Site Navigation

Gardening for Beginners – Episode 4




Top Tips for Success with Container Gardening


  1.  Choose an area with at least 6 hours or more of sun.  A south or west facing area and even more helpful is near the house so that you can benefit off the warmth that will come from the house.
  2. Choose sheltered areas.  Near a wall, fence or shrub is great to help protect your plants from the cold wind and weather.  Window ledges are great too if you can have the space.
  3. Watering is very important.  Because the planting area is not directly in the ground your vessels or beds will need to be watered carefully and more often.  On hot days, water early in the morning and evening.  Let the water soak the roots and run through the bottom at least once a day.
  4. The containers can really be anything that will hold dirt and that won’t have any hazard of leaching chemicals into your soil.  You can find great ideas at the local thrift store, Home Depot orange buckets, garbage cans, half whiskey barrels are just a few ideas. Vertical gardening is fun if you have a fence or wall that you can attach rain gutters to. 
  5. Drainage is very important when selecting your vessels.  Make sure there are drain holes on the bottom or sides of your pot.  You can add small pebbles or rocks to allow for better drainage and to take up space in a large pot, you can invert a smaller pot inside and fill the rest up with dirt.
  6. Soil is the most important thing when designing your new garden.  This will be one of the biggest investments you make but once you are established you won’t have to do this again.  You want to choose a potting soil mix and a good compost mix.  The potting mix should be light and airy with a mixture of vermiculite and dirt.  And the compost should smell very earthy and can even be a bit warm if you are getting it from a bulk supplier.  If you don’t have a vehicle to transport your bulk soil with, just take a few garbage cans with you and fill those up.  DON’T use dirt from the yard as it will be full of weeds and possible pest.  You will want to layer your pots or raised beds with a layer or shredded newspaper or cardboard on the bottom, this will allow for weed control in the raised beds and the worms love it. Then layer your compost and then potting mix and mix it all up.  If you have room in your pot feel free to add a layer of mulch or chips on top.  Covering your raised beds with a layer of chips, “Back to Eden method”, you will for sure not have to water as much and the soil that you are developing will be fantastic as it decomposes.
  7. Selecting your vegetables for containers is the next fun part.  Lettuce grows great in containers and doesn’t need to have much depth. Tomatoes are another easy plant to grow.  They will require a bigger pot, approximately 10″, with good soil.  There are even some trailing varieties that can be grown in a hanging basket or the “topsy turvy” hanging baskets.  They will need to be staked or caged and will need watering twice a day.  Potatoes are also fun to grow and they can produce a great yield depending on the size of your container.  There are sacks, pots or even old tires that you can fill with dirt and push down your seed potatoes and as the plants grow, you add more dirt until you reach the top of the container.  If you are using old tires you just keep stacking them until you get 3-4 high.  Herbs and edible flowers are always easy to grow and welcome in any kitchen.  How cool is it to have your own fresh basil or cilantro to add to your yummy recipe.

Here is a great tool for more ideas on how and when to plant.