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Container Vegetable Gardening Tips and Ideas for Patio Gardens

Updated on March 13, 2017
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a simple living, frugal, DIY enthusiast who loves showing others how to live their best by embracing simplicity.

Tips and ideas for growing container vegetable gardens in small spaces.
Tips and ideas for growing container vegetable gardens in small spaces. | Source

Tips and Ideas for Small Space Gardens

Do you rent your home, live in an apartment, or have very little yard space? If so, you may feel that growing your own food is impossible, but not so! Container gardens are great for small spaces and they aren't just for flowers and herbs either. With some solid planning and a little ingenuity you can find great ways to grow your veggies in containers on a patio, porch or in a small spot in the yard.

Container Garden Benefits

Smaller and Less Time Consuming

Container gardens can be great for those who only want a few plants and who don't have all the spare time required to keep a full garden. Container gardens require less weeding and don't take long to water and feed.

Easier to Control

Container gardens are easier to control. Many of them are portable, allowing you to move containers as needed to get them out of harsh weather. Since they are not directly in the ground, it is easier to manage weeds and control the amount of water.

They also make organic gardening easier due to the lack of weeding and the ability to better control fungus, disease, and pests naturally.

Creative and Fun

You can use almost anything for a container in a garden, the only requirement is that there is proper drainage. Use old pottery, cans, plastic bins, pots, pallets, etc. There are so many interesting ways to grow a great container garden. For vegetables, nothing is cheaper or easier than 5 gallon paint buckets. They are the perfect size for nice deeply rooted tomatoes. Throw a cage around the edge and your tomatoes have plenty of room to grow and thrive.

Peppers and herbs can be grown in more shallow containers and you can really get creative. There is no better way to up-cycle a lot of things that would otherwise hit the landfill. I've even seen flowers grown in old shoes – how fun.

A nice front porch container garden display
A nice front porch container garden display | Source

Tips for a Successful Container Garden

If you are growing in containers, invest in a good soil with good organic compost or all-natural fertilizer. Since containers gardens tend to have smaller yields, a great soil will help ensure you get the most out of your plants. Potting soil tends to have the ideal consistency.

If you are regrowing plants in a container from the previous year, toss the old soil and start fresh. This helps ensure that the soil is disease free. It also makes sure the soil is aerated so that plants can grow well. Old soil and root matter can become compacted and negatively impact the growth of your current years plants.

Your container vegetable garden should get several hours of direct sunlight per day – at least 6-8. Be sure you are placing your containers in the best locations, where there is plenty of sun and also near a water source. If you have areas that are more shady than sunny, don't fear there are plants like lettuce that can work there also. Lettuce is a great container plant – who doesn't want to pick a fresh salad for dinner?

Small spaces are great for companion planting. Throw a basil plant in with your tomato plant and you will have the best tasting tomatoes ever. There are several varieties of plants that thrive when they are placed close together, look for strong companion plants when planning your garden.

Great Vegetable Container Garden Ideas

This guide has everything you need to know about growing great plants in containers!

Container Garden Challenges

Vegetables grown in containers will not have the same yield as those grown in the ground. That doesn't mean you won't still get plenty of veggies, but if you are used to growing in the ground and decide to go to containers, be prepared for the reduction.

It is easy to over-water plants in containers and experience root rot. Water does not disperse as well through the soil when you grow plants in containers. When water pools around the roots of plants for extend periods of time, root rot and plant death may result. When you grow vegetables in containers, you want to water gently and less often than you would with plants in the ground.

Have you grown vegetables in containers

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© 2013 Christin Sander


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    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      I also do this gardening technique at home and have got some new tips from this hub which I hope can make my technique better.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I was raised in a house that had a huge garden. There were areas for vegetable growing, fruit bush areas, fruit tree areas and more, so the fresh fruit and vegetables available were many and varied. I've moved many times since but never had but a tiny bit of land. Thanks for these tips - I'll give them a try for herbs at least, if not more.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great useful tips! Living in Florida I have to water my plants in containers 2x a day or they will die. The ground gives them the water if I forget to water them, but the ground is full of snakes and other sorts of creatures I am not interested in seeing. So I put them in a container and hope for the best. :) Voted +

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Amazing! I have a little bamboo nian plant I want to transplant. A small area in the apartment is just what's needed to get a little spice garden going!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      I haven't tried a vegetable container garden, but I have a flower container garden. I live in a condo and it is easier to do it this way. Your ideas and photos are great and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Congrats on your 100 hub score.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      I find it so satisfying to grow my own veggies herbs/ flowers etc & love the container idea..great info, thanks for sharing..cheers

    • caseymel profile image

      caseymel 4 years ago from Indiana

      I live in Northern Virginia and just planted my tomato and pepper plants in large containers. I tried tons of plants in containers last year, but the tomatoes and peppers were the best performers, so that is all I am growing this year (beside flowers). So excited that they growing season has begun!

    • samazi profile image

      Masimba Mukichi 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Informative hub, can learn a lot from it.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Thanks for posting this! I do both regular gardening and container for smaller items like herbs.....I like that people can read your article and know that it is possible to still have some home grown produce, despite a lack of space!

    • Angelo52 profile image

      Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Great ideas. Instead of tossing the soil in the landfill consider either composting it or adding to outdoor plants perhaps around bushes. Thumbs up and shared

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I want to try to grow some lettuce and tomatoes on my balcony this summer...I have never tried veggies in containers, just flowers....we'll see how it goes...

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