Container Survival Gardening Guide

Container Mini Gardens Micro Gardens

For obvious reasons, most crops have been traditionally cultivated in open spaces such as gardens and fields. These environments offer ample sunlight and an abundance of space for plants to grow. Growing vegetables or herbs in Container Gardens (also known as Mini or Micro Gardens), on the other hand, requires resourcefulness and careful planning to produce sizable yields for survival. Fortunately this approach affords the attentive gardener greater flexibility and control over the growing medium. With these tools, a healthy and abundant harvest can be secured even in the most challenging locations.

Mini Gardens

Container Gardening
Types of Containers
Container CarrotsA wide variety of containers can be used to cultivate container gardens, including raised beds, window boxes, ceramic pots, old claw-foot bathtubs, and whatever else is easily available. Anything that has housed potentially harmful substances, such as old paint cans, should be avoided. Containers with open bottoms or holes in the bottom will allow for good drainage, but are not necessarily ideal as nutrients and minerals leached from the soil will drain out as well. If using a container with a sealed bottom, it is recommended to line the bottom with stones or something similar to allow for drainage and prevent the bottom of your container from becoming excessively Tomato Containermoist.

Special Considerations for the Indoor Container Grower

Container gardening can be very productive for city dwellers or others with limited space or topsoil. Growing such gardens indoors is especially attractive to such people as these environments offer greater year-round stability of heat and humidity. Crops that require less time to grow, such as greens and microgreens, make the best choices for indoor cultivation. Other options to improve light conditions, including using shelves, supplementing with artificial lighting, moving container gardens to maximize light exposure, using reflectors, and constructing makeshift greenhouses can all be utilized to offset the potential challenges to indoor container gardening.


Indoor HerbsGardeners seeking self-sufficiency from container-grown fruits and vegetables must be extraordinarily diligent. As with 'casual' container gardening, limited space and sunlight are the principle challenges. Additionally, the containers, soil, artificial lighting, soil amendments, fertilizers and other accessories may present a considerable financial investment that should be considered prior to sowing. This not to diminish the long-term productivity or worthiness of such investment. With repeated harvests, and proper recycling of soil, a container garden designed for self-sufficiency will pay for itself many times over.

Garden LightCarefully planning and executing an efficient growing strategy are the keys to successful container gardening. To get started, carefully assess your available space, observing the daily and yearly light cycles. In the northern hemisphere, southern exposure will generally have the longest duration and greatest intensity. Natural sunlight will usually be abundant and much cheaper than artificial lighting from bulbs or fixtures. In general, growing plants should receive, at the very minimum 5-6 hours of sunlight each day, or 12+ hours of artificial light.


Raised BedOnce you develop a sense of how much light will be available for growing, you can begin to determine what type of container to use. For a truly self-sufficient garden, you will likely need several medium to large-sized raised beds or similar containers. When buying soil, your most economical choice will likely come from a local soil company rather than buying individual bags from a garden center. When growing food, select a medium that is fairly lightweight, well-drained, fertile and rich in organic matter. Typical soil from your yard will is not likely to make an ideal choice due to excessive clay content.


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