Container Gardening with Paddi

Hi! This year I’m trying a new type of gardening. Well at least new to me, container vegetable gardening. You would think this is a simple thing to do but I have found that it’s not as easy as it seems. Come with me on my journey and learn and watch and see what grows.

First, you need to know if you want to do self-watering, regular containers or the new fabric raised bed containers. I decided to do all three to see which ones come out with the most bang for your buck or the easiest to do. Stay tuned!

6/2/2020 – Well, I’m off and running with my container vegetable garden! Before I got started, I watched a couple of YouTube videos to learn some of the basic ideas: How to build the best self-wicking bucket and How to grow vegetables in containers. I used what I learned to make a self-watering container for my garden vegetables, and that’s what I’m going to tell you about today. You will need:

  • One or more used plastic bottles, at least 19 ounce, rinsed and with the caps on. Drill a hole about an inch below the cap, and right at the bottom of each bottle.
  • A five-gallon bucket like the ones you use for mixing paint. Set one of the bottles into the pail and make a mark on the pail about an inch down from the top of the water bottle. You’ll drill a hole in the side of the bucket here, to let out excess water from your bucket.
  • Put the empty bottles into the bottom of the bucket (right-side up, with caps towards the top of the pail). Add special container potting soil designed for vegetables, right up to the top of the empty bottles. Shake the bucket to sift the dirt down and around all the bottles.
  • At this point you will add a layer of fertilizer. I used three kinds of fertilizer: 2 tablespoons of worm castings, 2 tablespoons of 4-6-4 fertilizer, and 1 tablespoon of mineral salt.
  • Add the rest of the soil all the way to the top of the bucket.
  • Stick in one or two plants depending on the plant size and bucket size.  Water well and put in a sunny location.
  • For the first week, water until all the soil has been hydrated. The empty plastic bottles at the bottom of the bucket will absorb the excess water. After that, if it hasn’t been too hot, water every third to fourth day.

Remember, the purpose is to have fun and to have fresh veggies all summer and fall! If you have any questions just email me at That’s it for this week! Happy Gardening, Paddi

Paddi recommends these resources to get started with container gardening:

Container Gardening for Beginners – an audiobook available via Hoopla. Check it out, and listen to it as you work in your garden!

Container Vegetable Gardening – an eBook available via Hoopla.

Need some inspiration to help you get started?

Through RBDigital, the library offers dozens of free digital gardening magazines that can be checked out for free! Selections include Better Homes & Gardens, Gardens Illustrated, Horticulture, Backyard, Garden Gate, Grow to Eat, Australian Country Gardens, and The English Garden.