Container Garden

Plants being transported into a container garden.

Container gardening is ideal for small spaces and areas with compacted or poor soil. Containers help create ideal growing conditions by selecting an area with adequate light, a container with good drainage, using quality potting mix, and a slow-release fertilizer, like Milorganite.

Select a Container

  • Select a container with drainage holes, or make your own. Keep drain holes open by placing small stones in the container bottom before filling it with potting mix. Healthy plants need room to grow, but also oxygen for the roots. Excess water must be able to escape or plants will drown.
  • Porous containers made from unglazed terracotta or clay, timber, paper pulp and other natural materials allow moisture and air to move through them. The key benefits with materials that ‘breathe’ is this allows air to circulate around plant roots and as the moisture evaporates out the side of the pot it cools the soil and helps draw excess water and prevents rotting. The down side is these containers dry out more quickly and so does the potting mix so they need watering more frequently.

Quality Potting Mix

A good potting mix is fluffy, holds moisture, and gives plant roots the perfect balance of air, moisture, nutrition, and stability. If the potting mix is too dense or too wet, plant roots may become stunted or even die.

Select Plants

Select plants based on the plant growth size and the size of your container and how much sun the area you will place the container will receive.


Fertilize with Milorganite when planting and then every 6-8 weeks. For best results gently work Milorganite into the first inch of soil. The salt free formula will not burn your tender plants, and keeps troublesome salts from building up. The slow-release nitrogen will feed your plants evenly and gradually, without interfering with flowering or fruit and vegetable development.


Water new plantings thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil moist, but be careful to not over water. Water early in the morning to reduce the risk of disease and water lost to evaporation, and wait until the soil is crumbly and slightly moist before watering again. As plants mature water less frequently and deeply for stronger root development.

For more gardening tips, read 5 Steps to a Fabulous Garden by Melinda Myers.

Container Application
Container Size Tablespoons of Milorganite
5-Gallon 10 (2/3 cup)
2-Gallon 4
1-Gallon 2
½-Gallon 1
6-Inch ½
This video explains how to start a container garden.