Container Gardening 101: How to Start Your Small Garden

Apr 03, 2024

Welcome to The Bucks County Garden Girl Blog, where we're all about turning your green dreams into flourishing realities! Today, let's talk about an exciting and accessible way to start your garden journey: CONTAINER GARDENING. Whether you're short on space, time, or experience, container gardening offers a fantastic solution to bring the beauty of nature right to your doorstep.

Why Choose Container Gardening?

Container gardening is incredibly versatile and accessible, making it the perfect choice for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike. Here's why it's a great option:

  1. Space Flexibility: Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a cozy apartment balcony, containers can fit anywhere, making gardening possible for everyone. And you can grow almost all veggies for your kitchen garden in a simple terracotta pot!

  2. Ease of Maintenance: Containers allow for better control over soil quality, drainage, and sunlight exposure, making them easier to manage than traditional in-ground gardens.

  3. Design Freedom: With containers, you have the freedom to experiment with different plant combinations, styles, and arrangements, letting your creativity run wild.

Getting Started: The Basics

Now that we've covered why container gardening is a fantastic choice, let's dive into how you can start your own small garden oasis.

1. Choose Your Containers: When selecting containers, consider both functionality and aesthetics. Ensure they have drainage holes to prevent water-logging. You never want to plant into a pot that does not have a hole in the bottom. Putting rocks in the bottom will NOT help (it will actually make problems worse).

2. Select Your Plants: The key to a successful container garden is choosing the right plants. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, climate, and the mature size of the plants. If you are thinking about growing some larger vegetables (kale, collards, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers) will want a pot that is at least 14 inches! Bigger is better for these plants. Your basic lettuce, spinach and herbs can be in smaller pots.

3. Prepare Your Soil: Use a high-quality potting mix specifically formulated for container gardening. This ensures proper drainage and provides essential nutrients for your plants. Avoid using garden soil, as it may compact in containers and hinder plant growth. I personally always choose ORGANIC as well.

4. Planting Your Garden: Once you have your containers, plants, and soil ready, it's time to get your hands dirty! Start by filling each container with potting mix, leaving enough space to accommodate the roots of your plants. Carefully arrange your plants according to your design, ensuring they have enough room to grow. Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil.

5. Maintenance Tips: To keep your container garden thriving, regular maintenance is key. Water your plants as needed, checking the soil moisture regularly.  If you stick your finger in the soil a couple inches down and it feels dry, it is time to water. I recommend a deep soak (where the water comes through the bottom) vs. just giving it a small amount of water on top. Prune dead or yellowing leaves, and repot plants as they outgrow their containers.

6. Harvest & Enjoy Your Garden: Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Depending on what you are growing, you will harvest as needed! Container gardening is not just about nurturing plants; it's also about creating a space that brings joy and serenity to your life...enjoy!


Starting a small garden with containers is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that anyone can embark on. With a little creativity, care, and patience, you can transform even the smallest space into an amazing kitchen garden. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening gloves, and let's get growing!

Stay tuned to The Bucks County Garden Girl blog for more tips, tricks, and inspiration to elevate your gardening game. Until next time, happy gardening!