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There are many reasons for container vegetable gardening. Many people just do not have the space. Fortunately, you can throw some pots or buckets out on your patio and easily get started! I offer up some DIY ideas on how to build one on the cheap.

You want to start a vegetable garden because you are tired of how much you’re paying (for trying to eat healthy!) for fruits and vegetables at the local grocery store.

Additionally, you might be concerned about pesticides and the other host of issues surrounding produce purchased in the big chain grocery stores. Additionally, we all know produce tastes much better when eaten right after being picked!

However, you have a slight problem. You do not have a yard. You do however, have a balcony/patio/deck… What does that mean? Not all is lost! You can container garden! Now, you just need a few container vegetable gardening ideas and you will be on your way to picking the ingredients for your salad right outside your door.

There are many benefits to planting vegetables in pots

First, they can be moved around easily. In the sun. Out of the sun. Indoors. Outdoors. You can provide whatever is the best environment for your plant with just a few scoots across the floor. Are you having a party and need to rearrange your vegetables to fit a few more chairs? No problem!

Your “garden plot” is smaller and easier to manage. The plants are less likely to be bothered by disease or pests. Oh, and almost NO weeding (your back is giving you a high five right now!).

However, you will probably have to water your plants more often. Vegetables need more water than flowering plants. They are bigger and tend to grow faster. They will probably need more food too. You may have to water twice a day if it is hot outside or your plant is in direct sunlight. For example, a large tomato plant will absorb as much as a gallon a day of water.

Are you worried about your gardening space looking cluttered and messy? Have no fear. There are many very attractive pots and containers of varying size, material and prices.

Are you worried about not having enough space? Hang your plants from the ceiling or some kind of support such as lattice or a shelf. This is called “vertical gardening”. One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step ladder. Paint it a fun color and turn that old rickety wooden ladder into a beautiful and functional plant stand.

When choosing containers for your plants, the sky is the limit!

The Edible Terrace Greenhouse

The Edible Terrace Greenhouse

I have seen vegetables grown in everything from 5-gallon paint buckets, to wooden crates, to old rowboats (how fun is that?!?). You can of course choose traditional pots to begin your adventure. Plastic is the best material because it requires the least amount of watering. Clay or earthen pots can be used as well, we recommend though you line the inside with plastic so it retains the water better as clay soaks up water.

Another thing to remember when hunting for your container is to keep in mind the size of the plant(s) you will be growing in them. Some plants such as potatoes need deep containers. We grow ours in a plastic whiskey barrel purchased at Home Depot. How will you know what size you need?

Look at the back of the seed packets (or do a Google search) for the recommended depth of the pot for the plant you have in mind. Keep in mind all your root vegetables need the extra space. Self-watering containers like this one will be a time saver for you. 

Lastly, get organized first. Careful planning will make this a successful venture for you. What plants do you want to grow? What zone are you in? What time of the year is it? What plants can you grow in your current season? I.e. Spring, Fall, etc. What containers do you need? Plot out where the pots will go on your balcony. Do you want to start from seeds or starter plants?

For seeds, we use Annie’s Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers. Both companies grow their own heirloom seed-and in many cases the seeds are organic too. What a great start, right?

Seed packets

This article will give you the know-how on the best vegetables for container gardening.

I hope these container vegetable gardening ideas inspire you to grow your own edible garden! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. If you would like to send pictures of your own container vegetable garden, I will post on my website and give you all the credit!