Starting a Garden

Updated on April 25, 2013
T.H. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
11 answers

I'd love to get some clay pots and grow some things with my kids. What are the best things to grow out of clay pots. I don't have the ground worked to do a proper garden this year so we are stuck with pots.

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So What Happened?

Just M - that cracked me up! That never even crossed my mind! Can you tell I'm old now? I put it in quotations b/c I don't have an actual garden, just the clay pots. I'll take them out!

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Depends on how big the pots are. I've used plastic 5gal buckets to grow tomato plants in before and it worked great! Smaller pots can be used for herbs, lettuce, radish, green onions. A long rectangle type planter could be used to grow some green beans and then have something for them to clmb up on one side (sit by fence etc). Larger type pots could also grow some summer squash or pepper plants. Med pot should work for eggplant............I would definetly do some nice lettuce mixes though. Get 6 small/med size pots and plant one each week with a nice lettuce mix, then you can pick them in weekly rotations! and radishes are super easy too.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Philadelphia on

i thought the quotations around garden meant you wanted to grow pot

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Others have given some excellent advice, and I agree that having good soil is very important. All kinds of herbs do very well in pots - oregano, basil, rosemary, mint (it needs to be contained because it spreads rapidly), etc.

One person mentioned considering a raised bed garden, and you may want to consider that. A square-foot garden doesn't take up much room, and it's so much fun! I have several square-foot gardens, and I'm shocked by how much I'm able to grow. They're really beautiful gardens, too. Here is a link to a book that I love! I use it all the time as a quick reference guide. Have fun gardening with your kids! My boys love gardening with me, too. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If you can get past the 'ugly' factor, those big black plastic pots are a great way to go. I can grow darn near anything in them and plan to do carrots, tomatoes and red bell peppers this summer in them. (I have good soil, but have gardened my backyard to the teeth so there's no room in the ground). Remember that pots do require more frequent watering (except tomatoes...don't overwater them). They're also moveable, which is nice. You can also do greens in a shady spot or beans in the sun.

Also, make sure to talk to a nursery about soil prep. If you mix your compost into the potting mix, that's better than just straight potting mix. Tomatoes usually need some bit of horticultural lime mixed in, too. Talk to the nursery to get good advice for best results.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have never had success with container gardens but I wanted to suggest if you take garden out of scare quotes and add container in front of it you will get better results.

Oh, but if it is only an issue of soil treatment you may want to consider a raised garden bed, that way you are adding the soil mix on top of the unprepared area. Just put down some newspaper and build on top, then next year you just turn it all under, instant garden! :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Cherry tomatoes
Sweet basil
My dad used to grow all of those in containers, in addition to his regular highly productive urban garden.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

why is 'garden' in quotation marks?
container gardens are still gardens.
you can grow anything in a pot that you can grow in the ground. for some things like tomatoes you'll want a bigger pot, of course, but if you have good soil they'll be perfectly happy, and require no weeding. but pots need to be watered daily.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Clay pots are fine, they just need to be big enough and you need to keep them watered. I prefer clay pots to plastic - many veggies need well drained soil and I have had bad luck with plants drowning after having a week of rain (which in the PNW happens more often than not...)
I would not put tar into pots that you use to grow edibles - yuck!

The secret is getting good soil, for veggies I get a 50/50 soil/compost mix. I use an organic fertilizer (which does not burn your plants and releases slowly) and if you have no experience gardening get starts instead of seeds.

I have successfully grown tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, and peas (do these from seed, they are very forgiving) and a bunch of herbs in pots.

If you do big pots you may want to put them on casters... it will be very hard to move them when they are filled with dirt and plants.

Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have had bad luck with clay pots because they dry out so quickly, so if you use them, tar the insides or coat it with something to lock in water.

find you sunniest spot. You need 8 hours of sunshine for things like tomatoes and peppers, 6 hours minimum for most vegetables.

you need good rich soil. Get a pottting soil from the store. What ever you do don't use native soil in pots.

Stick to proven winners for your first time: cherry tomatoes, green beens, radishes, lettuce.

Look into vertical gardening if you lack space. Use climbers like cucumbers, tomatoes, beans...

You will need to water faithfully, especially in clay pots. Look into a timed drip system. They really are very simple to figure out. You just need a splitter at you hose water spigot, the timer, some 1/2" tubing, and a few various attachments that go right into your pots.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

herbs, tomatoes, jalapeños, asparagus
Really anything that isn't a root or a vine should work:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

In large pots you can grow bush cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce very easily. In smaller pots you can grow different herbs.

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