How to Start a Container Garden | Enhanced Garden&Life
Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Choosing the pot
Vegetables and Pot Size
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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
Choosing the right pot is very important. You will need to consider the size, proper drainage, and the right color. I like terracotta pots. They look nice and have a nice big drainage hole in the bottom. If you get terracotta, 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 these pots. They will also look pleasant in your yard.
Terracotta is better used to grow succulents and other plants that prefer dryer soil.
I advise you to bring your terracotta pots inside before the freezing weather because they will crack. They can be difficult to move if you decide to relocate them.
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.
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 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.
Vegetables and Pot Size
3 to 5-Gallon Pot
cucumber plant greens(spinach, kale, etc..)
1 to 2-Gallon Pot
carrots(more soil depth)
.5 to 1-Gallon Pot