Container Gardening

This is the time of year when the seed catalogs start to ship out. Even if you don’t have a large yard to work with, you can still grow a fair amount of your own veggies by using container gardening. Basically, this is gardening through the use of various pots you have out on your patio, deck, driveway, or other area. Almost all vegetables can be grown this way, if you take the time to research the plant’s requirements and accommodate them.

Pole beans and other climbers need a trellis set up along the back of the container. What we’ve done in the past is take 36″ rebar and pound two feet of it into the ground, one on each corner along the back of a rectangular pot. Then, use conduit to fashion a frame, slipping the legs of the frame over the conduit. We use string to make a “net” stretched across the frame. This provides a great makeshift trellis for the plants to climb. Of course, you could just buy a premade trellis but I had the materials for this lying around to put to good use.

Potatoes may be grown in what amounts of a pile of compost with fencing around it. Take chicken wire fence and make a cylinder with it about 30″ across and a few feet high. Lay down a bed of compost about 8″ deep. Plant your seed potatoes and cover them with more compost. As the plant grows, add more compost to keep the potatoes covered but letting the leaves get sunlight. At the end of the season, open up the chicken wire and out tumble your ‘taters.

While you’re cooped up in the house during these cold months, do some garden planning. Won’t be too much longer and you’ll be able to start some seedlings indoors. Get the new seed catalogs and make some lists. Be sure to get heirloom seeds if at all possible. Heirloom plants are “true” strains, meaning the seeds from the veggies and fruits can be used to grow more. Seeds from hybrid plants are sterile.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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