Container Gardening Advice

I'm interested in hearing people's experiences/tips about container gardening. Our home is on a very tiny plot of land that was treated with heavy duty ant poison (Timbor and Talstar) so I can't plant in the ground. I'm looking for info on what to grow in a container and what is the best type of container (ie how deep does it need to be, how wide)


Thanks to everyone

Katie in NY


Container Gardening Advice

Make sure to plant in a container that will be deep enough to accommodate the plant's roots (carrots and potatoes need a lot of root space, for instance).

If you are looking for containers, almost anything that has holes in the bottom (you can make these with a drill) will work. Plastic laundry baskets, clay pots.

Just be sure to thoroughly mix all of your dirt or it will form a plateau in the container and the bottom dirt will be so compacted that water and roots can not travel down (learned the hard way from experience). I had better luck planting in the ground than in containers, so I can't recommend any plant varieties except for parsley, cilantro, oregano and rosemary.

By the way, rosemary originally grew out of the side of a cliff so even I couldn't kill it!

Holly (03/28/2005)

By cookwie

Container Gardening Advice


Take a look at - this is a small family owned company with a very informative monthly newsletter to which you can subscribe for free. Also additional links are there. (03/28/2005)

By Beth

Container Gardening Advice

Containers, lots more watering and more daily work than in the ground. If you wish to plant in the ground, why not look into the idea of digging out the dirt only where you wish to plant a garden or have a flower bed and replace the dirt with good soil. This may be a more expensive alternative but you might be happier in the long run. This way you can amend the new soil any way you wish. Your local nursery/garden center should be able to provide you with proper soil and additives like compost that would make great "stuff" for your plants to grow in.


Use the "bad" (treated) soil for building up an area or just "throw" it out. Are the ants really that much of a problem where you live that the soil needed to be permanently fixed? (03/28/2005)

By valleyrimgirl

Container Gardening Advice

My friend plants tomatoes in a plastic 73-quart storage tote box. Holes drilled in bottom for drainage. Must water at least once daily as tomatoes need alot of water.

Would be cautious about replacing soil to build a garden, with rain and runoff it would probably get contaminated and you're going to eat the produce. (03/28/2005)

By kidsNclutter

Container Gardening Advice

I have had container garden for the past 2 years. I had good results with tomatoes, hot pepper and onions (03/29/2005)

By Elva

Container Gardening Advice

5 gallon buckets will do the trick. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Remember to water often. Container gardens dry out faster than regular in ground gardens. You can get 5 gallon buckets from bakerys, schools... (03/29/2005)

By Sandy

Container Gardening Advice

I am going to try container gardening again this spring and summer. I never have any luck with it. My plants always die but I am willing to try it again. I will give you an update later in the summer. I just found your site and I am signing on as a guest. I will be back! (03/11/2007)

By Marsha

Container Gardening Advice

I put pinecones in the bottom of my containers. When the pinecones are wet, they close up. This is also an indicator as to the plants moisture content in the bottom. When the soil rises or moves up in the pot the pinecones in the bottom have dried. The pot needs WATER.

Wet a pinecone and see for yourself.

Diapers have the water absorbing gel in them that will hold moisture near the roots. Tear a one up and work it in to the root area. Discard the plastic parts. (03/11/2007)

By Charlotte

Container Gardening Advice

Congratulations on your choice. Although I could plant more in the ground, I am a container gardening freak and I love the control that it gives me. There's far less weeding, and I love that the plants are (generally) portable. I can rearrange my containers for maximum effect or for simplified watering if I'm away from home. Sounds like you want to grow eatables: My husband does tomatoes and peppers (in containers) where the sun is brighter, but I just enjoy beautiful green and flowering plants; I don't care if they produce anything to eat. I do love herbs, though.

Here are some thoughts on container gardens: Start small and build on your successes. Don't try to buy/do too much at first. Try lots of herbs. They are easy to grow, often beautiful and fragrant to boot. Rosemary is great. Mint is delicious but will get scraggly on you (hint - keep it trimmed). I'm dying to try chives next year, my neighbor has them.

Don't be too fast to purchase every plant in the store on your first trip - again, start small - make several trips over a few weeks in spring. You will be surprised at the new things that come into the stores during that period. Spreading your selections allows you time to do your potting chores promptly without an exhausting day in the garden.

Only buy what you can plant today or tomorrow. You wouldn't bring a new baby home and store it in the garage for 3 days.

Find a gardening association, or attend their plant sales, for wonderful tips and great localized plants. Gardeners love to talk about what they love doing. You may also get some free bulbs or plants this way!

Make sure all your pots have holes in the bottom for drainage. Try not to buy any containers without: If it's hole deprived but too cute and you must have it, drill a hole in the bottom if possible, or use it only as a base or outer pot holder.

No plant lives forever... if one is past its prime, pull it up and move on. You're not a failure as a gardener because a plant died. No point trying to nurse a sad tomato over the dog days of August. Just replant for fall.

USE MULCH - cover the potting soil with 1 -2 inches of mulch and refresh it if it thins in late summer. This reduces the amount of watering needed and helps your plants make it through the heat in far better shape.

I've just learned this one in the last 2 years - get some rolling potholders - these are fantastic! I have mostly shade in my garden area but I can move the containers around to get more sun as needed.

Enjoy your garden everyday by establishing seating nearby. A plant you don't see regularly can get forgotten and neglected fast! If you can keep an eye on it, you can usually keep it growing. We have our coffee on the porch every chance we can. (08/05/2010)

By TexasCostumer

RE: Container Gardening Advice


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