Container gardening, is not limited to flowers and shrubs.

If you live somewhere, where you can't have a backyard garden, such as an apartment, or you rent a house and are not allowed to dig up the yard. Then you can still have the great fresh just picked freshness of your own vegetables right on your doorstep.

Follow the same basic rules as you would a larger garden, but remember container gardening will require more watering then usual, as the drainage is better and the soil tends to dry out quicker.

1. Tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, peppers and some lettuces can be grown in containers. Since your room is limited, make a list of your favorite veggies. If tomatoes are number one then you are going to want more of them. You can also start an herb garden if you have a tiny corner or space, as these do not take up much room.


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2. You need an area that is going to get sunlight. You don't want a shaded back porch unless it can get at least five hours or more of direct sunlight. So, this is where you have to put on your thinking cap. Maybe the side door has a bright area? Or the front corner of your covered porch? Watch your proposed areas for a day or two and take note of which area gets the most amount of sunlight. Then this will be your new container garden.

3. Now you need to decide which veggies you are going to grow, because the size of the pot will differ for each one. If you want to grow more tomatoes, then they have deeper roots and will need a larger deeper pot. But veggies such as lettuce, radishes and herbs don't need much depth at all, maybe eight inches of depth, like a window box.

4. Don't just go and dig up soil from the yard, or down the street, you need potting soil or the best option is those soil less potting mixes made just for container gardening. this way the roots won't drown in heavy soil.

5. Container veggies need more fertilizing, since more watering means you lose more nutrients from the planting material. There are many on the market, a good time release one will stick around longer, but you can also get organic fertilizers, such as seaweed based and others. Check at your local garden center.

Do, not overcrowd your plants. Get the right number of containers or the right size for your veggies. You can start off from seeds, but I find with container gardening, it is good to purchase seedlings. You can then plant them the right space apart.

You can also plant a few pots of flowers in between your container garden. You can end up with a beautiful garden just outside your door. Veggies are just as pretty as many flowers, so enjoy!

If you have arranged your garden on your front porch or back patio, then you know you risk critters coming for a midnight buffet on your veggie garden. They are not shy, and will not think twice about heading for your container garden. They may actually get themselves quite comfortable and sit on your chair and eat them (this happened to me, I got up the next morning to find evidence of a critter sitting on my chair and a 1/2 eaten tomato beside it.)

So, get yourself a rag, or piece of old t-shirt, and soak it in white vinegar. Then attach it to a stick and stick it in one of your containers. Best to put it in the first container they would come to. The vinegar will dry and you will not notice it, but they will. The night critters that are likely to be attracted to your garden, such as raccoon etc.. can not stand the smell of any kind of vinegar. Hopefully that puts them off from your garden.

If you have a lot of night critters, you can put a few of these sticks up. or you can net the area. But I find warding them off with the vinegar smell more effective, as many raccoons will shred netting.

You could even put a vinegar soaked rag right at the entrance to the area. It doesn't have to be a big flag of a t-shirt, that looks like you left your laundry outside, just a piece about the size of a Kleenex.

Make sure you water your container garden well, as it will dry out quicker than a regular outside veggie garden. But the tomatoes will taste unbelievable. I like to grow the cherry tomatoes in my containers. You will still need to stake a tomato plant, but this is easy in a container.

The benefits to container gardening are numerous, but this is a great way to garden if you have trouble bending down or kneeling on the ground. You can have your containers on shelves, or raised off the ground, so that you can sit in a chair and take care of your veggies. You can make it your sitting area and eating area for outside, and be surrounded by your veggies. This is the part I like.

You can sit outside amongst your container garden and de-stress from your day, have a beverage of your choice, and take in that sweet aroma of your veggie garden in progress. You are right there too, which means you can see if there are any insects or weeds or any problems right away, without even leaving your chair!

I have friends that have big backyards, that still prefer to do container gardening on their porch for the reason of being able to sit amongst them after work, and smell the tomatoes. So, this is not just limited to the backyard. Growing what we like to eat, is good for the soul, and is good for our bodies too. We know exactly what is in this food, since we grew it ourselves.

You can get creative with the containers, you are not limited to the garden center. As long as you have drainage you can grow veggies or flowers in any container, even old rubber boots!