Container Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

The Basics - Choosing the Right Container

More and more gardeners, especially those with limited space, are choosing to get started with container gardening. If you are one of those who are just getting started, we have a few tips for you that should help.

The Basics – Choosing the Right Container

The Basics - Choosing the Right Container

One of the most important factors when getting started with a container garden is choosing the proper container. A pot that is too small will crowd the roots, and very large pots can be difficult to move around to take advantage of the best available sunlight.

All pots for container gardening should provide adequate drainage and be large enough to hold the plant once it is full grown and not just while it is young.

One tip for planning your vegetable gardening using containers is to allow a minimum of 18 inches in diameter or width and 18 inches of depth for most plants.

However, this will vary slightly depending on the type of vegetable being grown. Carrots, for example, should be allowed twice the depth they are expected to reach at maturity.

The material the container is made from and the pot’s color may also be important factors to consider for you. Different types of pots may be better suited for different climates.

For example, colder climates with minimal sun can do better with dark colored pots made from metals. They can not only stand up to the winter cold, but there is little worry of overheating heating the root system during the summer months.

Wood and clay are great choices for container vegetable gardening in warmer climates. Wood and clay containers allow the roots to breathe, plus wood will retain moisture which allows for less frequent watering.

Lighter colored pots will help make sure that the roots do not get over heated since this will kill the plant.

Location is Important, too

Location is Important, too

Be sure to take time to plan the best location to place the containers for your vegetable garden. Many varieties of vegetables require full sun, which generally means at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Some plants will do fine with partial shade but still need at least 3 hours of direct sun daily. In addition, the containers should be able to be moved around fairly easily so that you can prevent them from getting water logged during a heavy rain.



A container vegetable garden needs plenty of water and drainage so that the proper amount of air and water are able to reach the roots. In fact, this is essential for successful growing.

To determine if the plant needs watering, feeling the soil about an inch below the surface. Drooping plants are a sign of dehydration and are past needing a little water. Your plants should never be allowed to reach this point.

One final thing to remember is to water the soil only and to never water the leaves of the plant. It is the roots that carry the water to the rest of the plant and not the leaves.

Watering the leaves can cause bacteria, mold and other issues which can eventually kill the plant.

Growing vegetables in a container garden can be very enjoyable and can yield some great-tasting items for your table. We wish you the best of luck with starting your own container garden.

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