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Gardening With Containers - Everything You Need To Know | Enhanced Garden&Life

Updated: Nov 22, 2021



Isn't it challenging to try to decide which container is best for plants and at the same time look terrific in your yard or house? Mostly this is up to the individual for the decorating you may want to do. All you need to do is make sure you have enough soil volume for that specific plant. I'll add a short guide for some pot sizes for some vegetables. Except for carrots and other root vegetables, the container's depth is not essential as long as you have the right soil volume. Your container can be shallow as long as the volume is correct. With root vegetables, you will need the soil to have more depth.

This is a wonderful book to get you started with your container garden. It is loaded with information including soil mixes.


Large Containers for Gardening Vegetables

This 3-gallon grow bag is big enough to raise the larger vegetables or if you would like to produce several smaller vegetables together in the same pot. The fabric pots allow more airflow to keep the roots healthy. I was surprised at how strong the handles are. I picked up a bag full of damp soil, and the handles had no tears where they connect to the bag. Surprisingly strong. I don't know how the color will work in your yard, but they are not very attractive. Reusable for several years!


These are 5-gallon grow bags that are large enough for all vegetables, and they have excellent aeration and drainage. The fabric is very durable and reusable for several years! I don't particularly appreciate that the side folds over on top of the soil. That gets a little annoying. Other than that, these bags are great! They are not attractive in the landscape as well.


These pots are durable in hot and cold climates. There are big drainage holes, so your plants' roots don't rot. The color is good, in my opinion, but I'm sure it's not suitable for a beautiful landscape, but they are good, substantial pots with good drainage. The saucers are also made well, strong, and durable. Available in different sizes.


5-gallon buckets are an excellent choice for your container garden, as long as you are sure they are food grade like the buckets that I have listed here. The chemicals and dyes are different for nonfood-grade buckets, so I would advise only to use food-grade. These 5-gallon pails are solid and durable, with a handle for easy relocation. You can modify these pails the way you would like.

The downside is that it will be necessary to add drainage holes at the least. If you do not want to do any extra work for starting your garden, do not choose these. You will need a drill to add the drainage holes to these pails' bottom. One other advantage is to have the lid. You can cut a hole in the top and put it around your plants' stem, so you have a soil covering.


Plant dolly

Here are some ideas to easily move your potted plants around

These plant caddies are great for moving plants around inside your home. Be sure the size is correct for the diameter of your pots. This caddy has an internal diameter of 10.6 inches. The wheels have a locking mechanism if you plan to leave your pot sitting on this caddy. They can withstand a weight capacity of 110 pounds.


This dolly can carry pots up to thirty inches in diameter. Easy to assemble but seems to be not very sturdy. It has a weight carrying capacity of 165 pounds, but I don't think I would put that to the test. Also, not all potted plants fit on this dolly. This dolly is a good tool for moving your potted plants outside.


This dolly folds down for easy storage. You will need to get a bungee cord with this one. It is a 150-pound weight capacity. This dolly is not for plants, but it is a better option than the one above. Great for moving your outside potted plants.


How to Start a Container Garden

My first garden was a container garden. It's always been nice to grow a few vegetables in containers. I enjoy making self-watering containers to grow my vegetables. One advantage I have had with growing a container garden is that I have not had bunny or mouse issues. They are high enough off the ground to deter the bunnies and the mice. They are still within reach of the bunnies, but I notice that they don't often try when I have potted vegetables. It's also nice to rearrange your vegetables if you need or want to. I'm sure I'll always have some vegetables growing in pots.

I like to have potted herbs close to my door for a quick and easy grab of freshly grown herbs. Of course, throughout the winter, I need to have something growing, so I have my potted plants growing inside as well. I love being able to have my fresh produce throughout the winter.


First, you may want to read How to Start a Vegetable Garden. Some of the information in there isn't as important because you can move your plants to a better location with containers. Containers are a great way to get started gardening. They allow the opportunity to test if you would like to take your gardening farther, like in-ground or even raised beds. After choosing the container, you will need the right potting mix.

Choosing the pot

Terra cotta


Choosing the right pot is very important. You will need to consider the size, proper drainage, and the right color. I like terra cotta pots. They look nice and have a nice big drainage hole in the bottom. If you get terra cotta, all you need to think about is the size of what you will be planting in that pot. The pots are porous, allowing better airflow and will enable the soil to dry faster, which will keep the roots healthier. Overwatering will be a nonissue with terra cotta pots. They will also look pleasant in your yard in the summer months.


Terra cotta is better used to grow succulents and other plants that prefer dryer soil.

I advise you to bring your terra cotta pots inside before the freezing weather because they will crack. They can be difficult to move if you decide to relocate them.

Plastic Pots


Plastic pots allow you more freedom in choosing the colors you want to add to your yard or home. They are lighter and easier to move. You can water less often because the excess water will not escape through the plastic. Plastic pots will not crack easily like terracotta.


The disadvantage to using a plastic container is that it's easier to overwater your plants. If your area is in a hotter climate, you will want lighter colors so the roots don't overheat in a dark-colored container. Be sure you get one with plenty of drainage holes if you decide on plastic, so your roots don't rot from overwatering.

5-Gallon Bucket


The pot of my choice is the 5-gallon pail. I can make this exactly the way I want. I can add as many drainage holes as I want. I like to make self-watering containers with these, so I spend even less time watering, and the plant will take the moisture as it needs to. You can find these mostly in white. White is a good color for the pots, so your roots don't overheat in a hotter climate. I think it looks lovely in the yard. If you are like me, you will want to be sure you are buying food-grade 5-gallon containers. The big advantage about these are that you can go to your local grocery store's pastry section and ask for 5-gallon buckets, and they are more than happy to give them to you for free! The buckets they give you will be food-grade. The handle makes them very easy to move.


I have found that I don't get 5-gallon buckets from my local stores. I have only found 3.5-gallon buckets. If you do not continue to use them, they are difficult to dispose of, which is why the stores are so willing to give them away.

Cloth Pots


Cloth pots can be used to self-water also, to some extent. These pots also allow good airflow and water drainage. The roots do not become rootbound because they grow out the side and get air pruned. There is only a dark color available, but I have had no problems with the roots overheating.


I use these pots throughout the winter months inside my house. These pots are the most difficult to move, and the soil may shift while moving them. These pots also dry out rapidly.


Container Garden Planting Guide

Vegetables and Pot Size

3 to 5-Gallon Pot

tomato plant

pepper plant


cucumber plant greens(spinach, kale, etc..)





brussel sprouts


1 to 2-Gallon Pot



carrots(more soil depth, so use a deeper pot)

.5 to 1-GallonPots



Container Garden Tips for Beginners

Most garden pots purchased today have a small amount of drainage. You can sometimes increase the amount of drainage by drilling, making, or sculpting larger holes on the containers.

Terra cotta is better used to grow succulents and other plants that prefer dryer soil. I advise you to bring your terra cotta pots inside before the freezing weather because they will crack. They can be difficult to move if you decide to relocate them.

Wooden containers are usually lightweight and will not break. There is a risk of water seeping out from the bottom, so it might be necessary to place something under your wooden pot if you want to grow plants that like wetter soil or keep them in dry climates.

Pots come in many different shapes ranging from the round, oval, rectangular, garden orb, and more. The shape might not matter a lot for gardening with containers, but it can have an effect on your gardening experience if you're using the pots to grow edibles.

If you're gardening in a cooler climate, then it might be best to choose pots that have more surface area and are thinner. This will help maintain the temperature of your plants since they won't lose as much heat due to their proximity to the ground.

There is also the choice between plastic or metal as well as how deep they should be; some gardening enthusiasts might feel better about using recycled materials from around their home instead of buying new ones made from petroleum products. Whatever type you choose, make sure that it has drainage holes and if not drill some larger ones into the bottom before you plant anything.

Container gardening for beginners

Container gardening for beginners is on the right path and the time has come to get going. You can grow tomatoes, beans, spinach, squash, and more. People who are yet to grow plants are suddenly excited about planting a garden. Call it a green lining in this strange, pandemic-dominating year.

Container Garden Ideas

Container gardens can be created by people who have little space or merely want to enhance a porch or patio. The most popular plants in containers are flowers, herbs, veggies grass, and succulents. Many gardeners switch horticultural plants seasonally and keep color consistent throughout the season. Garden pots come in an abundance of designs and materials so you'll be sure to discover something you like. Look at the aforementioned articles for ideas or tips on how to set up a container garden.

Container materials

Clay and terra cotta containers are attractive but breakable and susceptible to freeze and thicken. Concrete containers are very heavy so they will be difficult to move and do not suit use on decks or balconies. Polyurethane foam containers resist scratching and cracks and insulate roots versus heat and cold conditions. The wood has a natural look and protects the root cells from rapid temperatures fluctuations. Choose a rot-resistant wood such as cedar/locust or pine treated in a preservative to ensure the best possible finish. Molded wood fiber containers are robust and inexpensive and very inexpensive. Plastic and fiberglass pots and plants are light, somewhat affordable, and available in many sizes and shapes.

Container Drainage

If the drains are not provided there would be a lake in the soil and vegetation. A container without holes best serves as a cachepot or a cover for hiding one in an ordinary pot. Cachepots have holes but can also be used to manage large plants and heavy pots. Self-watering, double-walled packaging, hanging trays, and window boxes are available. They are ideal for dealing with small plants which need frequent watering. The holes do not need to be too large but there should be sufficient water inside the container in order to prevent it from defiling.

Container sizes

Large containers hold more soil that stays moist longer and resists temperature fluctuation. Small baskets that hang are especially prone to drying out. In hot summer weather, it might be necessary to water them twice a day. It's also crucial to determine what plants you need to grow in each container. A darker container keeps the soil warmer than a light container.

Selecting plants for containers

It is recommended to use dwarf and compact cultivars, particularly small pots. Choose plants to suit the climate and the shade the container receives. If you grow herbs keep containers at a position where breezes can dissipate fragrance. Nonhardy plants will need winter protection to thrive or be relocated into a secure place. Use your imagination to add upright and trailing plants and flowers for satisfying and colorful effects.

Read and save the plant tag

When you buy seedlings from your local garden center - the labels will indicate how big the plant will grow and how much water it need and how much maintenance it will need. It'll tell you if your plant is perennial or annual and if it's perennial, what zones it will survive. This tag identifies your plant and its habits, meaning its shape and how it will grow. This is important when assessing container design and arranging your plant combinations. For example, if you have big pots you're going to need to have plants with straight habits that will give you an even height.

What kind of plants should I grow?

New gardeners are advised to grow herbs and vegetables which have strong roots and are virtually foolproof. Herbs like basil sage parsley and thyme can be grown easily. Instead of planting seeds for these plants, instead, look for starter plants. You can also get starter plants for leafy salads like lettuces spinach and arugula. These small plants are more expensive - but you should harvest some edible lettuce very soon.

Choosing seeds or seedlings

Starter seedlings are not for everyone. It's much cheaper to plant your own seeds as opposed to buying seedlings. You can cultivate difficult varieties organically. Adding a lot of water may cause it to die. You can do it by making a seed starter tray using self-watering. There is no excuse for seeds to dry off or they would die if they didn't contain much of water or dry out quickly. You can plant seeds from seeds and plant plants yourself.

What is a sub-irrigated container?

A sub-irrigated planter is typical to have a box shape with a reservoir beneath them. Water is drawn out in natural potting soil to maintain roots health. The water reservoir means you will never have to water the plants the same way. Forgetting to water containers is among the most common mistakes beginners face when beginning to garden. A large amount of dead fruit grows out of pots. Inability to water containers is often said as a common error in container gardens.

Watering your container garden

It is a goal to keep the soil as moist as possible but not dry. During your summer months, you will need to water more often. This is frequently the most essential and high maintenance aspect of vegetable container gardening, such as tomatoes. It's important that you water your plants throughout the year.

Feeding your plants

Many gardeners sprinkle organic fertilizer in containers before planting them. All season, add diluted fish oil or seaweed to the pot all over to give the plant its proper food supply. Another means of the addition of nutrients is to create or acquire compost which feeds crops. Count the daily fertilizer and follow the instructions on the label.

Using quality potting soil

Poor potting soil will not grow healthy plants. You want to buy a quality bag of potting soil which is made from organic ingredients. It's also important that the container gardening soil has some moisture-retaining qualities and drains well for proper irrigation.

Watering schedule

Train yourself into watering your pots every other day, even if you have an automated system in place like self water or drip systems and timed release sprinklers it may need more frequent attention due to high temperatures during summer months. If there is no rain for weeks on end, then give them extra care with daily watering sessions when needed - otherwise they'll dry out and die quickly in these conditions. Don't forget to use mulch as this protects the surface of plantings from sun scorching.

Bullet points for gardening in containers:

-Choose plants that are appropriate to your container size and shape

-Use organic fertilizer regularly when planting new seeds or seedlings, compost can also be used as well

-Train yourself into watering your pots every other day if possible - use mulch too!

DIY containers

For an affordable container, use a 5-gallon plastic jug from the grocery store and drill holes in the bottom. Another option will be making an unusual container out of something you have around your house. If it is large enough for the plant and has nice drainage you can use almost anything.

Self-watering containers

Self-watering containers are large, easy to use, and very durable. It makes watering plants as easy as you can since you have just to fill the reservoir with water.


Regularly trim off wasted flowers and errant branches to give their space more surface. Describe the ways of care for containers: six tips for successful container plants.

This gardening technique is a popular option for those who do not have the opportunity to grow plants in their yards or gardens. With this gardening method, you can still enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with minimal effort on your part by growing them at home.

There are many benefits of container gardening such as:

-Ideas for DIY containers (e.g., use plastic jugs found from grocery store) which make gardening affordable despite economic hardship

-Self watering system provides easy care; just add water once and forget

If gardening isn’t possible in your backyard or garden, don’t fret! There is a way to grow fresh fruits and vegetables at home with minimal effort on your part. Container gardening allows you to enjoy gardening without the need of outdoor space by using pots as planters. With this gardening technique, there are many benefits such as DIY containers (e.g., use plastic jugs found from grocery store) which make gardening affordable despite economic hardship; self watering system provides easy care and just add water once and forget; ideas for container plants like tomatoes that can be grown easily indoors (they have lower light requirements than most other common houseplants). These tips will help get you started on how to create an ideal garden environment where all of your favorite plants will thrive.



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