How to Plant a Spring Vegetable Garden in Containers


Vegetable gardening isn't just for those that have lots of space or big yards. A successful vegetable garden is possible on balconies, patios and in other small spaces where there is no room or means to build a garden bed. Starting a spring vegetable garden in containers allows you to grow many of the same plants that are grown in beds. Seed companies and nurseries now carry many dwarf and vegetable varieties that are well-suited to growing in pots.

Step 1

Fill small seed starting pots with a soil-less seed starting mixture. Combine your own by mixing one part peat moss with one part vermiculite.

Step 2

Moisten the soil-less mixture before planting. Wet it thoroughly until water runs from the drainage holes in the bottoms of the pots. Let sit for four or more hours so the peat has a chance to absorb the moisture.

Step 3

Sow two to three seeds per pot. Sow each vegetable seed to a depth twice that its width. Sow small seeds on the soil surface and cover with a thin layer of vermiculite.

Step 4

Cover the pots with plastic wrap and set in a warm room to germinate, which takes seven to 14 days for most vegetable varieties. Remove the plastic once sprouts appear and place the pots in a sunny window.

Step 5

Transplant the strongest seedlings to permanent pots filled with the soil-less mix once they produce their third set of leaves. Choose pots that are 2 to 5 gallons in size, depending on the size of the full-grown plant. Plant the seedlings in the permanent pots to the same depth they were at in the starter pots.

Step 6

Place the containers where they will receive at six to eight hours of sunlight a day---a south- or east-facing patio works well. Place the pots on wheeled carts and move them throughout the day to follow the sun if necessary.

Step 7

Keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet, at all times. Containers dry out faster than gardening beds, so daily watering is necessary during hot or dry times.

Step 8

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once a month, as nutrients leach out of the pots. Apply a 2-inch layer of compost on top of the soil once fruit begins to set on the plants to add further nutrients and help preserve moisture in the pots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Damping off is a fungal disease that affects seedlings. Provide enough light and avoid over-watering to prevent. Pavement causes the sun to reflect on plants and may cause sunburn. Lay black landscaping cloth over the pavement to control this reflection.

Things You'll Need

  • Small pots
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Plastic wrap
  • Large containers
  • Fertilizer


  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
Keywords: container gardening, grow vegetables in pots, patio vegetable plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.