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Beginner’s Guide To: Container Gardening

Follow along some great ways to start and expand in your gardening journey!

Container gardening has become a beloved pastime for garden enthusiasts and city dwellers alike. It allows you to cultivate a lush garden in small spaces, making it ideal for balconies, patios, or even indoors. Choosing the right plant varieties and container sizes is essential for your garden’s success. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of plants suited for container gardening and recommend the appropriate fabric pot sizes to help you achieve a thriving and vibrant garden.

  1. Tomatoes: Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 5-gallon or larger. Tomatoes need ample space for their roots. A 5-gallon fabric pot or larger ensures sufficient room for growth. Choose determinate varieties for smaller spaces.
  2. Herbs: Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 1-2 gallons per herb. Herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary thrive in smaller pots. Allocate 1 to 2 gallons per herb for a bountiful harvest.
  3. Peppers : Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 3-5 gallons. For pepper plants, select a 3 to 5-gallon fabric pot to accommodate their root systems. They appreciate the extra space for healthy growth.
  4. Strawberries: Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 1-2 gallons per plant. Plant one strawberry plant per 1 to 2-gallon fabric pot. Hanging baskets or strawberry pots work well for these sweet fruits.
  5. Lavender : Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 3-5 gallons. Lavender enjoys well-draining soil and room to stretch its roots. Opt for a 3 to 5-gallon fabric pot to accommodate its growth.
  6. Salad Greens: Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 1-2 gallons. Lettuce, spinach, and arugula can thrive in small spaces. Use 1 to 2-gallon fabric pots for a constant supply of fresh greens.
  7. Dwarf Citrus Trees: Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 10-15 gallons. Dwarf citrus trees require ample space for both their roots and canopy. Choose a 10 to 15-gallon fabric pot for healthy growth and fruit production.
  8. Petunias (Petunia spp.): Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 1-2 gallons. Petunias flourish in small containers. A 1 to 2-gallon fabric pot provides ample space for these colorful annuals.
  9. Zinnias (Zinnia elegans): Recommended Fabric Pot Size: 1-2 gallons. Zinnias are also content in 1 to 2-gallon fabric pots. Plant them for vibrant blooms and pollinator attraction.

Container Gardening Tips:

  • Choose High-Quality Fabric Pots: Invest in durable, breathable fabric pots to ensure proper drainage and aeration for your plants’ roots.
  • Well-Draining Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix specific to your plant types. Good soil is essential for healthy container gardening.
  • Watering: Check soil moisture regularly, as containers can dry out quickly. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Sunlight: Position your containers in areas that receive the appropriate amount of sunlight for your chosen plants. Most vegetables and flowers require at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for your container plants.
  • Pruning and Maintenance: Regularly prune and deadhead your plants to encourage new growth and maintain a tidy appearance.

Container gardening offers a world of possibilities for gardeners with limited space. By choosing the right plant varieties and matching them with appropriately sized fabric pots, you can enjoy the beauty of flowers, the aroma of herbs, and the deliciousness of homegrown vegetables. With these tips and recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to creating a flourishing and vibrant container garden, no matter where you live. Happy gardening!

    • Chicago Botanic Gardens – Empowering people to develop edible spaces in their homes in order to redefine their relationships with nature and local food systems.



Contemporary Farmer Inc.

We aim to empower people to develop edible spaces in their homes in order to redefine their relationships with nature and local food systems.

Through personalized coaching in our private consultations, we spread awareness of regenerative agriculture practices to farmers, gardeners and home-growers of all ages, scales, and skill-levels. 

By offering products from local farm businesses who share our ethos, we prepare a new generation of contemporary farmers and foster a network of collaboration throughout  urban, rural, and suburban areas.

Outside of teaching bilingual workshops and building gardens with our clients, we sell microgreens across the city grown at our headquarters in Back of the Yards.

Visit our store or meet us in person at one of our four farmers markets in Pilsen, Back of the Yards, Little Village, or Austin.


Fresh Exchange

Enjoy the best of home and garden living with this complete guide featuring recipes, chickens, and a must-listen podcast. Get your ultimate DIY experience here!

Growing a Garden

Confidently grow your garden whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener looking for new ideas from how to try companion planting to rethinking how you grow tomatoes. We have plenty of information to help you grow a garden that feeds you and the ecosystem around you with our organic gardening techniques.

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Grow a garden, live healthier lives, and have fun doing it.


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  • Video about Microgreens & Sprouts – From Seed to Harvest.


Vertical Veg inspires and supports growing food in containers. I help you to transform a small space – like a balcony or patio – into an abundant container garden, filled with herbs, fruit, veg, beauty and life.