Setting up a container garden

I’ve been reading up on container gardening over the last week or so. As you may or may not know, container gardening is perfect for anyone who only has a small space, such as apartments, units and retirement living, in which to grow their own herbs and vegetables. I am thinking of setting one up for myself when the season is right.


I’ve found these basics to set up my container garden:

  • organic potting soil, seeds or seedlings
  • containers (buckets, pots, old ice cream containers
  • a sunny spot for your containers


And I’ve been told these are some good pointers:

  • turn the soil around the plants every few weeks so the soil remains aerated and water and nutrients are able to reach your garden
  • remove any weeds as you see them
  • add mulch regularly to conserve water, promote healthy soil, and prevent weed growth
  • give your plants organic water-soluble plant food every few weeks.


I don’t have the greenest thumb, so can anyone recommend easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs that I can grow in my container garden? So far I know I’d like basil, sage and chives, and maybe tomatoes. I’d love to hear any other suggestions for how best to manage a container garden. 

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The self watering ones with a "wick" and a well at the bottom in them appeal to me the most means you can go away for a week and not come back to dead dried out plants.


Idea to say what state you are in. Probably Vic but not certain.

Cos lettuce grows well in containers as well as the mixed lettuce and you just pick the leaves off as you want them and the plant keeps growing.  Same as tomatoes tho water around the base.

Strawberrys grow well in these Vertical Tower  Vertical towers. $20.00 from Health Pride in their catalogue.  You can also get ones that hang up saving space for other things underneath.  Think you can hang these ones too, bigger pic on the site.

Sandy how do you stop lettuce from "bolting"?

You can't really Viv.  Constant picking of the leaves helps.  If I see one starting to bolt I just break the top off.

It's a real pain but they don't really know why yet.  Some seem to think it's our long hot days or inconsistent watering.  They start to go bitter before they bolt.

I just make sure I keep a constant bed of them going.  Once the first lot are up and you are picking the leaves, start planting another batch.

The Iceberg lettuce (Great Lakes) I've never had a problem with and cos seems to do fairly well too.

Most of the other varieties you see in the shops are hydroponically grown, which means they get exactly the amount of water and nutrition they need.  I'm lucky in that hubby likes the iceberg and Jenny and I are eating more Cos these days.

I just pick the leaves off the Cos and leave it growing.  I have been thinking of getting a small hydroponic system, I can get all my nutrients from son who makes and  sells hydroponic solutions, therefore I know what's in the solution.His are organic solutions.

Viv this site gives you varieties that suit your state.  Some of the varieties are slow bolt.

Just click at the top of the page  on the varieties below.There's also times to plant each variety in the Harvest guide.

Babyleaf Cos Eazyleaf Iceberg SpecialityHead                                                        Harvest Guides

Thanks Sandy I will have a look locally if any of those are available if not will have to send for them.

Great advice – thanks heaps. I'll keep looking into it. Like the idea of strawberries, and also the wick planters. Maybe I could do something like build or find a kind of flat trough type thing that holds the water in, then sit the plants on a rack above it, so the roots stretch down into the trough? Kind of how hydroponics work I suppose.

Make sure you find out which herbs like each other.

Parsley and mint do not like each other.

Radish, Mint requires a container of it's own.  Mint likes to spread and small pots are no good for them.  It also likes plenty of fertiliser and not to get dry.

A good container for mint is one of the pyrostene boxes that you can sometimes pick up at fruit & vegetable shops. Those boxes are good because they do keep the temperature down in the summer months.

Never plant mint in your vegetable garden because it will run amok.

Another trick is to get those little packets that they put in the meat trays and plant them in your soil in the pots as they expand and hold water.

I also cover the holes in pots with either chux wipes or used pot (saucepans) scourers.  Helps stop the pots losing soil through the holes. Or I cut pieces of shade cloth to cover the holes with.


Under $2 you can buy three varieties of lettuce grown hydroponically .... which you can plant into pots providing that you buy them fresh they will grow

.... alternatively you can put them in a container with perlite and continue  to grow them hydroponically.

By picking the leaves as you need them your lettuce remains fresh

Thanks YLC members - really helpful posts here - it makes a vegie patch look almost doable :-)


RE Another trick is to get those little packets that they put in the meat trays and plant them in your soil in the pots as they expand and hold water.

I get lots of them as Sweet Thing loves chicken giblets .... only use them in fly traps.... but with winter the pot idea sound good ....

which way do you put them in ....

bottom of the pot ? .....

with the solid plastic side facing up or down ?


I just put them around the pot under where the roots will grow.  They do hold the water and much cheaper than buying the crystals.  Don't think it matters what way you put them just as long as they can catch the water.

Also feeds the plant as there's blood in it saves buying blood and bone.

Thanks Sandi /)

An absolutely brilliant recycling tip.

Suppose they would be very good in vertical towers ..... never had much success with them except for some small florals.

Using Sandi's tip of meat tray packets

I planted a hanging basket of pansies


Amazing the colours you can get in pansies :)

Love the basket Abby...I've only ever grown pansies along pathways...think I'll try that!

We grew masses of violas in South Africa on our property, whenever I see violas (pansies) here in Australia, I do feel a bit homesick!

The names “pansy” and “viola” are interchangeable to many worldwide and even in Australia.

However there is a botanical difference between these two plants .... but the simple visual difference is that pansies have four petals pointing upwards, and only one pointing down, while violas have three petals pointing up and two pointing down.

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