How to Garden in Plastic Tubs


Many gardeners love the ease and convenience of container, or pot, gardening. Not only are these mini-gardens attractive, they are portable, allowing the gardener to move them to suitable lighting and growing conditions with little effort. Although many commercial plant pots and planters are available on the market, you can grow a mini-garden in any suitable container from wooden boxes, buckets or plastic tubs. Plastic tubs do need added drainage holes, but are relatively inexpensive and work well for growing garden plants.

Step 1

Select a plastic bin in the appropriate size for your flowers or vegetables. Small salad greens, herbs or miniature flowers do not require more than a few inches for root development. Four to six inches in depth is adequate. Larger plants, like tomatoes, require a foot or more of space for their extensive root system.

Step 2

Choose a color that appeals to you, keeping in mind that earthy colors blend well with the landscape. White creates a clear, clean appearance and contrasts well with any color foliage or blooms. Bright, cheery primary colors make the area vibrant, and add a playful look to your garden.

Step 3

Drill holes in the bottom of the plastic bin to allow for drainage. Space ½ inch holes 4-6 inches apart over the bottom of the container.

Step 4

Layer small pebbles or 2-3 inches of gravel on the bottom of the bin to further promote drainage. Fill the plastic bin with soil mixture. Equal parts garden loam (or potting soil), peat moss and perlite makes an excellent lightweight soil that promotes good drainage.

Step 5

Plant seedlings or seeds in the container and place in the appropriate lighting for your specific plants. This information is located on the back of the seed packet. Water thoroughly and keep evenly moist (but not soggy) until seedlings emerge. Follow the watering recommendations for your plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bins
  • Drill
  • Pebbles/gravel
  • Soil mixture
  • Seeds/seedlings


  • AgriLife Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
  • TAMU Floriculture Program: Container Gardens
  • University of Illinois Extension: Successful Container Gardens

Who Can Help

  • US Department of Agriculture: Container Vegetable Gardening
  • Colorado State University Extnesion: Container Gardens
Keywords: plastic bins, container garden, mini-gardens

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.