Getting Creative with Containers

If you don't have the space for a vegetable garden or if your outdoor space doesn't provide the necessary elements to produce the flower garden you've always wanted, container gardening is a great alternative.

What You'll Need

Estabrook's has all the materials to get you started with this fun and creative hobby which is only limited by your imagination! To get you started, here are some of the basic elements you'll need:


Containers are available in many sizes, shapes, and materials. The most important thing to look for in a container is an adequate number of holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Plants do not like sitting in standing water, so if a container isn't draining appropriately, additional holes should be drilled or punched into it.

The size of the container will be determined by the plants you'd like to plant within it. Most plants grown in the soil can generally be grown in containers as long as ample space is provided for them to develop roots. Shallow-rooted crops like lettuce, peppers, radishes, herbs and most annuals need a container at least 6 inches in diameter with an 8 inch soil depth. Bushel baskets, half barrels, wooden tubs, or large pressed paper containers are ideal for growing tomatoes, squash, pole beans, cucumbers, and deep-rooted perennials.


A fairly lightweight mix is recommended for container gardening. Soil straight from the garden cannot be used in a container because it will either be too heavy or drain too quickly, causing your containers to dry out. For this reason, we recommend a packaged potting soil that is relatively lightweight.


A light application of an organic fertilizer can be mixed into the soil at planting time. A water-soluble fertilizer can then be applied every two to three weeks. An occasional application of fish emulsion or compost can also be beneficial, adding trace elements to the soil. When adding fertilizer, make sure to not add more than the recommended rate of any fertilizer. Doing so may cause fertilizer burn and kill your plants. Make sure to check your fertilizer's usage information before beginning any application.

Plant Material

Plant breeders have helped to make container gardening more practical by breeding plants that have a compact growth habit. Almost any vegetable, annual or perennial flower can be adapted to container culture. The possibilities are endless!

And don't forget - if you don't have the time (or inclination) to create your own combination planter, one of our talented staff members would be happy to do it for you!