How to Grow Vegetables in Container Gardens

Overview

Container gardens are ideal for people who would like to enjoy the health benefits of consuming fresh, homegrown vegetables but lack the proper space for a large vegetable garden. You do not need a lot of space to grow your own vegetable garden. A small patio, balcony or even your back porch can become the perfect spot for a beautiful mini garden. Container gardens are portable, easy to care for and tend to have less problems with fungus and inadequate soil conditions. Take care of your container garden by providing it with the right amount of water and sunlight and you will be rewarded with an abundance of nutritious and delicious vegetables.

Step 1

Visit your local garden center and choose the types of vegetables you plan to grow in your container garden. Many vegetables that you would grow in a typical garden such as eggplant, tomatoes, green onions, lettuce, peppers, squash, radishes, cucumbers, turnips, beets and beans will thrive in a container garden.

Step 2

Choose an area of your yard or patio to set up your container garden that is well ventilated and receives adequate sunlight. Most vegetables need at least five to six hours of sun a day. Root vegetables such as onions and beets will require less sun than plants that produce fruit such as peppers and tomatoes.

Step 3

Select containers that are deep enough to hold the proper amount of soil to give the roots of the vegetables room to spread out and grow. Crops such as herbs and onions can be grown in containers with a diameter of 6 to 8 inches and a depth of 10 to 12 inches. For crops such as tomatoes and peppers, five gallon plastic buckets work well. Create proper drainage by adding 1 to 2 inches of gravel to the bottom of the container. For best results choose containers that have holes on the bottoms and sides of the container.

Step 4

Purchase a ready made soil mix especially created for container gardens. This type of soil has been sterilized and is free of fungus, disease and weed seeds. Ready made soil also drains well and retains its moisture and nutrient content. To provide your vegetable plants with an added boost of nutrients, add organic matter such as compost to the mix. To do this you will need to add one part compost to every three parts of soil.

Step 5

Add an all-purpose organic fertilizer according to the package directions to the soil when you plant the vegetables. As the vegetables begin to grow, fertilize the plants with a soluble fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the base of the plants each time you water.

Step 6

Water the container garden once a day, thoroughly soaking the soil. Container gardens can dry out quickly depending on the temperature outside as well as the size of the container. To guarantee the container retains the proper moisture level, it is best to never let the soil dry out more than two inches deep.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not choose a fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen, as this will prevent tomato plants from producing an abundance of blooms.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable plants and seeds
  • Sunlight
  • Assorted containers
  • Ready made soil mix
  • Organic matter
  • All-purpose organic fertilizer
  • Water soluble fertilizer
  • Water

References

  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers

Who Can Help

  • Container Gardening Tips
  • Vegetable Gardening Site
  • No Dig Vegetable Garden
Keywords: container, garden, vegetables, small spaces

About this Author

Kim Waits is a writer and educator living in the scenic mountains of North Georgia. Waits has over 10 years experience writing, teaching and researching for a variety of mediums, including curriculum writing for grades Pre-K through 5th grade. Waits studied "Strategies for Promoting Language & Early Literacy Development" with Dr. Hanne Gettschalk. She specializes in writing about early childhood education.