How to Build a Vegetable Garden in a Container

Introduction:

Growing vegetables in containers is a great way to produce fresh food when planting space is limited. Plants can be seeded and grown in containers indoors before they are moved outside for planting. 
  • It is important to select a container that is of an appropriate size. Containers should be at least 8” in diameter and 6-8” deep. Larger vegetables, such as cucumbers or tomatoes, should be grown in a 5 gallon container (12” in diameter and 9-12” deep).  
  • Containers come in many varieties: plastic, ceramic, clay, metal, or fibre pots and wooden barrels/planters are suitable for vegetable growth. 
NOTE: Do not use containers that have held products that are toxic to plants or people.
  • Most vegetables can be grown successfully in containers but dwarf and bush varieties are better suited to container culture. Plants and seeds that are suitable for containers will have the following terms indicated on their packaging: bush, compact, dwarf, or space saver.   
Vegetables that are suitable for container growth include:
 
Beets
Bush Beans
Cabbage
Carrots
Cucumber
Eggplant
Green Beans
Green Onions
Kale
Leaf Lettuce
Leeks
Onions
Peppers
Pole Beans
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Squash
Sweet Corn
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Yellow Beans
 
 
 
 
** Beans, carrots, beets, lettuce, kale, radish, spinach, and swiss chard are the best vegetables for direct seeding into containers.
 

Materials Required:

  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Planting container
  • Lightweight, peat-based potting soil - Sunnyside Planter Box Mix or Sunnyside Professional Growing Mix
  • Compost (Sea Soil ™)
  • A slow-release or granular, water soluble fertilizer (formula 15-15-30, Pink, Smartcote, Alaska® MorBloom 0-10-10, etc.)
  • Plants or seeds

Procedure:

  1. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot for the containers to ensure maximum yield and growth.
  2. Ensure that the container has proper drainage. If necessary, drill holes in the bottom of the container.
  3. Mix 1 part compost to 2 parts potting soil to add nutrients to the soil and increase fertility.  (Sea Soil ™ is recommended because it is certified organic). 
  1. Moisten the soil mixture with water.
  2. Fill the container with the soil mixture until it is ½-1” from the top of the container’s edge.
  3. Plant vegetables:
  • Seeds should be planted according to the product directions.
  • For plants, dig a hole in the soil mixture in the container and set the plant at the same depth as it was growing in its original pot.
  1. Gently soak the soil; be careful not to wash out or displace the seeds.
  2. Water deeply (water should flow out of drainage holes) and frequently as the plants mature and the root systems expand. Check soil moisture levels daily.
  3. Fertilizer
  • Can add a slow release or granular fertilizer to the soil – this provides for a slow release feed over the season
  • Use a water soluble fertilizer – extra Potassium promotes high yields of fruit and strengthens plant. Great for vegetables
  • Alaska Mor-Bloom Fertilizer 0-10-10 – Organic - Rich, mostly organic mixture derived from seagoing fish, phosphoric acid and potash. Provide phosphorous and potassium to stimulate budding and blooming. Great for vegetables and tomatoes.