Container Gardening 101

Is there something below 101? Like 001? If there was (or is?), this post would be it. This is going to be basic. Extremely basic. I googled a lot (ok fine, a little) information online prior to starting this garden and I STILL managed to do things kind of backwards, so if you are starting at square one, hopefully this will be somewhat helpful. If not, it might be an insult to your intelligence. So here we go!

But first, a quick pep talk.


That’s the cool thing about containers! Start with one or two pots just to test the waters. Don’t feel like you have to go all in on day one, because wallet will be crying. Just think about what you want to grow – veggies, herbs, flowers, or maybe a little of all of it? My patio is small, my yard doesn’t really lend itself to raised beds at this point in time, so I’m making the space I have work and it’s working out just fine.




Pots, planters, raised beds (If you have raised beds please tell me all about it because I’m going to be so jealous and will want to see a million pictures), odd buckets you find in the garage – just use whatever is accessible and handy. The main thing to keep in mind is it needs some kind of hole at the base to drain water. I learned from experience that most plants don’t like hanging out in standing water. I can’t blame them.


Turns out “potting soil” exists for a reason! When you go to the garden center, you will find potting soil and garden soil. Garden soil is cool if you’re planting things in the ground and is significantly less expensive, but if you are going to grow things in pots, potting soil is your jam. It’s not as heavy and stays a little fluffier so the roots don’t get smashed. Water can drain much easier and different nutrients are also added to help with growth. I wasn’t aware of this and used garden soil when I planted a few things. So far, those plants are surviving, but they are extremely heavy and probably very wet at the bottom of the pot. Live and learn.


Plants need sun! Well, some do. How much sun does your patio actually get? Most plants, herbs and veggies like to have at least 6-8 hours of sun daily, so make sure your garden area is sunny. If you have a patio that doesn’t get much light, that’s ok because a lot of really nice looking plants can grow in the shade.


If you are a serial plant killer like myself, I’m guessing you probably didn’t spend a whole lot of time watering them. Plants in containers need quite a bit more watering than do plants growing in the ground. Thankfully, this is an easy fix and you will find a ton of adorable watering cans at Target in the garden section. Or go old school and use a hose. Whatever you do, make it habit to do it daily or at least every other day. Remember, water = love. 


This is the fun part! What do you think looks pretty? What grows in your climate during this season? What is going to be a vegetable you will actually want to eat? What herbs do you end up buying at the grocery store and wishing you could just have a whole plants worth of? How do you feel about planting seeds?


So there you go! Down the road (i.e. once I figure it out myself) we will get into more advanced topics like fertilizing and garden pests and making fruiting plants actually fruit. For now, let’s get planting and keep these plants alive!


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  • Nico Z
    April 12, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Off to a good start. How many containers have you started with? And what herbs/plants have you dared to start with?

      April 12, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Hi! So far i have a few herbs, tomatoes, lavender some flowers and am planting lettuce and swiss chard from seed. I’ll probably do a post next week and show everything in more detail 🙂

  • Emma
    April 13, 2018 at 12:13 am

    One time I planted a rosemary and I put in direct sunlight with no water except rain for 2 years. The whole plant was roasted into dust except for two small branches that have stood the test of time with a feeble dehydrated will to live. It’s been grazed by the presswasher on more than one occasion. It’s been doused with chorline chemicals as it sits feet away from our pool. Sometimes a cat takes a bite, as they crave herbs to aid lizard digestion. This tiny barely alive rosemary impresses me with its tenacity. It sits next to its long dead brother, 2015 basil, and across the pool from its overly enthusiastic cousin, eternal aloe vera.

    Maybe I’ll learn something about gardening from your blog.

    • Audra
      April 16, 2018 at 12:55 am

      This made me laugh till i cried. I love you emma 🙂