Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know

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You love to garden, but at the current stage of your life, you have the misfortune of living on the 24th floor of an apartment building in a noisy city. Grrr! Or maybe you’re limited with an extremely tiny backyard that’s keeping you from the garden of your dreams? Container gardens: everything you need to know! With all the emphasis on higher density living, I thought I’d better update this post so those needing to live in something other than a home on a reasonable-sized property can still learn to garden.

There might even be a few of you who have a big backyard, but the inconvenience of living in an area where the soil conditions are just flat-out terrible for growing vegetables and flowers. Thankfully, even with all of these challenging circumstances you still have the option of container gardens to help you get through these setbacks. This is where I buy my seeds: SeedsNow  

Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know

Container Gardens: Everything You Need to Know

Tomatoes in containers

Even if you happen to have a big yard and the right conditions, a container garden is still a great option to consider expanding your garden’s capacity. Container gardens are also great for those who are just starting out and want to see on a smaller scale how gardens work and what it takes to be successful. Here’s more on container gardens and everything you need to know. 

Saves Water

You’ll notice a big difference with how much less water you will use with a container garden versus an ordinary garden. That’s another way of keeping things green around your home.  

Fewer Pests to Deal With

Pests can take a lot of fun out of gardening with the havoc and ongoing nuisance-they can create. Plants that are kept in container gardens have far fewer pests to worry about, meaning that your plants should remain healthier during the full growing season.  

Plenty of Sunlight 

With container gardens, depending on the size you use, you can move them around your yard to get all the sunlight that they need as the growing season progresses. The result is that they can get more sunlight than plants that are stuck in one location that might be subject to unwanted shade like you’d experience with a tall fence. 

Ideal Growing Conditions

Container gardens are really the perfect growing environment for your plants. That’s due to all of the above-mentioned issues, which in turn, gives you healthier plants than if you were to try planting them in the ground. 

Things to Consider

Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know

The Right Size Container 

When it comes to choosing the right container size, bigger is usually better, particularly from a depth standpoint. That’s because the roots need plenty of room to stretch underneath the soil to obtain moisture. You’ll also be able to plant more plants in them and not have to water them as often due to the smaller space.  

Read More of My Articles  10 Great Reasons To Try Raised Bed Gardening

Container Drainage

If your container doesn’t come with drainage holes in the bottom you’ll need to drill a few for proper drainage. Be sure to set some mesh or a coffee filter at the bottom of the container so dirt doesn’t escape, but the water can.  

The Right Spot 

We’ve already mentioned that one of the benefits of having a container garden is that you can move them around the yard as you need to. But save yourself some time and energy before you place them by paying close attention to your yard throughout the day and seeing where the sun shines the most consistently.  

Choosing the Right Containers 

Ceramic

Containers made of glass-ceramic certainly look classy but are generally much more expensive. They also come in pretty snazzy colors and patterns. Just be prepared for them to be a whole lot heavier than dealing with plastic, and possibly wood. 

Plastic

Using plastic is not only lighter and easier to move, but inexpensive compared to the rest. They may crack and fall apart as they age, especially when bumped into, depending on the type of plastic.   

Wood

Lots of gardeners prefer wood because it provides a nice touch, but the downfall is that they become hard to move after sitting over a long period of time and may become more fragile. They can get weathered with the sun and water exposure, so plan on some repairs or replacement needs over time.

Metal

Metal is also seen as a classy method for holding your plants. Just remember that metal conducts a lot of heat, so you’ll want to line them with plastic or plant the plants closer to the middle of the container so that you have less chance to scorch the roots. 

Terracotta 

Many gardeners use terracotta pots for their container gardens. They tend to be heavy to move and more prone to break. They can also be fairly expensive, especially if you are considering purchasing the larger-sized containers or plan to use a lot of them.  

Window Boxes

Planting flowers or herbs in window boxes looks so lovely hanging beneath a window. Plus it gives you something to look forward to each morning when you look out the window. Depending on the location of the window(s), it may prove to be a challenge to water them.

What to Grow in your Container Garden

You may think that you are limited to what you can grow in a container garden, but there’s actually a lot you can do with one. Check out some of these plants to get you started:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli 
  • Green Beans
  • Peppers
  • Herbs
  • Onions
  • Eggplants 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Smaller Fruit Trees 

Helpful Tips for your Container Gardens 

Water them Everyday

Plants and flowers that are found in container gardens don’t hold moisture as well as ones planted directly into the ground. So you need to be sure to water them consistently, possibly every day. If you’re lucky, the weather may naturally take care of their watering needs for you. 

Use a Trellis for Extra Support

Plants that like to spread out or become weighed down with produce, need that little extra support. Make sure that you pick up a trellis when you are planting tomatoes or other fruits and vegetables in your container gardens, particularly those that gain some height as they grow.

At the least, place some stakes around the plants. You can use some garden tape with the stakes that then provides not only the support that your plants need but also help them to be healthier and more productive as you separate the plants from each other. 

Read More of My Articles  Dos and Don’ts for Gardening Your First Year

Don’t Pack Down the Soil

When you go to lay soil around the plant stem, make sure that you aren’t packing down the soil too much. Your plant won’t have the proper drainage by doing so. 

Lay Mulch 

Another thing to consider doing is to lay mulch or compost just like you would around your flower beds that are planted in the ground. Mulch helps plants to retain moisture more easily, and it looks nice too. Just make sure that you leave about an inch of space around the stem.  

Add Fertilizer to Feed Your Plants as Needed 

Your plants in the container gardens need not only water to flourish, but also nutrients to absorb. Before you even plant them in their containers, make sure there is fertilizer to get them started. Pay close attention to your plants and keep up with the fertilizer as needed, about once every other week. 

Keep them Looking Attractive 

Container gardens are naturally a focal point in your backyard, deck, patio, or window box, so it’s important that you keep them looking good. Keep up with the pruning and deadhead any flowers that become spent. If certain plants are not growing well, go ahead and dig them out and replace them with something else, or allow the other plants in the container to fill in. 

Matt’s DIY Gardens

I’m so grateful for friends like Matt who will share pictures of their homemade garden beds. The more we help each other the more food we can grow ourselves. These are blue barrels cut in half length-wise. From Matt, the white deal is an IBC tote cage I cut in half. The container wasn’t any good so I repurposed the cage. IBC stands for Intermediate Bulk Container.

Look around your yard or at garage sales for items you can make a container garden with.

Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! You can make a garden by recycling items.

Barrel Gardens

Please Check Out What To Plant Each Month:

Garden Gloves

These are my favorite garden gloves: DIGZ Garden Gloves They come in different sizes, that’s what I love the most. These are the best rose bush gloves: DIGZ Rose Bush Garden Gloves I have to get the large size for my hands. These are awesome!

You want to protect your hands from damage that can be caused by wood or metal slivers. Those with fancy fingernails also want to keep them looking nice.

Final Word

Hopefully, now you feel more comfortable about container gardening and how you can experience your own success. Now that spring is getting close, what do you plan on planting in your container gardens this year?  We really need to grow as much of our own food as possible now more than ever before. Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Plants in Pots AdobeStock_289231170 by Vaivirga, Plants In Containers AdobeStock_219432220 by Tottoto, Container Gardening AdobeStock_278515411 by Christine

24 thoughts on “Container Gardens: Everything You Need To Know

  • March 31, 2020 at 7:35 am
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    I love planting my cherry tomatoes in big flower pots and have them on my back deck.
    It helps out so much. Nothing like looking out of my window and seeing all them little red things.
    I have a regular garden too but having them in flower pots just help out. NO MUD.

    Reply
    • March 31, 2020 at 9:40 am
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      Hi June, oh the mud, LOL! We have red clay soil, I totally get it! I bet those little red gems bring a smile all day long! Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • March 31, 2020 at 8:09 am
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    I talked to someone who told me the stores were out of tomato seeds of any kind. I wondered what someone would do in that situation. So I looked on youtube and found that you can take the seeds from a fresh tomato and directly plant them. One tuber sliced the tomato as if she were putting them on a sandwich with the seeds on and covering the slices with dirt in a container. We have tomato seeds, but I think it would be a fun family activity during the virus to slice a few and see what comes up! We usually had volunteers come up in the garden, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. We get so used to packaged seeds or pre-started plants. Our pioneer forefathers and foremothers saved seed. Saw also online how to get cucumber, watermelon and other seeds to plant from fresh veggies….from trash! Also you can grow celery by sprouting out the stalk of one from the store. Romaine lettuce will yield additional leaves in just days by putting the used stalk in water. Green onions will keep growing the green in a glass of water if you have enough bulb left. I had no idea. Now we have some fun projects to see if we can get some additional ways to stretch our fresh food!

    Reply
    • March 31, 2020 at 9:43 am
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      HI Debbie, I love love love your comment! You may want to see if organic vegetables do better when saving seeds. The GMO ones are designed to force us to buy new seeds EVERY year. Just a thought. I admire your project, we will find a way to produce more food on our own. Stay well, Linda

      Reply
  • March 31, 2020 at 9:54 am
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    WOW! Another really informative… ‘Everything You Need To Know’ article.
    I know we’ve told you before how great and helpful these articles are but we needed to say it again!!
    Stay safe Linda. We need you!
    Jake & Sylvia

    Reply
    • March 31, 2020 at 11:26 am
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      Hi Jake and Sylvia, I have several articles coming. You made my day! I know God intended for me to teach the world, so I’m doing my very best to help others. It’s people like you who keep me going. Stay well, Linda

      Reply
  • March 31, 2020 at 10:12 am
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    Linda ~
    Finally a semi-sunny day today so I am going to get out and get my containers planted! Thanks for this post – always inspiring.

    Reply
    • March 31, 2020 at 11:26 am
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      Hi Leanne, I’m planting outside as well! Yay, for warmer weather and REAL sunshine! Linda

      Reply
  • March 31, 2020 at 12:23 pm
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    Hi Linda,
    I think I told you in an earlier post that we are renting and therefore, I;’m having to do my gardening in containers. I built myself two 4’x4’x12″ raised beds and two 2’x6’x12″ raised beds. In addition, I have about 15-20 gallon, 5-30 gallon and 5-10 gallon grow bags. My hubby has collected about 10 – 5 gallon buckets. The most expensive items to have to buy is the “dirt” to grow my veggies in.
    I’ve been gardening since I was a child and used to help my mother in the garden every year. I guess that’s where I got my love of gardening from. I don’t think I could survive, both literally and psychologically, if I couldn’t garden. It’s good for the soul.
    I’m going to use my 30 gallon grow bags for both regular and sweet potatoes.
    My 20 gallon bags for tomatoes and also to plant the “three sisters” (corn, pole beans, squash). and cucumbers.
    The raised beds will be used for radishes, onions, lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, spinach and anything else that will fit.
    The weather here is supposed to be in the low to mid 70’s, so you know where I’ll be.
    Take care and stay safe

    Reply
    • March 31, 2020 at 6:27 pm
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      Hi Suzanne, I hear you on the dirt/soil, it’s expensive! I love to garden, I totally agree with you it’s good for the soul! It’s beautiful outside and then we can dig in the dirt and watch for sprouts! Life is so good! Linda

      Reply
      • February 11, 2022 at 7:19 am
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        Made my blue barrels cut in half last year. Fixing to start seedlings this year and plant again. I’ll be doing container at the house and a family share full garden at nieces. Be a busy year

        Reply
        • February 11, 2022 at 8:37 am
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          Hi Matt, it feels good to have so many options for gardening! Send me those 1/2 barrel pictures again when you have a minute. I will put them in the post. Thank you!!!!! Linda

          Reply
  • February 11, 2022 at 10:32 am
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    Linda,

    I tend towards plastic pots for container gardening as they don’t dry out as fast as the terra cotta ones. Here in the desert the hardest part of container gardening is keeping them properly watered. Thus, the mulch being a great idea.

    One of the easiest things to grow in containers is Bok Choi (or Pak Choi or Joy Choi or Toy Choi). The Bok Choi I planted last fall produced many tasty leaves for salad and stir fry dishes, then it bolted and flowered. It’s still flowering but is also filling seed pods. By the end of this month I’ll pop open those pods and start a new crop with fresh seed. Or, if I get lazy the pods will dry out then split open all by themselves. I’ve enjoyed a succession of bok choi crops from a single plant I put in three years ago.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2022 at 2:43 pm
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      Hi Ray, oh you are so right about the Terra Cotta pots in the desert or any pot for that matter. They do dry out fast, luckily I set up a drip system for mine. I love Bok Choi, Isn’t it wonderful that they bolted and you will have seeds for another year! LOVE IT! Linda

      Reply
  • February 11, 2022 at 1:58 pm
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    Oh! I love container gardening. I have mint plants and lemon balm. I have holes on the sides to release ‘flooding’ from rainfalls, and I keep a soda pop bottle with holes in the cap, to ‘drip’ water into the container. I only need to refill the bottle. I transplanted some mint for more harvest, and they were looking a tad limpy. I added a banana and wow! a week later they were practically overflowing in growth, height and lively. Wonderful experience for my first garden. Btw, this is a fantastic! article.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2022 at 2:45 pm
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      Hi Gin, oh thank you for your kind words!! I love mint, I have never grown lemon balm I need to try that. I like your idea of the soda pop idea used as a drip system, that is awesome!! The banana trick is super! Linda

      Reply
  • February 11, 2022 at 3:52 pm
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    Hi Linda:

    Thanks for the information as a aside have you ever grown Lemon mint? I have grown it and chocolate mint and they are both fantastic. You might want to go to your Lowe’s hardware and look for some. I planted Mint and sage last year in some planters I have on the front and side of the house. This year I am going to get more adventurous with my mint and maybe some other spices. Maybe I will find some that will keep the bugs away around the house and if they are not around the house they won’t come into the house. I know wishful thinking but it will keep me busy if I can keep our neighbors cows from eating what I plant.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2022 at 4:54 pm
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      Hi Jackie, oh my gosh, the cows eat what you plant??? I will check out Lowe’s, thank you!! Linda

      Reply
  • February 12, 2022 at 5:53 am
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    Thank you for posting. I have downsized into a townhouse with my own paved courtyard in front, so I am limited to container gardening.

    I am growing tomatoes, leafy greens, peas, and herbs, but I really want to branch out before my growing season ends!

    Reply
    • February 12, 2022 at 6:36 am
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      Hi Lizzy, you are so welcome. I can almost visualize your paved courtyard out front!! How fun to grow the food we need and watch it grow daily! You may want to look at an AeroGarden, a reader recommended them to me, and now I have three. I can grow lettuce year-round in my house in a very small area. Plus, you can use your own seeds as well. Yes, they are a bit pricey but watch for the sales. I recommend the 9 pod Bounty. I wrote a post about them. Me\y entire family is not investing in them to use in their homes as well. LInda. https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/growing-fresh-lettuce-indoors/

      Reply
  • February 12, 2022 at 8:58 am
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    Thank you. I will consider it! It would be nice to have fresh greens all summer! (I live in south Florida)

    Reply

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