A Complete Guide on Vegetable Container Gardening

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Audrey Hepburn

Gardening is often compared with meditation. Looking at and taking care of a plant can provide a sense of life.  Growing some vegetables can be an excellent go-to for your gardening journey as it will provide you with your own fresh bunch of vegetables.  However, if you are stuck with a limited amount of time and space, Container gardening can be the best go-to for this. You can create your own little garden on your rooftop, balcony, or by the windows or even the patios. Here, we are going to discuss everything about Container gardening required to get you going in your journey of container gardening of vegetables!!





Container gardening is the practice of growing vegetables in containers or pots. This is generally taken as an urban gardening practice where land for gardening vegetables is limited. Some basic knowledge and a little effort are all it takes to build and enjoy your own container garden.





Containers to be used


For vegetable gardening, the larger the better are the containers to be used. Lager containers provide more space for roots to grow and they also don’t let the soil dry up too quickly.

Any containers that can hold soil, like wooden barrels, large pots made of clay or plastic or terracotta, buckets, boxes, etc. can be used for growing your own container garden.

The size of the container plays an important role in successful container gardening which includes depth and length of the container. Care should be given that drainage holes are made at the bottom for drainage.



The depth of the container should be decided according to the size of roots that the plant develops. Containers of up to 30 cm/12-inch depth can hold almost all types of vegetables you want to grow in your garden.

And the length of the container decides the number of plants a container can hold for gardening. The spacing required for the plant is considered to decide the number of plants to grow in a container.

Larger containers of optimum depths can hold water and nutrients longer and are more suitable for getting higher yield from your garden.





Soil media

Like in any other type of gardening, the role of the quality of the soil to be used is huge in Container Gardening as well. The use of good quality soil ultimately leads to better production.

Soil with good aeration and drainage provides the best growth of plants on the container. Different types of media can be used on container:


Soilless mix ( peat, vermiculite, bark, coconut hulls, etc.):

Such mixes can easily be gained from the market. Compost alone can also be used. They have good drainage, provide good aeration, and also is rich in nutrients.



Garden soil:

Some adjustments on garden soil can be done by mixing garden soil, peat moss, and sand in a 1:1:1 ratio to make soil media acceptable for use.  The advantage of using the amended soil mix is it holds water and fertilizer for a longer period than that by the soilless media.



Filling up the container


A layer of small pebbles about an inch in height should be placed at the bottom for better drainage. The container should be filled by the soil leaving about an inch of space from the top for holding water.



Watering on containers


Regular watering according to the requirements of plants should be done. Time for the watering can also be determined by touching the soil on the container; if it feels dry it’s time you water the plant. 

Never let the soil on the container dry completely. Watering should be done more often on containers filled with soilless media than that filled with soil media.

Watering the soil till water starts to drip from the drainage hole is the best way which ensures complete wetting of the media mass. Overflowing of water from the drainage hole helps in leaching the salt built up in the media due to fertilizer use.


Fertilizing the plants


Adequate fertilization is the formula for the best result in container gardening. Fertilizer should be used when the soil is moist to avoid the potential damage by fertilizers to the plant. Some commercial potting mix comes enriched with fertilizer which releases after planting. 

Slow-release fertilizer can be applied by incorporating them on the media or adding them to media in small amounts. The nutrients being soluble in water are released while irrigating.

Liquid fertilizers are used by adding them to the water on the recommended dose while regular watering.

Choice of fertilizer should be done according to the plant grown on the container. Fertilizers with high nitrogen should be used for the foliage crops while flowering and fruiting plants prefer fertilizers with lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus content.


Selecting the location for placing containers


Containers should be placed according to the crop planted on it. Some plants need direct sunlight for growth whereas some can do well even in indirect sunlight. Garlic, onions, salad greens can grow well even in indirect light, like places in the kitchen, windows, etc.

For the plants that need more light like tomatoes, peppers, beans, mints, radishes can be grown at the window where plenty of sunlight for at least 3-4 hours is available or they can be grown on the balcony or terrace.


Selecting plants for your container garden


Almost any plant of your choice can be grown in the container. However, the size of the plant and also of the container should be considered while choosing the plant to grow.

Plants should be selected according to the area selected to place the container but keeping the plants on moderately sunny area help reduce the problem of disease and pest.





It needs a warm temperature so seedlings should be transplanted after last spring frost.

Sunlight requirement – Full sunlight

Minimum soil depth- 20-22 cm


Salad Greens

Different salad greens can be grown with partial or full sunlight by placing the container at the window of the kitchen. These can be grown throughout the year by growing different types of greens according to the season.

Minimum soil depth- 10-12cm






Sown in early spring and early winter.

Sunlight requirement- Full sunlight

Minimum soil depth- 15-18cm



Onion/Garlic bulb or sprouts

Sown in early spring.

Sunlight requirement- Full sunlight

Minimum soil depth- 15-18cm




Cool-season vegetables.

Sunlight requirement – minimum 3 hrs and above (can be grown in partial shade)

Minimum soil depth- 20-22cm




Cool-season vegetables.

Sunlight requirement- a minimum of 5hrs and above ( can be grown in partial shade)

Minimum soil depth- 20-22cm




Cool-season vegetable.

Sunlight requirement- Full sunlight

Minimum soil depth- not less than 30 cm




Spring season herb.

Sunlight requirement- a minimum of 6 hrs sunlight.

Minimum soil depth- 15-18cm






Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com


As studies show gardening is highly beneficial for stress relief and also producing your food by vegetable gardening may be beneficial for reducing your food cost. Keeping a small pot of mint by the side of the kitchen window not only serves for your health but also aesthetic purposes. Gardening is an act with all pros and no cons, so why not start your own garden very soon!!

How do you like the post?  Please feel free to share your views and experience on container gardening in the comments section! We will be back with more interesting articles soon. Till then take care of yourselves and your family! 

                    Happy Reading!                                     Happy Planting! 


Barsha Bhandari

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