Container gardening can be a very rewarding experience. There are very few rules and only a few simple things you need to get started. Here are some tips that will help you to get started in this world.
The first thing you need to worry about is the size of the container you are going to use. There is a easy rule of thumb to follow. A 24-inch diameter pot will accommodate most plants. Any planter that you purchase at your local greenhouse will be set up to be used for this purpose. If you have a container that you are just dying to convert to a planter don't worry because it can be done. You can convert any container to a planter by simply drilling holes in it near the bottom. The holes can be drilled in the bottom if the container does not rest directly on the ground. The holes provide drainage for the soil.
There are many commercially available potting soils. They mix peat moss, compost, bark and perlite or vermiculite. The perlite and vermiculite will aerate your soil and keep it moist. You do not need these two components if you are only going to raise herbs. I also like to have two or three inches of sand at the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage. There are many "fillers" that you can purchase at the garden store. I like to be "old school" and use sand as my filler. One advantage of using a commercial filler is that it is much lighter than sand.
Lets Get Started:
I realize that you have visions of lush tomato plants and other succulent vegetables right out of the gate. The best plant to begin with are herbs. Herbs will thrive in containers and they are very forgiving if you forget to water them. My favorite herb is rosemary. I like it because when it is needed, you simply snip a couple of sprigs and then they grow back quickly. Fresh spices will add zest to any dish you are cooking. They are much better than the dried ones you purchase at the supermarket. Start out small with one kind of herb and then when you have grown confident with it, you can plant two or three different kinds of herbs in the same pot. Think about how much money you will save if you have all of your spices at your fingertips instead of having to purchase each one.
Next you should begin growing leaf lettuce. It is another plant that is very easy to grow.
Lighting is another key element that you need to consider. Most garden plants require full sunlight. Plants like tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, and even some herbs such as rosemary and parsley require full sun. This is the most important thing to consider when you are going to choose a place for your planter.
Finally, just choose a vegetable and see how it works. You began this journey to have fun, so have fun and try different things. It will truly be rewarding to see how your plants respond to what you do. I find great satisfaction in looking at the plants that I have planted and nourished.