Container Gardening: Tips On Growing Vegetables In Pots

This post was most recently updated on January 25th, 2020

Tips On Growing Vegetables In Pots 3If you are a gardener, and you would like to try out container gardening, this is a unique way to grow vegetables in pots.

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You can grow vegetables in standard pots, half barrels, or even tubs. Container gardening is both a practical way to produce vegetables, and it can also add visually to your garden area.

Container gardening is the best way for people that have limited space to grow their favorite vegetables, even if they live in an area that is often very cold or dry. Here are a few tips on how to do container gardening if you would like to grow vegetables in pots.

What Is Container Gardening?

This form of gardening allows you to grow vegetables in a self-contained area.

This is in contrast to planting vegetables seeds in the ground. Container gardening is often a preferred way of gardening for those that do not have enough space on their property to garden, or if there climate will not allow them to grow certain types of vegetables.

It is also perfect if you rent your property, or only have a patio rather than an actual garden.

Container gardening can be done on a very small scale using standard pots, or you can use half barrels or something similar such as a wooden box or even a hanging basket. There are different methods that are used to do this, allowing people in homes and apartments to grow their own vegetables.

Different Methods For Container Gardening

When container gardening first started, terra-cotta (fired clay) pots were used, but today plastic ones are the most common.


You may have seen people with small window boxes in their home growing small amounts of vegetables. This is most popular with people that have extremely limited space, especially those that live in urban areas where outdoor gardening would simply not be possible.

Another option would be gutter gardening, you can read my friend Ann’s post on gutter gardening here.

Similar to regular gardening, you need to plant your seeds at the proper time, as well as add the right amount of soil, fertilizer, and water.

RELATED: Seed sowing guide

Best Container Size To Use

As a general rule, it is much easier to grow vegetables in pots or containers that are larger rather than smaller ones.

This is because plants will do much better when they have more access to soil and depth to grow their roots. The soil not only provides the nutrients that the vegetables will need, but they can help keep the plants alive by resisting rapid temperature fluctuations.

It is also important to consider the root size and length of each vegetable that you are going to grow when choosing the right container. Lettuce has have shallow roots, carrot grow much longer.

Container Gardening Drainage Tips

When you plant seeds in the ground, you do not have to worry about water drainage as much as you do with container gardening.

When using containers, the water must be able to exit out of the bottom of the container. Without providing these holes, the vegetables can become waterlogged and will eventually die.

The size of the holes do not have to be large, and can be easily drilled or punctured with tools that you will likely have.

Other options will include using hanging baskets, double-walled containers, and self watering containers, all of which will help manage the amount of water that is in the soil.

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Best Material For Containers Gardens

The material that the container is made of can vary significantly. If you are primarily doing container gardening outdoors, cast concrete containers will last a long time.

If this is an activity that you are doing inside of your condo or apartment, fiberglass or plastic pots are recommended because of their size, weight and their cost.

Another option are containers that are made from polyurethane foam. These are extremely light and will resist cracking or chipping.

Finally, you would like a more rustic look for your container-based garden, you can use containers made of wood such as half barrels or something similar.

RELATED: Free Gardening Resources

How To Add The Soil to your Container Garden

Once you have drilled your holes, you will then place newspaper at the bottom so the soil cannot come out the holes.

You should avoid using plain garden soil due to its density and lack of nutrition, instead use a house plant soil mixture or bought potting mix.

You need to pre-moisten the soil evenly before planting your seeds. Make sure that the soil does not go to the top of the container, stop at least 1 inch from the rim. This will give you enough space to do watering without worrying about overflow.

Once you have completed this process, you can then decide on what you are going to plant. Some people are going to focus solely upon vegetables.

Other options will include perennials, shrubs (like blueberries), annuals, or herbs. You can have a mixture of both vegetables and plants that will bloom.

Mixing vegetables and flowers will give character to your container gardening project, whether you are doing this indoors or outdoors.

Container gardening is a fantastic way for people that do not have room for gardening to have a garden each year!

For further reading, I really recommend all of these books. I own every one of them and they are amazing resources!

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