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Jun 2, 2011 08:25 AM

Container gardening

I have a sunny front yard and want to do container gardening. My husband said we can't have a veggie garden in the front, but he says containers are OK. Tell me what kind of containers you like. What veggies do you grow? Do you combine certain veggies with others? What are the best? Never had much of a garden before so I am a newbie. Tell me what you know.

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  1. There are tomato plants that are specifically for containers. I have used them quite successfully and I have combined them with basil. I have also grown jalapeno peppers in containers and bell peppers. I also grow lettuce in planters. But the lettuce is grown early in the season because it's not heat tolerant. I have also grown beans in a container. I have grouped veggies with various herbs.
    I guess I am not very picky as far as it comes to containers other that the fact they must have several wholes on the bottom for drainage. The containers should be large. I have also found it helpful to either use styro foam peanuts as a filler on the bottom of a large container so you don't have to use potting soil for the whole container. They also make inserts for containers for that same purpose. With containers you must remember to water frequently.

    1. I use white 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom. If you ask at the deli of a grocery store or a cafeteria they might have them for free. They are fairly cheap in the paint section of hardware stores or Wal-Mart. I also have 2 large window boxes that I picked up at a second hand store - they each hold about 40 lbs of soil.

      I've grown tomatoes, peas, beans (green and the kind you dry), tomatoes, peppers (hot and I'm trying bell this year), I have cucumbers growing for the first time, many different kinds of herbs. I have a friend whose growing brussel sprouts, cabbage etc. in containers. You have to water once or twice a day, but there is very little or no weeding. Plus, you can start early and extend the season by moving plants into the garage during late and early frosts.

      1. There's a GREAT book, "Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces" that can give you all kinds of great information. I grow vegetables among all the other stuff in my front yard and in pots in my backyard since pets rule back there. I have eggplants (the long skinny kind), tomatoes, bush beans, Delicata squash ( in the middle of a table so all the squash is up off the ground) and peppers all in big lightweight pots. Welcome newbie, to the greatest addiction ever.

        1. I have been raising tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. in self-watering containers which provide control over the amount of water given to the plant. Look up to see the original design, now a commercial product (with lots of advice/hype), then look up how to build one yourself at a fraction of the cost ( or or search on "self watering containers" for more designs and more commercial models.

          Another good design uses large 5 or 10 gallon buckets which you can often pick up free from restaurants or painters. By the way, fill them with potting mix not soil or potting soil, or make your own from the instructions on the earthbox sites. Another note: an earthbox filled with mix weighs enough that you may either need help to move it. Final idea: put early lettuce in the EB. You can harvest it before transplanting tomatoes or peppers well after your last spring frost date.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DonShirer

            Have to say a big thumbs up to Earthboxes (whether purchased, or self made), been very satisfied with the results so far, especially considering the crappy spring and summer we have had. Have tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zuchs, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce and swiss chard. A lot of fun and basically idiot-proof, if you do the initial setup properly...

            1. re: jfprieur

              Home Depot has been selling a knock-off Earthbox (called City Picker) for $29. It's larger but is functionally identical (and it also comes with casters). We put tomatoes in 2 weeks ago and they're doing much better than the ones in the garden that went in nearly 4 weeks ago.


              You need to make sure you use a combination of potting mix with dolomite because it's essentially a wicking system (the potting mix rests on a platform over a water reservoir which you refill via a tube) and the growing medium has to be capable of drawing and retaining water from below. Potting soil won't work. We didn't quite follow instructions and happened to have an extra bag of Miracle Gro "Expand N Gro" which is an effective substitute (but more expensive).

              I add anywhere from 1/2 gallon to a gallon of water most days.

          2. I do not use an type of specal containers , however I really like the 5 gallon paint bucket idea!! I have had GREAT results from my containers and everyday potting soil from lowes. Tomatoes, Pepers , work extremely well in containers..

            I DO NOT LIKE mxixing vegitable in containers (personal preference) I did this my first year and couldn't remember which pots were what pepers.