Growing Vegetables in Containers

Category Container
Even if you don't have the garden space for a vegetable garden, you can grow a variety of veggie plants in containers. This is a page about growing vegetables in containers.


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My wife and I lived in a house for 45 years with a large garden in the back yard area, We loved to garden and enjoy the produce that we grew each summer. As we became older and had to move into a high rise apartment, with a outdoor balcony, we decided to still enjoy a smaller but productive garden out on the balcony of our 16th floor apartment. I purchased 12 plastic containers and 12 bags of black earth soil. Then I purchased some small tomato plants from a nearby nursery, some lettuce, onion, and radish seed. After planting and watering on a daily basis, our garden started to grow and we are now enjoying the fruits of our labor.

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Yes you can! This is a picture of my deck vegetable garden - all in pots. This is not my first year to do this, but this is the first time I have had so much (the squirrels usually dig up the seeds before they even get started). What you see are tomatoes, green and yellow beans, cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini. I have several plants of each. I am looking forward to making and freezing soup, dessert breads, and pasta sauce - not to mention what will be eaten straight from the garden. It is possible to have a great, productive garden without too much space or work.


By Marie from West Dundee, IL

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I grew this beautiful corn in the corn box I made from wood. The box size is 4ft. x 8ft. x 3 1/2 ft. deep. I had so much corn I was giving it away to all my neighbors!

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Montclair, California

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September 11, 2008

Here is my husband's "veggie garden on the deck", built entirely from recycled pallets. Isn't he clever, we are growing lettuce, cabbage, onions, carrots, and spinach!

Raised Garden

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October 25, 2006

My husband and I recently moved to an apartment. I am seeking ideas for inexpensive vegetable patio gardening. There isn't much direct sunlight on our patio.

Growing carrots in a container.

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I hate always trying to tie strings to hold my plants so I used some coil I had to place over wooden plant stakes to encourage my peas to climb up on it.

Spring has Sprung!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 27, 2011

I grew vegetables in plastic containers this year. And somebody said eating veggies from plastic containers isn't healthy. I got these at the flea market. I suspect they came from a nursery. Am I OK to eat these as I did this year?


Thank you for any help you can give.

By Herrold D


August 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've grown vegetables in plastic containers and I'm not dead yet. Many vegetable gardeners use over-sized plastic pots which costs less then clay pots. If you have to move some pots around in your yard for sun exposure, its' less work to move a plastic container than a heavy clay pot.

One of my neighbors in the apartment complex does container gardening. He lost a leg due to a motorcycle accident years ago and is wheel chair bound. He grows a lot of vegetables in the large plastic storage tubs.
I've met people who run off at the mouth, and they can give you a lot of false information.

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I am wanting to plant some vegetables in pots next spring. What kinds of vegetables can I plant in pots? I really like tomatoes and used to help my mother with those, but I am wondering about others.


Also, since I have two crazy cats who once attacked and ate an entire aloe plant, I cannot rear the plants from seed indoors. When should I plan to buy the plants to plant in pots outdoors?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Crazyliblady from Pittsburg, KS


January 15, 20090 found this helpful

Since you have cats, you might have the big plastic pails that clumping litter comes in. I planted cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in mine,(one plant to a pot.) I had great results.These pails are nice and deep, especially for tomato roots. Plus there is room for a stake or trellis to be inserted. I had spray painted mine a dark geen with plastic paint just to match my deck furniture. This may have helped to keep the soil warm, but it probably isn't necessary.



P.S. Don't forget to drill some drainage holes.

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By (Guest Post)
January 16, 20090 found this helpful

Almost all veggies can be grown in pots if the pot can accomendate their needs. Pots can be obtain furgally by saving milk jugs, litter buckets, plastic plaster buckets, or just plant in a soil bag on an old tray. (fill the bag with soil, tie it off and lay it on it's side, slit the top and plant.

Orange, lemon and lime rimes thrown around the plants base will help keep the cats at bay. You'll need to add fresh rines now and then. Sprinzting water deluted lime and lemon juice on the leaves will also keep the cats at bay and won't harm the plants.

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By pergammano (Guest Post)
January 16, 20090 found this helpful

I grow zucchini, all forms of cukes, eggplant, all forms of squash, strawberries and as you say, all of my tomatoes in pots.

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By pergammano (Guest Post)
January 16, 20090 found this helpful

There is realistically nothing that you can't grow in pots, but all members of the cucurbit family, incl. squashes, zucchinis, eggplant...all peppers, all herbs,all tomatoes, even potatoes do well!

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How can I grow zucchini in a pot? Won't the fruit fall off the vine from its own weight? Do I need to grow 2 plants together?

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We want to put out a simple container veggie garden this spring to help cut grocery bills even further than we already have. We're focusing on a few simple things we eat a lot that aren't especially cheap at the local farmer's market. Such as various lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, and some herbs.


We're using 28-lb kitty litter buckets for large containers and cut-off 2-liter soda bottles and similar products for smaller containers. Both will have rocks and holes in the bottoms for drainage. We have a relatively small area of yard that gets enough sun for a vegetable garden, so our space is limited. Because I don't trust the dirt in our yard to be free of contaminants, we'll probably buy bagged soil.

We have lots of rabbits here, will setting our containers up on large cinder blocks be enough to keep the rabbits from reaching them? What else could we do without spending money? Where should we look to find unusual heirloom tomatoes to plant? Should we look for plants, or try to start from seed? What other tips can more experienced gardeners here share with us? We want to minimize expense and keep the work simple, while harvesting yummy produce. Thank you in advance!

Hardiness Zone: 5b

By Weavre Cooper from PA


April 8, 20090 found this helpful

Because you will not be getting nutrients from the ground you will need to feed them occasionally. follow the recommendation of how often for the plant food you buy.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

I grow a lot of vegetables in hanging baskets to keep animals away. I have had success with tumbling tomatoes and herbs. If you can get a child's sandpit on legs this could be used with holes punched in the bottom for salad ingredients, such as bell peppers, garlic, spring onions, lettuce, radishes etc, cress can be grown indoors on the windowsill as can herbs.

Outside you can plant sage, rosemary. mint etc in the flower beds. I doubt animals would like the taste of herbs all except parsley which peter rabbit loved lol

Other vegetables grow underground such as tubers and wouldn't be touched by animals such as potatoes, new potatoes, carrots.

I think your problem areas would be plants close to the ground such as cabbages and broccoli which you may have to cover with a framework of chicken wire mesh, which is what I would use.

Runner beans, green beans grow up poles and are also out of the reach of rabbits.

If you have a list of things you want to grow people could think up animal free solutions hopefully carol x

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February 18, 2016

This is a page about selecting the right sized containers for growing vegetables. Choosing the right sized container for growing your veggies is important to the overall success of your harvest.

Selecting the Right Sized Containers for Growing Vegetables

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 7, 2009

I would like to start a container Garden for a college project. My class is about sustainability. In these containers I would like to grow food.

I would like to know if anyone has any ideas of what I can use as containers, by recycling, or ways to make or buy cheap containers. Also what could I grow in these? I have never grown winter vegetables, does anyone know what vegetables can be grown this time of year in the Pacific Northwest.



Vegetable Container Gardening

Hi, Stella! Container gardening is a great way to produce a surprisingly bountiful amount of food, and the work involved is quite pleasurable. As to containers, you need materials that will not leach any toxic substances into the planting mix. Clay containers are probably best, but hard to find as recycled items. Food grade plastic, with the recycle codes (1) and (2), are good. I've been told that some restaurants and food packaging plants discard five gallon buckets, but I don't understand why they would since these could probably be reused. Avoid wooden containers that may have been made from creosoted lumber (whiskey half barrels are fine, but not cheap!). Metal containers are iffy in my opinion...most will rust quickly and whether they leach or not is the question.

As to plants, lots of choices. Much of the Pacific Northwest is zone 8 for hardiness, so most of the brassicas will do well now - broccoli, kale, cabbage among others. Carrots should be good, too. My personal favorite is Swiss chard. I like this best of all the cooked greens, and it is easy and durable to grow. It will tolerate both heat and cold, even below freezing for short periods, and is ornamental as well. I like to grow the variety "Bright Lights". The stalks will be a mixture of red, pink, white, yellow and orange, contrasting nicely with the deep green leaves.

Will your containers be placed where you can check them daily? Maintaining an even water supply, enough but not too much, is very important. You live in a wonderful place for gardening supplies and advice. One of the best is Nichols Garden Nursery in Cottage Grove, Oregon. (

Beth, San Antonio TX (USDA zone 8b, heat zone 9) (10/09/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Vegetable Container Gardening

I container garden on our front porch since we don't have usable garden space in our yard. My container of choice has been the five-gallon buckets that my sister gets for me from the fast-food restaurant that she works for (generally the buckets are thrown away when empty). I use a drill and drill 3 or 4 drainage holes about 1 inch from the bottom. The holes help the plants from becoming waterlogged. Good luck. (10/09/2004)

By Kathy

Vegetable Container Gardening

The polystyrene boxes that fruit and veggies come in are good. They are about 2' x 1.5' x 1'high and are easy to punch drainage holes in the bottom. In Australia you can pick them up free from supermarkets. They have good insulation properties as well and are nice and light to move - a container full of potting mix can get heavy. (10/09/2004)

By Jo Bodey

Vegetable Container Gardening

Stella, take a look at It's a small company just getting started, but you can read the monthly newsletters that have some really good ideas for containers.

By Beth

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