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How to Grow Vegetables in Pots

The Vegteable Container Garden

There is nothing like eating a tomato that you have grown yourself. The same eating pleasure goes for carrots, cabbages and just about any vegetable that you can name.

You do not need a large space to grow your own food. All you need is a balcony, patio, deck or other small space to experience the wonders of food that you grow yourself.

You can grow your favourite vegetables in containers as all vegetables will do well in a container provided that container is big enough for the vegetable.

For example, if you try to grow even cherry tomatoes in a three inch diameter terra cot pot you are going to be disappointed; however, if you use a three gallon container or any container that is at least 24 inches across and 18 inches deep you will be able to enjoy tomatoes fresh from your own garden.

Add some basil which grows very well with tomatoes and you are all set.

You can grow cucumbers, green peppers and zucchini in the same size (24x18) containers. For both zucchini and cucumbers, you may want to add a trellis to the container to keep the plant growing upright.

For soil, I recommend that you purchase an organic potting soil, one that is designed fro growing vegetables, from you local plant nursery. If you are new to container gardening, it is worth the time to have a chat with the nursery manger and let her or him know what your plans are. They will be able to make suggestions for selecting vegetables that are ideal for your region.

Next to selecting the appropriate size container for the vegetables you plan to grow, you can use just about anything for a container; the shoe can be round, square or oval, for example, as long as there are drainage holes in the bottom for the excess water to run out and the container is the correct size you can have some fun.

You will need to water your container garden more frequently than your standard garden, especially in dry spells. The wind and heat tend to dry out containers so get to know the conditions where you are and check the plants regularly.

You do not want them to wilt, they will bounce back when watered but if they are allowed too dry out too often they may not produce fruit and will suffer.

The most important step in creating your container garden begins before you even plant one seed or place one seedling in a container that is the planning process.

Now if you have only one container or 50, the process is similar, just simpler.

Patio Tomato

The Containers

The containers must be placed where they will get the six to eight hours of sun they need each day. Do not plant more vegetables or use more containers than you have time to look after as you will be disappointed and discouraged if the garden fails because you planted more than you actually had time to look after.

So be sure to match the size of your container garden to your schedule. Take into consideration the need to water and the time to look for signs of trouble such as pests and diseases.

If this is yoru first garden start small. Select three of yoru favourite vegetables and grow them. Keep a journal and make regular notes, paying attention to grow rates, problems, surprises and when the plants flower and bear fruit.

This information will be invaluable next year and for years to come when you sit down to plan your future container gardens.

You can add a container or two each year until the garden reaches the size you wish.

Before and After

Getting ready to plant: Bob Ewing photo

Getting ready to plant: Bob Ewing photo

A few weeks later, Bob Ewing photo

A few weeks later, Bob Ewing photo

Container Gardening


Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on September 08, 2011:

This hub on hydroponics may help:

Sailor Jo on September 07, 2011:

Thanks for the previous ideas and hints. What I like on this web site is that it does not start out telling me all kinds of technical details before I even know what might be a realistic approach.

My idea may be completely unreasonable but as a newcomer I cannot judge that yet. So please bear with me.

As there is so much talk now about a looming food shortage and inflation I want to cut my expenses. Time is not much of an issue for me as a retiree. So I thought of growing veggies and berries for two. May be even potatoes and other fruit.

Living in Florida I may not need a greenhouse. If I put containers on my porch I get enough sun but I will need to add irrigation.

Does anyone have the experience what I might grow besides tomatoes? Also, would soil growing or hydroponic be easier to work? Any soil I might need I need to buy because our ground is almost pure sand.

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on May 20, 2011:

Happy growing

plant vegetables on May 20, 2011:

I also grow my tomatoes in containers. I love growing them with beans.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on April 17, 2011:

Herbs and tomatoes a great way to get growing.

bbqsmokersite from Winter Haven, Florida on April 17, 2011:

A buddy of mine has just started up a 5 gallon bucket garden of sorts. I'll have to direct him to this hub. I think he's starting with some herbs and tomatoes.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on February 20, 2011:

Thanks and good growing.

PR Morgan from Sarasota Florida on February 20, 2011:

Good info Bob! I plan on giving it a try this season. Three items sounds good too...Tomatoes, Jalapenos and maybe some herbs. Great Hub!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on March 18, 2010:

Beans are fairly easy to grow and can yield well. I like stories like your potato one, thanks for dropping by.

Dvorah on March 18, 2010:

Thank Bob! After years of growing herbs only, last year we tried leeks and tomatoes. We also accidentally grew potatoes. We were using potato vines as foliage with other annuals and found potatoes in the dirt in the fall when we took down the garden for the year - we made french fries and they were amazing - kind of like a cross between a sweet potato and a potato.

This year we want to add something new - I am thinking beans.

Glad I found your page!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on August 14, 2009:

You are welcome, thanks for dropping by.

jill of alltrades from Philippines on August 13, 2009:

Thank you for this informative hub. This is very helpful for city dwellers like me. I have tried container vegetables before but have never been successful. Now I know what's wrong, the containers I used were too small.

Thanks again!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on August 13, 2009:

Thanks for dropping by, gardening can present challenges and weather is a factor.

ALB21467 from United Arab Emirates on August 11, 2009:

Hi Bob!

Food and gardening yes it's the best! I will post also about gardening I have started growing, though I'm in the middle east presently! Gardening is very difficult, the sprout are drying out!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on June 14, 2009:

You are most welcome, happy gardening.

alienskeptic on June 13, 2009:

My sister directed me to your HUB since I was talking about trying to grow beans in pots. After reading several of your HUBs, I'm getting the confidence to expand my regular garden up onto my deck. I already had the herbs up here, but now, thanks to you, I have cauliflower, tomatoes, and butternut squash. We'll see how the squash fares... Anyway, thanks for your advice.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on May 24, 2009:

Thanks, and thanks for dropping by.

gardening guide on May 24, 2009:

If you are a little apprehensive about planting an organic garden for the first time, planting vegetables in few containers is a great start and an excellent learning opportunity! Most important is to choose large enough containers or pots (larger is better) and to water properly. Very informative hub!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 15, 2008:

Thanks Cenny and enjoy.

Denny Lyon from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA on December 15, 2008:

Your hub has inspired me to get back to vegetable container gardening.  Not done it in a while and it's so much fun!  Around here there is so much rain and soggy soil that I keep my roses in containers - since they don't like wet feet.  It's either that or build up high a proper bed, right?!  I do like pulling out the shovel and digging in the dirt - don't always have the time or the weather, so your idea is spot on! Great hub, thanks for the reminder!

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 14, 2008:

Thanks Katherine, I have been thinking about that, my principal secret is time, I'll evnetually elaborate on that.

Katherine Baldwin from South Carolina on December 14, 2008:

Thanks for the Hub, Bob. WOW your plants look healthy. How about a series of Hubs on how you take care of them. Do you start your own seeds or buy starter plants? Everyone should be looking for ways to produce their own food. A lot healthier for you.


Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 12, 2008:

Thnaks for adding the information about lemons and oranges it helps people to understand what can be grown in containers.

laringo from From Berkeley, California. on December 12, 2008:

Thanks again Bob for a very informative Hub. I have grown certain peppers and squash before in containers and then I gave it up. You've given me inspiration to start grwoing again as soon as the time is right. I do have some Meyer lemons and blood oranges that I grow in large half wine barrels. The satisfaction is great to produce your own food, and with the cost of living so high,there is no better time then now.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 12, 2008:

There are many advantages to growing vegetables in containers, thanks for visiting.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 12, 2008:

This is great info. I've been thinking of going this route since our land is chopped up and full of trees. I think that this is the ticket.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 12, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by.

HelpingGuy on December 11, 2008:

Great Info Bob.

I never knew it was this easy.

Vibhavari from India on December 11, 2008:


This is a great hub, you've made it sound so simple, am certainly going to get a couple of containers and make a start growing plants in containers. Start small as you suggest and increase the number as one gets more proficient.

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 11, 2008:

Thanks for visiting.

Latrelle Ross on December 11, 2008:

Bob, this is a great Hub. Thanks for sharing your process with us. I can't wait for Spring.

Lgali on December 11, 2008:

very useful information

Bob Ewing (author) from New Brunswick on December 11, 2008:

Thanks scott, it is also great forpeople who do not want to dig a garden or want to use only a smallpart of their yard.

scottiejd on December 11, 2008:

Loved this one Bob, for those of us who don't have yard space

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