Container Gardening


Container gardening (also called pot gardening) is just a subset of small space gardening. With this type of gardening you choose a container to grow your plants. While there are some general guidelines for this, your imagination and ingenuity are really the only restrictions.          

When selecting containers the following should be given careful consideration:

  • Choose containers that will accommodate a fully grown and mature plant.
  • Choose containers that will allow for adequate drainage. Depending upon the container, you may need to add holes to the bottom to closed bottom containers.
  • Choose containers that have not previously held any materials that could be poisonous to plants. Five gallon buckets make very useful planting containers, but you should be careful to consider what was in the bucket previously. A bucket used to store chlorine tablets for your swimming pool may not be the best choice for your growing plants unless thorougly washed out.
  • Choose a variety of containers that will fit in the allocate space and will provide a pleasing experience to the eye.

Some small space gardeners prefer to build their own containers from wood products. When building your own containers, use untreated wood since products like creosote that are used to treat wood can be quite toxic to your growing garden.

Smaller size containers (about 2 to 2 gallons) will accommodate vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, mustard, peppers, radishes, green onions, and dwarf tomatoes. Use medium sized containers (about 3 to 10 gallons) for larger crops of those vegetables as well as for plants like eggplant. Large containers (greater than 10 gallons) should be used for cabbage, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes. These latter crops may need to be staked and/or given the opportunity to spread out.

Your garden plants should receive maximum exposure to sunlight and should be protected from harsh weather elements. Consequently, it may be beneficial to move them to a sunnier spot when possible and to move them away from inclement weather conditions. Keep in mind that potted plants can be quite heavy, especially after a recent watering.

When considering container gardening, allow your imagination to run freely. Most any kind of container that will hold soil can be used with no or little modification. Listed below are some commonly used items:

  • Hanging baskets
  • Clay or plastic pots
  • Barrels
  • Trash Cans
  • Milk containers
  • Bushel baskets
  • Old tires
  • Just remember, that whatever kind of container you use, you must allow for adequate drainage. A lack of adequate drainage can be the defining point between a successful or unsuccessful gardening experience.

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