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How to Start a Container Garden

Updated on April 17, 2011

start a container garden

If lack of space or time is keeping you from gardening think about growing your vegetables herbs and flowers in containers. Are you looking to expand your garden but running out of room I the yard, what about a few containers on the deck, stairs or a window box or two?

 Container gardening is easy enough to do because just about anything you want to grow can be grown in a container. It is important to match the size of the plant to the size of the container, so if you want to grow cherry tomatoes, for example, a five gallon pail is a good size.

Most tomato plants, green peppers, bush beans, eggplant and peas can do well in a five gallon pail. If the plant of your choice needs support as it matures, you can add a trellis or other forms of support. I have often used bamboo poles either in a tripod or by themselves to keep the plants erect.

How to Start a Container Garden:

1-     Select the pot where you will place your containers; vegetables do best if they get six hours of sunlight per day.

2-     Determine how much time you have to tend your garden. Once your garden is set up, it will require regular maintenance, watering for example. Containers can dry out faster than the earth does so you will, most likely, need to water more frequently.

3-What do you want to grow? If you are growing food, plant what you know the family likes to eat, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens and bush beans are personal favourites. I also plant basil, chives and parsley. Do not overlook flowers, besides being visually attractive, they can call in the pollinators and beneficial bugs which can help your garden grow.


4-     You can use many different objects for containers as long as they are the proper size and have drainage. This is where you can get creative.

5-     Once you know what you want to grow, you know what size of containers and how many you need.

6-     How big will your garden be depends upon your time and the space available, make a plan before you begin.

7-     Like any garden, soil plays a major role in the container garden, you can mix your own, using compost and organic soil from your garden bed or purchased from a plant centre. You can also buy organic compost if you are not making your own.

8-     Now bring it all together. Place the containers where you want them to be, add the soil, water a bit, plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed pack or put in the seedlings, add a bit more water and you now have a container garden.

Container gardening is a great way to expand your existing garden or to start a new garden when time or space is limited. If you follow the eight steps above you are on your way to a good growing experience. Take pride in your garden and spend time seeing how it is growing, but most important, enjoy.

2 container gardens



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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks I have done quite well with tomatoes, will be growing them again in containers this year, happy growing.

  • FeliciaM profile image

    FeliciaM 6 years ago from Canada

    Thanks for the useful tips on container gardens. I have done some in the past but want to try again this summer. Never have had much luck with getting great tomatoes on the deck though. It seems they grow better in the ground.

    Thanks again!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, thanks for the comment.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

    Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

    A great help to us. Thank you very much

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    True, a container garden can be portable, only a few containers are necessary to grow your own salad, for example. Happy growing.

  • profile image

    yelcome 7 years ago

    i will have to try this

  • jennysbus profile image

    Jenny 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    I loved this. I'd love to grow tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. having fresh salad available would be great.

    thanks for the idea. I think that putting the vegies in containers is great for people that rent as they can take them with them when they move.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have been container gardening for almost 20 years now, and look forward to each season because it is always different.

  • bbqsmokersite profile image

    bbqsmokersite 7 years ago from Winter Haven, Florida

    Container gardens are great, especially for folks with limited land. A buddy of mine just started up a few 5 gallon buckets with some peppers and tomatoes.