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  1. Very interesting and informative article. I have tried a variety of potted and raised beds and all have some advantages or disadvantages. The key to growing a garden that has good output is soil moisture level, not too much or too little and managing pests and weeds. This method seems to have them all covered. I think this would particularly work for one of my crops I have a hard time harvesting. Sweet potatoes. The vines go everywhere and it seems like I have to dig up the entire garden to find them. I think this would keep the vines from running and the sweet potatoes in one place. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Test soil PH before planting and adjust ph for the crop you are planting with Lime or finely mulched leaves. I do not use fertilizer in the water. I put it in a trench off to one side of what ever crop I’m planting.

  2. You would be better off buying your potatoes from a local farm. This is a really cute, busy, expensive hobby. There is a reason for our ancestors using root cellars. Stop buying metal horse troughs and plastic and dig a hole in the ground. Store everything, potatoes, carrots, and your canned goods. Stop trying to re-invent the wheel. PS, they make great fallout shelters as well.

    1. The whole point about survival issues is NOT depending on the store!!! Your dig a hole in the ground comment makes me worry about your survival in a SHFT situation! I thought the ideas were outstanding since it was gleaned through experience and not just theory.

  3. I am not handy, but could handle the materials here. However, I would greatly appreciate it if the author would provide a series of step by step photos to go with each step of the instructions. I was able to figure out most of it, but most is not good enough when you are growing food to survive.

    Would the editor be willing to ask the author for more photos, and update the post? This is one of the most useful posts I have read, and I’ve been reading Survivalblog for about ten years.

  4. This is a variation of the Alaskan grow buckets. I have seen similar setups using totes. Good idea, but expensive. Does anyone have suggestions for large horse trough sized containers that aren’t expensive? Perhaps 55 gallon drums which I can buy for $10 apiece.

  5. strange, I plant 200-250 plants every season and harvest 500-600lbs of potatoes each season. I store them 18″ x 18″ x 14″, layered with newsprint inside wood slat boxes inside a subterranean root cellar, September till May/June. temps ranges no cooler than 39f and no warmer than 61f. outside temp swings winter to summer is -30f to 110f. by planting season, I have enough left over for new seed crop and the rest is shredded in hash browns/frys and frozen for one more year of human use. after two years, I will feed the chickens the hash browns/frys left overs and replace with new batch. full circle farming.

  6. This is a neat idea. I am 63 and for the past 5yr I have been working to get my “garden” into raised beds as much as possible, except for the corn and green beans which I grow in volume out in the back yard garden plot. I hope to get it completed before my back gives out. 🙂 I hate the thought of having to give up a garden because I can’t bend over.

    I was wishing for a youtube step by step for this. Or more details with pictures.

    I already have my taters in a raised bed and love it.

    Raised beds are excellent for us old folks !

  7. If I used this process with smaller container(s) to start on a smaller scale, would any aspect be different? Also, we have a diabetic in the house & would grow sweet potatoes.

  8. Great article and I’ve been looking at alternatives for raised bed gardening, and this technique is certainly appealing, not to mention the simple ingenious techniques – love the window screen idea! Planted a big container, waited patiently for the sprouts only to see them all eaten by the birds!

    Since I don’t have a green thumb, and I’m a new gardener that relies on other’s proven “recipes” for success plus a little science to maximize my crop – appreciate you sharing your experience. Like the idea of getting the right soil for each crop based on the climate.

    Did a quick search and you can buy the 100-120 gallon troughs (6’ x 2’ x 2’, and each weigh about 70 lbs.) for about $120 at tractor supply or mills fleet farm. if you get 10 years out each, then the marginal cost is $10 per year, add the cost of soil preparation, mulching and organic fertilizers and you likely spend another $10-20 per trough. So, the marginal cost is maybe $40 per year (my marginal cost is low since I get the personal satisfaction of growing my own) – the real question is what’s the yield? If you can get 40 to 80 lbs. per trough, then you are equal to the cost of No.1 grade taters from the local grocery store – that’s a win in my books for getting a little self sufficiency that others don’t have or want, plus bragging rights at dinner table too!

    Where I live, can see the troughs getting toasty hot in full sun, do you run risk of the soil temps getting too hot or does the watering system keep the temperatures down? Like the low tech self watering approach – I’ve lost or stunted my modest crop after only a day of hot weather.

    What are the best yielding crops for your technique? Looking to add beets, root veggies, carrots, squash, and straw berries to my garden in the future.

    Please share your tater yields from a trough and perhaps other crops using the same technique.

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