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Container Vegetable Gardening

Updated on April 12, 2017

Growing Vegetables In Containers, It's Easier Than You May Think

If you have been longing for a vegetable garden but just don't have the space or want to go to the trouble of tending a whole garden, you may want to consider Container Vegetable Gardening.

Growing vegetables in containers makes gardening much more manageable and you can grow a surprising amount in much smaller spaces.

As long as you have a space that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day, you can most likely start planting and reaping your veggie rewards quicker than you thought!

I will share some tips and ideas to help get you started growing your own vegetables in containers as you follow along with this article.

Image courtesy of Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

Container Gardening In The City

Container Gardening In The City
Container Gardening In The City

Choosing A Prime Location

Where To Place Your Vegetable Containers

Image above courtesy of Maggie Hoffman

Your vegetable garden containers will of course need plenty of sunshine for them to grow properly.

Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. Some vegetables do well in partial sunlight, but the usual rule of thumb is the more sunshine the better.

Any sunny location is a prime spot as long as it is close enough for you to water your containers at least once a day.

Unless you have self-watering containers or make use of soaker hoses you will need to locate your containers close to water sources. Otherwise, be sure to water your growing veggies well if you want them to thrive.

Consider sunny locations on a porch, balcony, deck, a windowsill, patio or along a sidewalk as some gardening location options.

Cabbage Growing On A Balcony

Cabbage Growing On A Balcony
Cabbage Growing On A Balcony

Container Vegetable Gardening On The Balcony - Container Gardening Tutorial Video

Image above courtesy of Hair Squared


In the following video, I like the container that 'briandudeathome' is using to grow his vegetables. Pay attention to what he says about using a clear type container. You could of course use an opaque container instead. Check out his watering system as well. It looks simple and very effective. He also has updates to how his balcony gardening venture develops in some of the other videos he posted.


Books For Container Vegetable Gardening - How-To Steps for Getting Started

Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces
Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces

This Kindle book edition lists several easy steps to help you get started written by an avid container gardener.

 
McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers
McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers

Written by two seasoned container gardeners, this book will give you plant-by-plant instructions for growing many vegetables and herbs in containers.

 
Container Gardening: 250 Design Ideas & Step-by-Step Techniques
Container Gardening: 250 Design Ideas & Step-by-Step Techniques

From the pages of 'Fine Gardening' magazine, more how-to tips and techniques for container gardening whether your space is big or small.

 

Rescue, Recycle And Reuse

Rescue, Recycle And Reuse
Rescue, Recycle And Reuse
Container Vegetable Plants
Container Vegetable Plants

Containers For Your Vegetable Container Garden

Which Containers Are Best?

Image above courtesy of kwbridge

Usually when starting a container vegetable garden you will need to think about using larger and deeper containers. The bigger the container the better your vegetables will grow in most cases. Keep in mind that you need to allow lots of room for their roots to spread out as they grow and mature.

Make sure your container will withstand being wet and will not rust. If using metal containers, galvanized metal will hold up better and longer.

Of course, you can also use wood or plastic containers. Most gardening centers and online stores have containers of all depths and sizes for your container gardening needs. If planting vegetables, make sure your containers are food safe. Any wood, plastic, or metal needs to be safe for your vegetables. Use wood that is untreated, plastic that is food grade, and non-corrosive metals when at all possible for growing food.

Take care when using containers that are dark in color as they will absorb more heat and could potentially damage the tender roots of your vegetables.

Recycle and reuse whenever possible and safe for the plants you are growing. Newspapers and most cardboard can be used to make seed starters in and then transferred to the ground once the plant is established.

Ceramic, glass, or terracotta containers are all fine to use as long as you have the proper drainage. Many people use galvanized wash tubs to plant their vegetables in as the tub accommodates several plants and it allows room for larger plants.

Make sure your container has plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.

You can also use large plastic storage tote containers for your garden. I've seen photos of people using just about anything they can find around their home place to grow their vegetables in.

If you are using smaller containers such as flowering pots, make sure there is enough room for the roots of your plant to spread and grow. If the plant is a permanent plant then you need to allow for a few years of root growth in the bottom of your container.

Image upper right courtesy of briannaorg

A DIY Video for Creating Your Own Gardening Containers

This man demonstrates how to create your own Earth Box for container gardening. Get creative when considering your containers and keep in mind to use food safe containers if you are planting food.


Making Your Own Earth Box for Container Gardening

Vegetable Plants
Vegetable Plants

Who Can Benefit From Container Vegetable Gardening?

Anyone that likes to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers will benefit and probably enjoy the versatility that comes from container gardening.

I can't tell you how thrilling it is to plant something and then to watch it peek it's tiny little head through the soil. The whole process is fascinating to me.

Other users might include -

Anyone that cooks with herbs or vegetables.

People that live in apartments or small living spaces.

Those with small yards.

Children that need summer hobbies.

Classes at school that want to teach appreciation for gardening or to help supply fresh food to the cafeteria.

Anyone that loves to watch things grow!

Image courtesy of missyredboots

My Container Garden, Vegetables and Herbs Happily Growing in Containers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Italian Flat Leaf ParsleySpinach really loved growing in this container! It grew at least 3 ft. tall and very quickly.Different Lettuces. My lettuce grew very well in containers. Will definitely be growing more.Another variety of lettuce.Several containers of different vegetables.My carrots grew very well in a container!Loved the lettuce!Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Spinach really loved growing in this container! It grew at least 3 ft. tall and very quickly.
Spinach really loved growing in this container! It grew at least 3 ft. tall and very quickly.
Different Lettuces. My lettuce grew very well in containers. Will definitely be growing more.
Different Lettuces. My lettuce grew very well in containers. Will definitely be growing more.
Another variety of lettuce.
Another variety of lettuce.
Several containers of different vegetables.
Several containers of different vegetables.
My carrots grew very well in a container!
My carrots grew very well in a container!
Loved the lettuce!
Loved the lettuce!
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

What Are Your Thoughts?

Have You Ever Tried Container Gardening?

See results

Container Gardening Vegetables for Beginners

Tiny Container Vegetable Garden Inspiration

A tiny NYC patio container vegetable garden.
A tiny NYC patio container vegetable garden. | Source

Some Containers for Your Container Vegetable Gardening - Galvanized Tubs

These containers are just a few options for your container vegetable gardening projects if you are placing them outside.

Click on any image for more options if you don't see what you need!


Galvanized oval planters s.3
Galvanized oval planters s.3

Three oval planter sizes to choose from.

 
Susquehanna SP17871 20-Inch Large Outdoor Square Planter, Cedar
Susquehanna SP17871 20-Inch Large Outdoor Square Planter, Cedar

A nice cedar wood planter that should be large enough to plant several vegetables in. Cedar should last quite a while in the outdoors.

 

Whimsical Garden Art

Whimsical Garden Art
Whimsical Garden Art

Image Courtesy of johninportland

More Gardening Articles by Me

Feel free to check out these other gardening and vegetable articles by me, Itaya Lightbourne.

Fairy Houses and Plants in Your Fairy Garden
Lately my thoughts are turning to springtime and I am feeling the pull to create a Fairy Garden. In my research, I discovered some adorable and lovely photos...

There's A Peacock In My Garden!
It's spring here in the Pacific NW, USA and time to plant our gardens and decorate them with garden statues and garden ornaments. My wonderful son and daugh...

Vegetable Smoothie Recipes
Have you been thinking about adding more vegetables to your diet and even considered trying vegetable smoothie recipes but weren't sure if you would like the...

Lasagna Gardening Method - The Easy Way To Garden
If you are searching for an easier way to garden this year then you may want to consider the Lasagna Gardening Method. This gardening method was designed to...

Worm Farm Composting - Making Organic Compost
Have you ever wondered how to do worm farm composting? It can be a very rewarding and organic way to add vital nutrients to your garden and houseplants plus ...

I would love to hear your thoughts about container vegetable gardening or gardening in general! :)

Do You Think You Will Try Container Vegetable Gardening?

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    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a very cool idea for those with limited space - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      It is nice to know you still have options if space is limited...and your post did finally show up on the RocketSquids page. I tried to reply to you there to let you know, but even my replies are posting.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @gatornic15: Thank you gatornic15! Glad my post finally showed up. :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My best containers for gardening in the past have been whiskey barrel halves. (Are they really whiskey barrels? Not sure, but that's what they're called.) I've also grown lettuce in window boxes and even tomatoes in a big plastic pot which worked fine until the deer and/or squirrels found it. I really, really need to get some new containers and get to planting some vegetables soon! Love your ideas, tips, and resources!

    • SmBizGuru LM profile image

      SmBizGuru LM 5 years ago

      I really like this lens. I have a lens on Fence Gardening and Vertical Wall Gardens. Lots of interesting containers can take the garden up off the ground in decorative ways.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Wonderful ideas! I do enjoy container gardening.

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 5 years ago

      A wonderful, informative lens with easy to follow and do tips and resources:)

    • jenniferteacher1 profile image

      jenniferteacher1 5 years ago

      Great lens! I just planted a container garden on my balcony. I'm so excited about having fresh vegetables this summer!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great idea. I love your articles. I would never of thought of growing vegies in a small space, generally you think that they room a lot of room

    • Dimplefree profile image

      Dimplefree 5 years ago

      Definitely going to try it, I've been thinking about it for a while. Time to do it.

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      This is such a great idea. I'm going to try this and put some in my balcony!!

    • ian parker profile image

      ian parker 5 years ago from rye

      perfect as im renting

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      This looks like something I'd like to try. I love your tips, especially the one about using food safe container materials if growing vegetables.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Wish I had better lighting. Cool Lens!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a great lens on container gardening, and packed with useful tips. I grow many different plants in containers, from flowering annuals and vegetables to fig trees. I really like the flexibility of moving containers to different areas, both for visual impact and to match the plant to the conditions in my yard.

    • caffimages profile image

      caffimages 4 years ago

      Plenty of ideas here! I'll pass them on to my son who only has a tiny space. Thanks.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Today is a day of sharing....your wonderful lens just got pinned!

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 4 years ago from Gloucester

      Beautiful lens, and so helpful! I'm going to add it to my How to Get Kids to Eat Veggies lens - as a guide for parents who'd like to encourage their children to grow veg but don't have a garden. I'm not a gardener myself, so it's really great to be able to offer a resource from someone who knows what they're talking about ;) Blessed by a Squid Angel. :)

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 4 years ago from Central Florida

      This is great! I just started growing peppers and carrots in containers with my preschooler for fun, learning and to enjoy the vegetables. I appreciate the tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Our soil is horrid here and so container gardening is the way I do it. It works really well. Picked up some good tips and ideas from your lens!

    • gypsykitschpres profile image

      gypsykitschpres 4 years ago

      This came at just the perfect time for me as we are downsizing to a much smaller place and I love to grow vegetables. Container gardening is the perfect solution and one that I hadn't thought of. Super lens. Thank you

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens. Blessed!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 4 years ago

      This is great, I learned a ton here!

    • profile image

      mywyomingadventure 4 years ago

      My yard is plenty big enough, but we rent where we live. I want to use containers so I can take them with me easily. Thanks for the great information.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I'll be doing some container gardening this year for sure. I have a balcony but it faces south and is wretchedly hot. A lot of things will not grow.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I do have a container garden but I stick mainly to vegetable the squirrels will not bother.

    • profile image

      EnjoyLens 4 years ago

      Nicely done, thumbs up!

    • BusinessSarah profile image

      BusinessSarah 4 years ago

      All of these containers are such great ideas -- I would love to start an indoor vegetable garden!

    • profile image

      maggie_anne 4 years ago

      Great gardening ideas!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 4 years ago

      oh yes would love to do that! This is a wonderful lens. Thank you for sharing your tips

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 4 years ago

      Great info. Thanks! I love to grow food and ornamental plants in containers.

    • peggygallyot profile image

      peggygallyot 4 years ago

      I am growing things in containers.

    • profile image

      AliciaMae 4 years ago

      This is my first year trying a container garden - the land here is too rocky to plant on and I didn't want to build up a raised bed until I could verify the sunlight, watering, etc. So far the squashes and cabbages are growing magnificently. I was afraid the containers may be too small but they're the same ones I see here :)

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @AliciaMae: I would love to hear how your squash and cabbage turn out in your containers! :)

    • Dickstucki1 profile image

      Dickstucki1 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens and the selection of videos. Thanks for the information.

    • createpink profile image

      createpink 4 years ago

      yes! LOVE all the container examples!

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 4 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Feel free to DELETE this comment. Thank you for your insight! I love Squidoo but I get comments but I didn't know how I was doing. I'm looking forward to writing more!

    • profile image

      msseiboi 4 years ago

      great lens

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi love container gardening, it's a great way to garden.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I love container vegetable gardening! I currently am growing tomatoes and peppers in containers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Container gardening so interesting can't wait to have me a house with a back garden to put loads of my own veg. I do windowsill veg thought :) AWESOME lens

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 4 years ago from East Central Florida

      You know, I just might try this. I have plenty of room to plant a vegetable garden in the ground, but with my not so great gardening skills, I am thinking they might fare better in containers. Thanks for the idea!

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 4 years ago

      I love the garden art! Thanks for sharing these tips.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      Thanks for your tips about container vegetable gardening I think it will really help me.

    • VictoriaKelley profile image

      VictoriaKelley 4 years ago

      I tried container gardening this past summer. I had great success with it. I will keep growing this way as well as doing my aquaponics. Nice post!

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      I always have some kind of productive container garden, even indoors in winter (only herbs at the moment). In the warmer months, tomatoes, salads, peas, beans and a wider variety of herbs are always present, but next year I may try a few different ideas - beets, radishes and carrots perhaps.

    • zentao profile image

      zentao 4 years ago

      Some very nice flower pot stuff here! I love the photo of the "flower pot man"... so cute

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Can't wait until we can get out there and garden garden garden

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 4 years ago from US/TN

      Interesting! I didn't realize you could grow veggies in containers. I might try this someday.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      This is a timely reminder. We need to start container gardening this year. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 4 years ago

      Great Ideas for Limited Space Gardening "Container Vegetable Gardening"

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      I'm gathering as much info as I can since I've never done very much gardening before and don't have a lot of confidence so don't want to get it all wrong. I'm starting slowly, experimentally. We did tomatoes last year and they were a huge success so I'm expanding a bit further this year. We have two big obstacles- lack of space and lack of sunlight! I'm thinking to go high but haven't completely worked out the logistics just yet!!! This lens is very helpful!!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @ismeedee: The great thing about container vegetable gardening is that the containers are easier to move to the sunlight! Keep experimenting and expanding and have fun eating your homegrown veggies. :)

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      I am growing my plants in containers, but every new idea and information I get help me to grow a better garden. Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

    • Marja79 profile image

      Marja79 4 years ago

      I have tried and been successful until reindeer have ruined my little vegetable garden. I move the containers so vegetables will get all the sun possible and sometimes reindeer spot my vegetables before I get to rescue them. I like your lens , it is very informative and shows us all how easy it to have a garden even without a yard!

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Very informative lens. I'm inspired to get out into my garden and do something! :-)

    • katarinakat profile image

      katarinakat 4 years ago

      I will try some of these techniques.

    • profile image

      Im2keys 3 years ago

      great info, I don't have a lot of outdoor space and use containers for growing our veggies too. i have yet to try potatoes though!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I love this. I love to grow celery from the base...I have fresh celery always growing.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @anonymous: Thank you Karin! Because of one of your articles, I now have celery growing in containers in my kitchen from the base of their stalks! Like I said before, you do inspire me. :)

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      Every year I try to do a container garden on my open deck, but the tall pines block a lot of sunlight so I have them on a movable cart. this year, however, we had so much rain for weeks, that some of them got white mold spots on the leaves and one root rotted and I just haven't succeeded yet. Maybe next year, I'll figure something else out.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      I love to grow veggies on my small balcony, learning about it, right now I grow potatoes, strawberries and a lot of different herbs like Basel and Parsley. I want to grow much more. Great and inspirational Lens with good information, thank you!

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 3 years ago from Maryland, USA

      I am just beginning with container gardening. And my tomatoes are doing great. Thank you for this helpful lens.

    • OrganicHealthAn profile image

      OrganicHealthAn 3 years ago

      I love the satisfaction that I get from growing my own vegetables and knowing also that what I am eating is as healthy and tasty and fresh as it is possible to get. It is really amazing how easy this is to do even if you have limited space and time, if you get the right advice and get set up properly there really is no reason you can't do this

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      I'm going to do container gardening this year. I have a large deck and an old back so this is a terrific referance!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @Donna Cook: I hope you do and enjoy it as much as I do!! Have fun. :)

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      Another lens full of great information. Thank you for this.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @GrammieOlivia: You bet grammieo! Thank you for your kind words. :)

    • JohnKeys LM profile image

      JohnKeys LM 3 years ago

      I love to garden as well and always looking for more ideas. I especially liked the info on growing potatoes in the containers. Haven't tried that way yet but plan to do so now. Is that you filming it?

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image
      Author

      Itaya Lightbourne 3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      @JohnKeys LM: No, sorry JohnKeys. I can't take credit for that idea or the film. :) I did buy some plastic containers to garden in but haven't done so yet. Looks like a great idea to me. :)

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 2 years ago

      Great lens. I have long wanted to have a garden but there's no space in which to plant. Thanks for the tips.

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