’ve had very good success with tomatoes vertically, however, using frames I built out of conduit pipe about 6-7 feet vertical (using longer sections driven into the ground for stability of course) and about 4 feet wide, using 90° connectors at the two top corners. Just drive ‘em down deep and then cut off the top inch that has spread out from the hammering, secure the 90° connectors, and put in your cross piece of conduit. Then use some heavy duty netting designed for heavier crops such as squash, larger tomatoes, even some melons (available through seed catalogs, is the only place I’ve found suitable netting).
Frost?!? What’s that? I was pleased to feel very high 60°s early this morning – first time since spring I think! The heat, plus the drought, has been a real bummer – you did much better with what you had, than we did with ours – congratulations.