How to Plant Vegetables in Plastic Bags & Containers


When many people think of vegetable gardens, they think of a plot of land with vegetables growing in straight rows. But not everyone can grow a traditional vegetable garden. People with little space, poor soil or who are hampered by a physical disability may not be able to grow vegetables in a garden such as this. Instead, vegetables will grow very well in containers of soil.

Step 1

Mix a potting mix for vegetable gardens that consists of one part peat moss, one part compost, one part vermiculite and ½ part composted manure. This mixture will feed vegetable plants as well as providing a substrate to support the roots. Or select pre-bagged potting mixes to plant vegetables directly in as grow bags. Do not plant vegetables in containers filled with garden dirt. Garden dirt contains microbes that will harm vegetables when confined to a container.

Step 2

Match your container or grow bag size to the correct size for the roots of the vegetables. Plants such as tomatoes require at least a five gallon container in order to develop an expansive root system. Plants such as radishes will grow very well in one gallon of soil.

Step 3

Cover the drainage hole at the bottom of the container with a square of window screening. Fill the container with soil up to within 1 inch of the container's lip. Poke at least 20 pin-sized holes in the bottom of a grow bag for drainage. Turn the grow bag over and open a slit in the surface to allow for a plant to be planted in the bag.

Step 4

Shove aside soil to form a planting pocket twice as wide as a transplant's root ball. Place the root ball into the hole and then fill in around the sides with soil. Plant seeds in drill holes that are between two and four times as deep as the width of the seed at its widest point. Cover with soil and water so that the soil remains as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 5

Check the soil daily and water whenever the soil seems dry to keep it as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 6

Provide support for tall plants such as tomatoes or plants with vining habits such as winter squash. To support tomatoes, sink a cage around the plant in the soil. To support vining plants, place the container near a trellis so that the vine can wrap around the plant as it grows.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite
  • Composted manure
  • Bag of potting mix
  • Vegetable transplants
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Pin
  • Gardening knife
  • Watering can
  • Tomato cage
  • Trellis


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • Iowa State University Extension: Container vegetable gardening
  • Maryland Cooperative Extension Service: Container Vegetable Gardening: Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Minigardening (Growing Vegetables in Containers
Keywords: vegetable gardening, container gardens, growing container vegetables

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."