5 Basic Needs to Start a Container Garden

When thinking about Earth Month, many minds go to beautiful images of gardens and freshly-picked produce.

It’s a dream, for sure, but sadly more and more of us are living in settings where that sprawling vegetable patch just isn’t attainable. Lucky for us, container gardening is an option. No matter how big (or small) your space, you can most likely get a container garden going — even if it’s just one pot. Herbs, tomatoes, greens, peppers, spring onions – they are all great options for us small-space farmers. Pick up some planters and read on for tips and tricks to get your garden growing. 

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Potting Soil

If you’re growing in a container, you’ll want to make sure you purchase some good, organic potting soil. It’s important to note that top soil or dirt from your friend’s backyard just won’t cut it. Potting soil contains materials that add additional nutrition, and is made to be light and airy, allowing for good drainage. You’ll want to buy organic because many of the commercial varieties are often treated with chemicals to prevent the growth of weeds or plant-borne diseases.

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Whenever you’re filling a pot with soil, mix in some perlite. These little white balls are naturally-occurring volcanic glass, and they’ll help your plants breathe. The perlite stops soil from getting compacted and is a great filtration aid. 

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Every good gardener needs a little hand spade. You’ll end up using this guy more than you think.


One of the first things I learned after starting a container garden is how important pruning is. It seems counterintuitive, but a little snip snip here and there really helps your plants flourish. As tomatoes grow, you’ll want to cut off the undergrowth to encourage the main (stronger) branches to reach out. Sheers are also super helpful when you want to harvest. I love running outside and snipping off some fresh parsley and chives for a quick upgrade to my dinner.

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As your plants grow (especially tomatoes & peppers), they’re going to need some support to hold them up. Have a few wooden or metal stakes on hand to prop them up with as they start to fall over. You can reuse the stakes from year to year, and all it takes is some string to affix them to the plants.

+ Are you planning a garden this year? What are you growing? Please share in the comments!

Check out more earth-friendly tips and tricks from our #FPEarthMonth series!

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot

Follow Naomi on Instagram @NumieAbbot


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8 years ago

I’ll be helping my super Portuguese 84 yo grandfather with his huge veggie garden – he is amazing for doing it every year, I admire that so much! Loved this article – I didn’t know about perlite :)

Warm Regards,

Megan b
8 years ago

I’m really wanting to plant a small garden, but a tad bit overwhelmed. Right now I have rosemary and lavender planted, but nothing is growing at the moment. Patience is key, I have learned, when it comes to growing anything from seeds. I did also plant some wildflowers and just noticed them sprouting this morning. So that was pretty exciting lol

8 years ago

Nice post! The perlite really is something I have to keep in mind! I’ve got quite some little, young plants in my windowsill right now, because in my country, the Netherlands, one of the big supermarkets came up with a really succesful marketing idea. They gave away little cardboard pots and instant soil with different seeds in each pot, when you had purchased some set amount of money at their store. Ofcourse it won’t be very organic and all, but at least my plan to start a little windowsillgarden is finally working out (since I kind of failed last times I tried..) It’s so good to see my little plants enjoy the sun every morning when I wake up. I think gardening really has something about it that always makes you happy :)

8 years ago

I want to start a small herb garden, and this post is super helpful!

xo, Liz

8 years ago

This is beautiful. I’d love to begin a small veggie and legume garden, along with a fruit tree garden in my front yard!