How to Have a Container Vegetable Garden


A container vegetable garden allows you to grow your own food crops in a limited space. Whether you have minimal space in your yard or you live in a small apartment, there is likely a way to be successful with container vegetables. Grow as few or as many vegetable varieties as you desire and your space allows. Many vegetable seedlings are now available that are suitable for container gardening and more are being developed every year.

Step 1

Choose an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. Lay down black plastic on this area to prevent staining from water run-off on concrete and wood on patios and decks.

Step 2

Fill containers with good quality potting soil. Use five-gallon containers or buckets for large plants such as tomatoes and peppers and smaller 12-inch diameter pots for smaller plants such as herbs.

Step 3

Plant the seedlings in the containers to the same depth they were planted in their nursery pots, except for tomatoes and peppers which are planted 2 inches deeper. Firm the soil around the base of the plant with your hands.

Step 4

Stick a stake or small trellis into the pot at the same time you plant the seedling for tall or vining vegetables. Set these pots behind those holding lower-growing plants so they don't block the sunlight.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist but not wet at all times. Check the soil daily and water as needed. Containers dry out faster than garden beds and may even require twice-daily watering during the hot, dry part of summer.

Step 6

Fertilize every two to three weeks with a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer. Follow package instructions for exact application amounts as this differs by manufacturer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Container gardens are not immune to insects and disease. Treat any problems immediately with the proper chemical or organic control.

Things You'll Need

  • Black plastic
  • Containers
  • Soil
  • Seedlings
  • Stakes
  • Trellises
  • Fertilizer


  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
  • Maryland Extension: How to Start a Garden
Keywords: container garden, small space vegetable growing, planting vegetables in pots

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.