12 Highest Calorie Crops Essential for Your Survival Garden

In uncertain times, having a reliable food source is crucial for survival. But what if you have limited space or live in an urban environment?

The solution lies in container gardening, specifically growing high-calorie crops that pack a nutritional punch.

This comprehensive guide uncovers the top 12 high-calorie crops to grow in containers, empowering you to cultivate a bountiful harvest right in your backyard, balcony, or even indoors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify the 12 most calorie-dense crops ideal for container gardening
  • Learn space-saving techniques to maximize yields in limited areas
  • Discover nutritional benefits and growing tips for each high-calorie crop
  • Master the art of growing a calorie-rich survival garden in containers

By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the best high-calorie crops to grow in containers, ensuring a consistent supply of nutrient-dense, energy-rich foods for you and your loved ones, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Why Grow High-Calorie Crops?

Calorie-dense foods are essential for survival scenarios, providing the energy needed to maintain physical activities and bodily functions.

Growing your own food supply offers self-sufficiency, ensuring access to fresh, nutrient-rich produce.

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Container gardening presents advantages, including space-saving potential, mobility, and effective pest control.

  • Grow nutrient-dense crops to meet daily caloric needs during emergencies.
  • Produce your own food supply for self-sufficiency and food security.
  • Container gardens offer versatility, portability, and efficient resource management.
CropCalories per 100g
Potatoes77
Sweet Potatoes86
Corn86
Winter Squash26
Beans347
Peas81
Peanuts567
Sunflower Seeds584
Amaranth371
Quinoa368
Sorghum349
Jerusalem Artichokes109

Factors to Consider for Container Growing

Choosing appropriate container sizes and materials is crucial for successful container gardening.

Ensure proper drainage and soil quality to promote healthy plant growth.

Consider sunlight exposure and implement crop rotation to maintain soil fertility and minimize pest/disease issues.

  • Select containers with adequate depth and drainage holes for each crop’s root system.
  • Use high-quality potting soil or create your own nutrient-rich soil mix.
  • Position containers in areas with ample sunlight exposure based on crop requirements.
  • Rotate crops annually to replenish soil nutrients and disrupt pest/disease cycles.

1. Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple high-calorie crop that can be grown in containers.

They provide a reliable source of carbohydrates and essential nutrients. Check out these tips for growing potatoes as a survival crop.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, providing 77 calories per 100g. They also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow potatoes in containers at least 12-16 inches deep, with good drainage. They thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

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Varieties and Harvesting Tips

  • Recommended varieties for containers: Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Russian Banana Fingerling.
  • Harvest new potatoes when plants flower, or wait for mature potatoes after foliage dies back.
  • Store potatoes in a cool, dark place for extended shelf life.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes offer a nutritious and calorie-dense alternative to regular potatoes, with a sweet flavor and vibrant color.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, providing 86 calories per 100g.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow sweet potatoes in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 24-36 inches wide. They thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Varieties and Harvesting Tips

  • Recommended varieties for containers: Beauregard, Jewel, Covington.
  • Harvest sweet potatoes after the vines die back, typically 3-4 months after planting.
  • Cure harvested sweet potatoes in a warm, humid environment for 10-14 days before storage.

3. Corn

Corn is a versatile high-calorie crop that can be grown for fresh consumption or dried for long-term storage. It’s an essential survival crop to consider.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Corn provides 86 calories per 100g, along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow corn in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 24 inches wide. It requires full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Varieties and Pollination Requirements

  • Recommended varieties for containers: Early Sunglow, Honey & Cream, Golden Bantam.
  • Plant several corn plants in the same container for efficient pollination.
  • Hand-pollinate by transferring pollen between tassels and silk strands if necessary.

4. Winter Squash

Winter squash varieties offer a low-maintenance, high-calorie crop that can be stored for extended periods after harvest. They are excellent calorie-dense survival crops to have on hand.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Winter squash provides 26 calories per 100g, along with vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow winter squash in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 24-36 inches wide. It requires full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Varieties and Storage Tips

  • Recommended varieties for containers: Buttercup, Bush Delicata, Baby Boo.
  • Harvest winter squash when the stem begins to dry and the skin hardens.
  • Store cured winter squash in a cool, dry place for several months.

5. Beans

Beans are a nutrient-dense and calorie-rich crop that can be grown in containers for fresh or dried consumption. They are an excellent source of protein, making them a crucial food for survival.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Beans provide an impressive 347 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow beans in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. They thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

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Bush vs. Pole Varieties

  • Bush bean varieties are compact and well-suited for container gardening.
  • Pole beans require trellising but can produce higher yields in limited space.

6. Peas

Peas are a cool-weather crop that offers a nutritious and calorie-dense harvest in containers. They are among the fastest growing vegetables you can cultivate.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Peas provide 81 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow peas in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. They prefer cool temperatures and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Shelling vs. Snap Pea Varieties

  • Shelling peas are harvested for their tender seeds inside the inedible pod.
  • Snap peas are harvested with the edible pod and tender peas inside.

7. Peanuts

Peanuts are a high-calorie and protein-rich crop that can be grown in containers for a unique and versatile harvest. They make an excellent addition to a survival garden.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Peanuts provide a remarkable 567 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow peanuts in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 24-36 inches wide. They require full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Harvesting and Storage Tips

  • Harvest peanuts when the plant begins to yellow and wither.
  • Allow harvested peanuts to dry in a warm, well-ventilated area before storing.
  • Store dried peanuts in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

8. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a dual-purpose crop, providing edible seeds and a beautiful addition to your container garden. Their seeds are incredibly calorie-dense for survival needs.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Sunflower seeds offer an impressive 584 calories per 100g, along with healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow sunflowers in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. They thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Harvesting and Roasting Seeds

  • Harvest sunflower heads when the petals begin to droop and the back of the head turns yellow.
  • Hang harvested heads upside down in a warm, dry area to cure for 2-4 weeks.
  • Remove seeds from the dried head and roast them for a crunchy, nutritious snack.

9. Amaranth

Amaranth is an ancient grain crop that offers high-calorie yields and nutritional value in a compact plant. It’s an excellent amaranth survival crop to consider for limited spaces.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Amaranth provides 371 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow amaranth in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. It thrives in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Harvesting and Cooking Tips

  • Harvest amaranth by cutting the seed heads when they turn golden brown.
  • Separate the seeds from the chaff by rubbing or winnowing.
  • Cook amaranth seeds like other grains, or use them to make flour or popped cereal.
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10. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient-rich pseudo-grain that can be grown in containers for a high-calorie, gluten-free harvest. It’s a smart choice for nutritious plants to grow in a survival garden.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Quinoa provides 368 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow quinoa in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. It requires full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Harvesting and Processing Tips

  • Harvest quinoa by cutting the seed heads when they turn golden brown.
  • Separate the seeds from the chaff by rubbing or winnowing.
  • Rinse quinoa seeds before cooking to remove any remaining saponins (natural bitter coating).

11. Sorghum

Sorghum is a drought-tolerant grain crop that offers high-calorie yields and versatility in container gardens. Incorporating drought-resistant plants like sorghum is wise for emergency preparedness.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Sorghum provides 349 calories per 100g, along with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow sorghum in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. It thrives in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Varieties and Uses

  • Recommended varieties for containers: Dwarf Broom Corn, Milo Amber.
  • Sorghum grains can be used for flour, cereal, or animal feed.
  • Sweet sorghum varieties can be grown for syrup production.

12. Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, are a tuber crop that offers high-calorie yields and unique flavor in container gardens. They are a lesser-known but essential survival plant worth cultivating.

Nutrition and Calorie Content

Jerusalem artichokes provide 109 calories per 100g, along with fiber, potassium, and various vitamins and minerals.

Ideal Container Size and Growing Conditions

Grow Jerusalem artichokes in containers at least 12-16 inches deep and 24-36 inches wide. They thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Harvesting and Storage Tips

  • Harvest Jerusalem artichokes after the plant dies back in late fall or early winter.
  • Brush off excess soil and store tubers in a cool, humid location for extended shelf life.
  • Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten raw, cooked, or used to make flour or beverages.

Companion Planting and Crop Rotation

Companion planting and crop rotation are essential practices for successful container gardening. Certain plants can benefit one another when grown together, while rotating crops annually helps replenish soil nutrients and disrupt pest/disease cycles.

  • Companion plant beneficial pairings like tomatoes with basil, or beans with corn and squash.
  • Rotate crops annually, avoiding planting the same family in the same container each year.
  • Incorporate cover crops or green manures during off-seasons to enrich the soil.

Wrapping Up

Growing high-calorie crops in containers offers a space-efficient solution for producing a reliable food supply, even in urban or limited-space environments. Experiment with the crops outlined in this article, adapting techniques to suit your individual needs and resources.

Embrace self-sufficiency by cultivating a diverse array of nutrient-dense, calorie-rich plants. With proper planning and care, container gardening can provide a bountiful harvest to sustain you and your loved ones during challenging times.

For more tips on starting a survival garden in limited spaces, check out our other in-depth guides. Stay prepared by growing your own food supply today.

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