Planting fruits and vegetables in planters makes it possible to grow plants in areas where the soil is unsuitable for growing and provides convenient access to plants. Planters can be positioned at any level to meet the needs of the gardener. Because planters occupy a small area, caring for plants requires less time and does not require cultivating large areas of soil. The time investment is reduced, and the expense of large garden tools and equipment is avoided. Tend to fruits and vegetables in planters with a few simple hand tools.
Select planters in the size and shape to meet your growing needs. Large plants such as tomatoes require 12 inches or more in depth to support the plant. Small vegetables, such as salad greens, radish and herbs ,require little space and can be planted successfully in planters with a depth of 6 inches or less.
Provide adequate drainage by drilling holes in the bottom of the planter to allow water to drain through the bottom. Although plants require moisture to thrive, soggy soil prevents oxygen from reaching roots and invites disease.
Place the planter in a sunny location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Plants require adequate sunlight to produce abundant fruit. Unless you live in the extreme south where afternoon sun is intense, afternoon sun is best.
Fill the pots with soil rich in organic matter. Begin with a mixture of equal parts potting soil, perlite and peat moss and add well-rotted manure or compost. Combine 1/3 organic matter to 2/3 of the potting mixture and mix well to create rich, loose soil brimming with organic matter to support growing plants.
Plant seedlings to the original soil level and firm down gently with your hands to secure the plant and to eliminate air pockets. Because space is not required for walking or cultivating the soil, plants can be spaced closer in planters than in garden soil. Space plants to the recommended row spacing in all directions. For example, onions can be planted 4 inches apart in all directions, making it possible to plant more crops in a smaller area.
Establish routine watering. Daily watering may be necessary as soil dries quickly in planters or containers. Check the soil by sticking your finger 1 inch below the surface of the soil. If soil feels dry, provide water. Water thoroughly to moisten all soil and allow the soil to dry before watering again.
Provide supplemental fertilizer. Water-soluble formulas applied every 10 to 14 days provide plants with the nutrients needed for lush growth. Nutrients quickly leach from the soil in planters or containers, so replacing lost nutrients is necessary for vigorous growth.