How to Create a Container Garden


Creating a container garden puts fresh vegetables right outside your patio door. Nearly any vegetable that is grown in a traditional garden bed can be grown in a container. Look for plant varieties that are dwarf or specially cultivated for use in containers. Whether you want your garden on the deck or just a small garden on an apartment balcony, there are vegetables and a garden arrangement that will work for you.

Step 1

Choose the containers for your garden. Use hanging baskets for strawberries, small greens and herbs. Use 5-gallon buckets or 5- to 8-gallon pots for most larger vegetables. Drill four to six half-inch drainage holes in the bottom of each container if they aren't already present.

Step 2

Combine 1 part sterilized compost, 1 part pet moss and 1 part vermiculite or coarse sand together in a large bin. Moisten the mixture evenly throughout then fill each container with it to within 2 inches of the rim.

Step 3

Sow seedlings into the containers, following spacing requirements as detailed for each variety on the plant labels or seed packets. Plant cool season vegetables, such broccoli and spinach, two to four weeks before the last spring frost and warm season vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes after all danger of frost has passed.

Step 4

Install stake and trellis systems in the containers immediately after planting. Use wooden stakes for tomatoes and bean plants or purchase lengths of concrete reinforcing rod---rebar---to use as stakes. Use 4-foot stakes for tomatoes and 5- to 6-foot stakes for beans.

Step 5

Place the containers where they receive six to eight hours of direct sun a day, preferably on a south-facing side of your home. Arrange the containers so the larger plants are in back and the smaller vegetable varieties are in front so that light isn't blocked to the smaller plants.

Step 6

Check moisture levels daily and water as soon as the top of the soil begins to dry. Keep the soil evenly moist throughout and water twice daily as necessary during hot, dry spells.

Step 7

Feed every two weeks with a complete liquid fertilizer. Alternately, incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil at planting then begin supplementing with liquid fertilizer two months after planting. Follow label instructions for exact application amounts.

Tips and Warnings

  • Container plants are not immune from pests. Check for problems daily and treat immediately with the proper chemical or organic pesticide. Vine crops, including watermelon and pumpkin, do not do well in containers.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Drill
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Coarse sand
  • Stakes
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Wisconsin-Extension: Container Gardening With Flavor
Keywords: container gardening, container vegetable garden, growi 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.