35 creative container vegetable garden ideas with beautiful planters, vertical gardening, DIY pots, grow bags, & recycled gallon buckets!
Whether you have a big patio or a small balcony, container vegetable garden is a great way to bring more beauty and abundance to your garden.
There are endless creative choices when it come to container vegetable gardens. Before we explore all the creative ideas, here are a few important things to keep in mind that will help ensure a successful vegetable container garden no matter what kind of planters and pots you use.
These key things are location, size, soil and watering needs. Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight to thrive. Some varieties need bigger planters than others. Thirsty plants and smaller containers will require more frequent watering. Good quality soil is key. Here’s a complete guide on vegetable gardening, with great tips on soil building, starting seeds, growing, harvesting, & more!
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Last week we shared 20 best vegetables to grow in containers. Now let’s start with one of my favorite container vegetable garden ideas!
Grow bags and fabric pots for container vegetable gardening
Grow bags and fabric pots like these have been gaining popularity in recent years. They are lightweight, durable, washable, allow more oxygen for plant roots, and support beneficial microorganisms and bacteria.
- Use 7 Gallon grow bags for herbs, lettuce, spinach, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, radish, parsnips, and turnips.
- Use 10 Gallon grow bags for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, eggplants, brussel sprouts, artichokes, tomatoes, beans, carrots, onions, and beets.
- Use 20 Gallon grow bags for potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, melon, squash, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and other small fruits
Grow bags also come in a wide variety of colors and shades. In colder climates, try darker colors to gain a jump start on spring, since they warm up faster and hold heat longer. Source
Shopping bag container vegetable garden
Reusable shopping bags can also be used as containers to grow vegetables. Look at these gorgeous cabbage plants growing in shopping bags! See video tutorial below-
5 gallon buckets as planters
Many people share where to find free 5 gallon buckets, which make great size pots for gardening.
Places like grocery store bakeries, local deli’s or restaurants receive food ingredients such as cake batter, icing, pickles in 5 gallon buckets, and will give you the empty buckets for free. Just remember to drill holes on the bottom for drainage before planting them! Via Growing Gardens
Painted buckets container vegetable garden ideas
A quick and easy way to make 5 gallon buckets look attractive in you container garden is to paint them like this.
Build a closure for your container vegetable garden
Hide ugly plastic pots and buckets with and attractive wooden planter box! Via The Scrap Shoppe
This would be a good project to make with pallet wood – here are tips on where to find them and how to use pallets for DIY.
We also made a great looking wood planter box that has a plastic pot inside. Here’s the tutorial.
Raised box vegetable garden
A raised planter box like this looks attractive on a patio or deck. It’s also great for people with limited mobility but love to garden.
We are big fans of raised bed gardens, and here are 28 best raised bed ideas you can try in your garden, including free plans to build a similar elevated planter box.
Recycled bottle planter
My friend Mike at Grow Happy Gardening always finds the coolest containers to grow his tomatoes and peppers in his urban garden. This tomato in a bottle would make a great gift too, don’t you think?
Recycled tin can planter
If I ever get a good looking large coffee can or tomato sauce can, I am going to copy Mike and upcycle it to make a one-of-a-kind tomato planter!
Make planters from beer cans and soda cans
Rodrigo is amazing at growing peppers in his Baja garden. I just love these playful containers he made from tall aluminum cans.
DIY Stacked herb and vegetable planter
Of course we need to grow some herbs in a container vegetable garden. A stack planter like this increases growing space and allows us to grow many delicious herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, chives, etc. (Original image source lost. Please let me know if you find it!)
Make a strawberry tower planter
Strawberries aren’t really vegetables, but this creative idea can be applied to grow smaller veggies like lettuce and mixed greens. Here’s a tutorial on how to make a strawberry planter with built-in reservoir, from old plastic pots.
Mixed vegetable container garden
If you have a small balcony or patio, consider a mixed planting of several vegetables, herbs and flowers in one container. This pot by Christina saves space and looks beautiful. If you are a beginner gardener, start with the most rewarding and easiest vegetables the first year. Here’s our list of 16 easiest vegetables to grow!
Colorful vegetables in decorative pots
Shapes and textures in a container vegetable garden
Vegetables are not only delicious but also beautiful to look at. They offer so many different textures, shapes, and colors. Here, a cabbage plant looks like a giant flower.
Dwarf vegetables in small containers
There are many compact varieties of vegetables great for small space container gardens. These micro tomatoes are productive and small enough to grow on a window sill indoors. Via My Brentwood Garden
Companion planting in a container vegetable garden
Use Mulch in container vegetable gardening
Soil in a container dry out faster. A layer of mulch can help retain soil moisture and reduce watering frequency. Plastic or glazed ceramic pots also retain moisture better than terracotta pots. Via My Kiwi Life
How many vegetables to plant in each pot
Use the spacing requirements for each vegetable as a guide. Some vegetables such as onions, potatoes, carrots and beets can be spaced at 4” apart. Most bigger plants such tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and zucchini will grow better with one plant per pot. Image source here and here.
Use decorative pots to grow vegetables
Make your container vegetable garden beautiful with some attractive containers. Shallow and wide pots are perfect for lettuce, radish and beets, while deeper containers are great for tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. Via Fine Gardening
Grow vegetables in hanging basket
Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and many other vegetables can be grown in hanging baskets or pots. It is a good solution for limited small space, and looks super cool. Choose small compact varieties and water the hanging planter regularly. Source
Balcony container vegetable gardening ideas
Old wine crates make great planters for smaller vegetable varieties such as lettuce, radish, and mixed greens. Via Karin‘s beautiful balcony garden with layers of plants and pots.
Reuse wooden crates as plant containers
To make your wood crate containers last longer, consider lining the interior with heavy plastic bag and adding drainage holes at the bottom. Here, a mix of wooden boxes make a really charming urban vegetable garden.
Colorful DIY vertical garden with crates
There are many benefits of vertical gardens. Growing vertical can save space, and make a blank wall or fence look beautiful. Via The Paper Mama
Vertical container vegetable garden on a DIY ladder planter
This tutorial shows you how to build a great looking ladder planter for vertical vegetable gardening. Shallow rooted plants such as lettuce, radish, micro tomatoes, and bok choy are great for this type of garden.
Recycled tire vertical planter vegetable garden
Get creative with vertical gardening! A few old tires are transformed into this whimsical vertical vegetable garden with some paints and wood posts.
Hanging pots vertical container vegetable garden
This vertical garden made of small 6” to 8” pots double functions as a decorative garden screen.
Vertical lettuce garden with recycled plastic bottles
There are so many ways to up-cycle and re-use plastic bottles in the home and garden. See how to create this vertical salad garden in video tutorial below-
Gutter hydroponic herb and vegetable garden
This productive hydroponic vegetable garden is overflowing with lettuce and basil. It’s a great way to have high density planting in a small space garden. ( Original image source lost. Please let me know if you find it!)
Colorful vegetable container garden mixed with flowers
Use colorful containers and a mix of vegetables and flowers to create your beautiful container vegetable garden. There are also many edible flowers you can grow, like borage, calendula, and nasturtiums. Via Pamela Crawford
Colorful trellis as container garden art
Add a little extra garden decor to your container vegetable garden such as a colorful trellis to make it even more beautiful. Via Pamela Crawford
Grow melons in 5 gallon buckets
Melons are in the same family as cucumbers, so I just have to include a couple of fun ideas on growing melons in containers. See video tutorials below-
Happy gardening! See you soon!