Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container Garden

Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container Garden
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Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container GardenBy Richard Titterington

This easy to assemble container garden is a good way to grow vegetables. You can place the container in a spot with full sun, water regularly and your plants will be fed all summer long with one application of fertilizer!

Assembling Your Container

Start with a plastic planter. The one I used was 12 inches deep and 12 inches deep by 28 inches long. All you need is a plastic rectangle shaped container of some type.

Cut two or three pieces of 2" or 3" plastic pipe, about 1" shorter then the length of the container and lay them flat in the bottom of the container, drill a row 5/32 holes along the side of each piece of pipe. Lay a piece of screen or something similar on top of the pipes. This serves as the water storage area. 

Drill 2 holes on each end of the tub, so you can run a piece of wire through the holes. The wire is used to secure the pieces of wood, which are used as plant supports. They can be 1 inch by 1 inch and as high as you want the supports to be, depending on what kind of plants you are going to have in that tub. 

The watering tube: Cut a piece of 1 1/4 inch round plastic pipe, about 3 inches higher than the top of the tub, cutting the bottom of it at an angle. This goes in the corner of the tub, and will be used for adding the water. Drill a 3/4 inch drainage hole in the side of the tub, about even with the piece of screen.

Place the watering pipe and the plant support stakes you cut earlier in the tub. Secure the support stakes with the wire as I mentioned earlier. When these are in place add your soil mix. I used a mixture of 1/3 top soil, 1/3 peat and 1/3 compost. Add a cup of 12-12-12 fertilizer in a strip down the very center of the tub on top of the soil. You will need about a cup of fertilizer. After adding this then cover the entire tub with a piece of black plastic, cut so it overlaps the top of the tub by 3-4 inches to cover the top. I used a bungee cord wrapped around the outside of the tub, to hold the plastic in place. 

Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container Garden

Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container Garden

Self Fertilizing Vegetable Container Garden


Plants for Your Container

You will add plants to your container by cutting holes in the plastic along the edges....NOT in the middle or near the fertilizer. You can have 2-3 plants on each side. So you would cut an X in the plastic and with your hand move the soil aside, put in your plant, and pat the soil back down, then smooth down the plastic. After you have added your plants, take the hose and water ONLY in the tube you placed on the side of the container. Add water until it starts running out of the drainage hole you drilled. This is how you will water the container each time. At first you may not need to water as much while the weather is mild, but later you will most likely need to water each day. Do not let the tub dry out. You will not replace the fertilizer OR remove the plastic the entire season.

Planting suggestions:

-Plant all tomatoes-patio varieties and cherry tomatoes. You may need to add extra smaller stakes, depending on how many plants you use.

-One cucumber plant on each end, and two cherry tomato plants-one on each side. The cucumbers can be tied to the stakes you placed at the ends as they vine.

-Peas or beans on the ends to vine up the side poles, and other vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower in the middle.

-I planted one container with four broccoli plants, which worked well.

-Tomatoes, peppers and basil or oregano are also a good combination.

Image: Tomato Plant


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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