Poor soil or lack of space needn't prevent you from growing your own fresh, nutritious vegetables all year long. When you grow vegetables in large pots, planter boxes or other containers, it's easy to control many factors that influence the success of your plants. You can mix up the perfect type of soil mixture, regulate watering and ensure that your plants get the maximum amount of sunlight, or shade, that they require by placing your containers in the correct areas.
Purchase the number of containers you need to grow the vegetables you have chosen. Make sure your containers have drainage holes: for example, half wine barrels make suitable containers for vegetables, but you must drill several 3/8 to ½ inch holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage.
Choose dwarf or compact varieties of vegetables, because they are best suited to container growing. For example, beefsteak tomatoes grow on large plants, while cherry tomatoes are more appropriate for pots.
Place large containers where you want to keep them, because after you fill them with soil they will be very heavy and hard to move. Place plant saucers under containers before you fill them with soil to protect a wooden deck or patio from water damage.
Fill your containers with soil. Purchase potting soil or make a combination of topsoil with compost and other organic ingredients. If you make your own soil mixture, use about three-quarters topsoil to one-quarter compost and other organic matter such as leaf mold, rotted manure, wood chips, sawdust or grass clippings. Water containers after you fill them until water comes out the drainage holes.
Dig planting holes for your bedding plants that are large enough for their root systems. For most vegetable starter plants, leave at least 6 inches of space between plants. Then set bedding plants into the holes and cover with soil. Make a shallow furrow the correct depth for seeds, following seed packet instructions. Drop seeds into the furrows at the depth and distance apart the seed packet recommends. Water again.
Fertilize most vegetables with a 10-10-10 plant food once a month, beginning one month after you plant them and continuing until midsummer.