Growing your vegetable garden in containers has many advantages. You are able to select the location for your vegetable garden containers to meet the needs of the particular vegetables you are growing. A full sun spot is good for tomatoes, peppers, and squash; a partially shaded spot is good for lettuce, spinach and chard. You will have more control over soil quality and watering--and are less likely to have problems with diseases and pests--if you grow your vegetables in containers. Monitoring and harvesting your vegetables will be easier, too, because of the convenient location and size of your containers.
Use a container large enough for the vegetables you intend to grow. For shallow rooted vegetables--like herbs, onions, lettuce, spinach, and beans--your containers can be medium size with a depth of 9 inches. Larger vegetable plants--such as squash, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants--will need larger containers that have a minimum depth of 16 inches.
Select vegetable transplants in six-packs for eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Lettuce, squash, peas and beans can be started from seeds.
Fill your containers with clean, general-purpose potting soil. Do not use soil from your garden, as it may harbor diseases and fungus that will infect your container vegetables.
Plant your container vegetables as you would if you were planting the vegetables in the ground. Vegetables that need cooler temperatures, lettuce and spinach, can be planted together. Sun-loving vegetables, like tomatoes, squash, and peppers, can be planted together.
Fertilize your vegetables with a time-released fertilizer formulated for vegetables. Be sure to follow the directions on the package, which will instruct you to feed your vegetables every two to four weeks. Container plants lose valuable nutrients and have no way to replenish other than through fertilization.
Water your container vegetables thoroughly when you poke your finger into the first inch of soil and it feels dry. Your vegetable container will be thoroughly watered when you see water coming out of the bottom drain hole. Container gardens, particularly containers of clay, can dry out fast in warm weather; you may need to water every day. Water in the morning, if possible, so that you are not creating wet leaves over night, which can encourage fungus and mildew.