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Those of you who may have seen me on National Geographic’s “Doomsday Castle” and “Doomsday Preppers” know I have created a survival garden concept called the “Secret Garden of Survival™.” It is the ultimate survival and prepper garden, since you only have to plant it once and you can then harvest for a lifetime. Furthermore, it is a camouflaged food-forest, so no one knows that you have food growing there. Plus you never have to weed, never have to use fertilizer, and never have to use pesticide – ever. Sound interesting? Stay tuned for a future article in this magazine that will show you how you can grow your own.

Since I grow this garden as part of my sustainable homestead, we try to grow everything we might need in a future “end of the world as we know it scenario.” Thus, not only do we grow food of every kind in the garden, but we also grow plants for medicines, cleaning products, poisons, and items for our perimeter defense in the garden as well.

So, aside from growing thorny and poison bushes around our property to protect our home and garden from four legged (and two legged) pests, we also grow some very nasty plants that can often do more to deter would-be-thieves than a sniper with a 50 caliber rifle.

But before we talk about one of them, first let’s make a “legal disclaimer.” Understand that in many states, you are limited as to the amount of “pepper spray” you can have in your possession for self defense against humans and you may also be limited in the amount that you can have in any one container. Check the laws in your area. You can, however, make a garden spray for your perimeter defense against creatures that does not have those kinds of limits. So what we are talking about here is a “garden spray” to protect your garden from “pests.”

For increased protection, against both pests and legal definitions, I also put minced garlic in my spray. If you spray this garlic-pepper garden spray around the perimeter of your garden, you can get rid of mice, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, fox, deer and coyote, etc. from the places you would rather not have them.


To understand the potency of any hot pepper, or any spray created with it, you need to know a little something about Capsaicin, which is the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat.

The “heat” of hot peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SKU’s). The typical Jalapeno pepper you would find as a pizza topping is rated at 3,500-8,000 Scoville Heat Units. Whereas your typical Cayenne Pepper has a rating of 30,000-50,000 (about 10x hotter than the Jalapeno); and a Habanero has a rating of 200,000- 350,000 (about 10 times hotter than the Cayenne). You can see the chart below for a rating of hot peppers in Scoville Heat Units.

Of course, you can use any hot pepper you happen to have on hand and these peppers can be dried or fresh. But obviously the “hotter” the pepper the better it will work as a defensive spray. What we used to make our spray on “Doomsday Preppers” was the world’s hottest pepper – the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – with a rating of 2 million – 2.2 million SKU’s. That’s about 10x hotter than the Habanero, 100x hotter than the Cayenne and 1000x hotter than the Jalapeno! We grow this pepper year round in my “Secret Greenhouse of Survival” (another future article in this magazine) along with the Carolina Reaper which is the 2nd hottest pepper in the world.

Again, you can use whatever you have on hand, but for future prepping and planning purposes, you may want to grow your own peppers for a day when you can no longer go to the grocery store to buy them.



There are many ways to make a concentrated pepper mixture, but this is what we did on “Doomsday Preppers.” First, you are dealing with some pretty strong stuff, so whatever pepper you are using, make sure you have adequate protection for you, your equipment and counter surfaces.

You want to make sure you protect your hands so wear good rubber gloves. This is not only so that you do not get the hot pepper oils on your hands but also so that you do not spread these oils elsewhere on your body, like your mouth and in your eyes or on any other body parts!

Remember the oils from hot peppers travel like any other oil…it floats on water, and is carried by water, but water cannot “cut” its potency. This is why when you eat a really hot pepper no amount of water you drink can stop the heat. In fact, the water just spreads it around in your mouth.You can however, relieve the heat in your mouth (or on your skin) by using fat-based foods like cream, cheese, or ice cream.

The Effects of Pepper Spray

The very thought of pepper spray splashing over your face will cause anyone some concern because of the various effects it has on the human body, specifically the face. As pepper spray comes into contact with the orifices of the face it reacts in a host of negative ways:

  • Swelling of mucous membranes of eyes, nose and throat
  • Nasal and sinus discharge
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drying of the eyes
  • Involuntary eye closure
  • Painful burning of the skin
  • Analgesic effect
  • Hyperventilation and potential increase in blood pressure
  • Psychological effects (fear, anxiety and panic)

The biggest advantage pepper spray provides the user is the involuntary eye closure. Even if the subject cannot feel pain due to drugs, alcohol, or being emotionally disturbed, the inflammatory effects of pepper spray cause the eyes to close temporarily when the ocular area is saturated. These psychological effects can cause hyperventilation and a temporary increase in blood pressure. It is important to note that all of the effects above are temporary. Police and civilians alike have depended on pepper spray for over 20 years because it provides protection at a safe distance and is one of the safest and most reliable force options available.


Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.