How to Grow Your Own Vegetables in Containers


If growing your own food sounds appealing, but you don't have the option of digging in the ground, you can always try to grow your own vegetables in containers. You won't be able to grow every type of vegetable in a container, but many vegetable plants will do fine in a pot with regular care and attention. Once your plants are growing healthily, you can harvest fresh vegetables as soon as they are ready.

Step 1

Plan what types of vegetables you want to grow so you can prepare the right number and sizes of containers to hold mature plants. Good vegetables for growing in small containers include lettuce, spinach and some dwarf varieties of peas and carrots. Large 3- to 5-gallon containers are suitable for tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, beans, peas, eggplant and peppers.

Step 2

Add 1 to 2 inches of pea gravel or broken terra cotta pieces to the bottom of each of your containers. Fill the remainder of the container with potting soil up to an inch from the rim. Dig a small hole in the center of each container the size of the pot your vegetable seedlings are in.

Step 3

Set garden stakes or tomato cages at the containers where you are going to grow vegetables that need supports. Peppers, tomatoes, green beans and peas will typically need staking. As your plants grow you should attach them to the stakes or cages with loose plant ties.

Step 4

Slip the small pot away from the roots of your seedlings and untangle any roots that may be spiraling around the bottom of the root ball. Set the root ball into the hole you dug in Step 2 and bring the soil around the root ball to fill in any gaps. Press the soil to firm it around the seedling.

Step 5

Place the containers in full sun and water the soil to dampen it well and evenly without making the soil become muddy. Water the soil as often as needed to keep it evenly moist during the first month. After your plants show signs of new growth you can start watering more deeply and less often to only two to three times a week. Do not let your pots dry out.

Things You'll Need

  • Pea gravel or broken terra cotta pieces
  • Potting soil with feed
  • Hand trowel
  • Garden stakes or tomato cages
  • Plant ties
  • Water
  • Pesticide and/or fungicide, as needed


  • "Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide"; Robert J. Dolezal; 2000
  • Texas A&M University: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
Keywords: container gardening vegetables, growing container vegetables, growing vegetables

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.