How to Grow Vegetables in a Planter


Planters allow you to grow vegetables in a small space. If you have little suitable yard space or live in an apartment or shared housing arrangement, a few planters can produce plenty of vegetables for your personal use. Be creative when choosing planters. Five-gallon buckets, large plastic tubs and traditional plant pots are all suitable for vegetable plants. You do not need to purchase expensive growing pots for a successful garden.

Step 1

Drill drainage holes in the bottom of the container you plan to use as a planter if it does not have any already. Drill between two and four 1/2-inch holes into the bottom of the container.

Step 2

Set two bricks in a drip tray that is larger than the planter bottom. Set the planter on top of the bricks. This allows it to drain freely and prevents it from sitting in the collected water.

Step 3

Fill the container with a sterile potting mix to within 2 inches of the rim. Create your own mix by combining 1 part peat moss, 1 part sterile compost and 1 part vermiculite, using a trowel to thoroughly mix the components together.

Step 4

Moisten the potting mix thoroughly before planting. It should be evenly moist, not soaking wet.

Step 5

Plant seedlings in the moist soil to the same height they are planted in their seedling pots, except for tomatoes, which should be planted 1 to 2 inches deeper. Follow the plant tag's or nursery's instructions on the amount of space you need between seedlings for each type of vegetable you plant.

Step 6

Place the container in an area where it receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. If no suitable area is available, place the planter on a wheeled cart and move it throughout the day to follow the sun.

Step 7

Water often enough throughout the growing season to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Daily or even twice-daily watering may be necessary during hot, dry weather.

Step 8

Fertilize the plants every 2 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer, following package instructions for application amounts. Water immediately after or during fertilization to avoid burning the plant roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you are using a soilless planting mix, fertilize daily with the appropriate fertilizer. Avoid getting foliage wet when watering, as this leads to fungal infections.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter
  • Drill
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • 2 bricks
  • Tray
  • Trowel
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite
  • Water
  • Vegetable seedlings
  • Wheeled cart (optional)
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Florida
Keywords: planter vegetables, container gardening, patio vegetable garden

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.