Get Growing… In Containers!


NOW is the time to get your plants in the ground.  If you’re following our series on getting started gardening, you should already have the following information:

1)  How will you plant?  In a container or in the ground or maybe an above ground bed?  (See this vegetable garden raised bed tutorial!)

2)  Where is the best place to plant your garden?  What part of your yard gets at least 6 hours of full sun?

3)  What do you want to plant?  What are your favorite veggies?  What does your family eat most?

Starting your garden isn’t rocket science, but you do need to know a few things.  Since everyone has different needs and plans, we’re going to break it up into Container Gardens, In Ground Beds, and Above Ground Beds.  We will break these into 3 different posts to make it easier to follow.


Having a container garden requires nothing more than 4 things:

1)  A container for planting.  For veggies, I like to use something at least 15″ or more to give lots of space.

If you want to grow herbs, a smaller container around 8″ is great.

  • Squash is a vining plant.  It likes lots of space.
  • Tomatoes are bushy types of plants and they, too can use lots of space.
  • Green beans are a vine, and like to climb a trellis of some type.  In a 15″ pot, you will be able to have quite a few plants since theses plants can be placed close together (every 2 inches), just make sure there is something for them to climb like fencing around the pot, or a handmade trellis with some height.  you can even set the container on a deck in a corner and allow the green beans to climb along the decking.

2)  Good potting soil.  If you choose to use a 15″ pot, you will need at least .75 cubic feet, maybe a tiny bit more.

3)  Access to water on a regular basis.  (A water hose will make watering much easier).

4)  Your favorite plant.  Check out perfect patio garden plants here for a nice big list of good options!

How To:

1)  Fill your container with potting soil (which you can get from any    home improvement store or mass retailer).

2)  I find it helpful to add water to the dirt about halfway through until the dirt is damp and then mix it well.

3)  Finish filling the container to within about 2 inches of the rim of the  container.

4)  Water again and mix.

5)  With a hand shovel, dig out your dirt deep enough so that when you place your plant into the container the root ball of your plant is covered well.  Tomatoes should be planted deeper than other plants and we’ll get to that.

6)  Remove your plant from it’s container and check to see if there are a lot of roots matted together.  If so, take a pair of scissors or sharp knife and gently cut down the side about 1/4 inch deep into the side.

Cut from top to bottom in 4 places around the plant.  You can also just break the bottom up a little by pulling it apart but don’t go up too far into the plant if you’re doing this, just loosen it around the bottom.

7)  Once your plant is secure in your container, give just a little more water  to secure it further.

8)  Watch your plant on a daily basis and water regularly.  In the heat of summer, a great deal of water is lost and in a container garden, a plant does not have the luxury of stretching its roots deeper to find a water source.  YOU are the water source, so keep your plants watered to keep them healthy and productive!

**About planting tomato plants in a container:

Tomato plants are unique in that they produce “suckers” or “small branches” that are not productive.  The goal is to give your tomato plant the best start by removing these little suckers off of the main stem and plant the tomato plant deeply so that the dirt comes all the way up to the lowest leaf.  This will help the plant to establish it’s roots and have a good start by removing anything that saps it’s energy from growing strong.

We are definitely not the know it alls about gardening!  There’s so much information out there!  We love hearing from you and any suggestions you have or tips you’ve learned about gardening!  Please let us know so we can share them with everyone else!

In addition, we want to encourage you to read, read, read about gardening!  We really like Mother Earth News because they view gardening from an organic perspective and have so much great information.



  1. Katie says

    Mother Earth News is on sale right now if you buy with a VISA. $10 FOR 6 ISSUES. This magazine is $5 each issue at the checkout stand.

    It is a great deal!

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