Cool container vegetable gardens

Jon Traunfeld
container vegetable garden

Growing in containers allows just about everyone to experience the joy of vegetable gardening. Many "in-ground" gardeners also plant and maintain herb and vegetable plants in containers close to home for convenience and beauty. Our online fact sheet Container Vegetable Gardening: Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces has all of the detailed information you need to be successful: types of containers and potting soil, watering, fertilizing, etc. I love to see unusual container gardens that exemplify resourcefulness and ingenuity. Here are some examples of container vegetables that I hope will provide some amusement and inspiration.

I learned about these “plant towers” from Ben Friton of CanYaLove. Cylinders made from wire fencing are supported by a central wood post and lined with weed barrier. Small holes or slits are made to plant seeds and transplants. plant tower early
This photo was taken six weeks after the one above. plant tower late
These creative pallet gardens were featured by UME Master Gardeners at the Cecil Co. Fair last summer. Doris Behnke, UME Ag Educator and MG Coordinator, says “the vertical planter we made with the herbs planted in it was a half of a pallet. We then put chicken wire between each of the boards and lined the wire with landscaping fabric to keep the soil from falling through.” pallet planter
Here’s another half of a pallet, painted yellow with recycled 2 liter soda bottles as planters hanging down the front of the pallet. pallet planter 2
How about sweet potatoes grown in 100% compost in a plastic laundry bin? UME Master Gardener Gail Kladitis ended up with a basket of sweet roots. Thanks for the photos Gail. sw pot basket 1
sw pot basket 2   sw pot basket 3 sw pot basket 4
Cherry tomatoes in a salad box? You bet! This photo was submitted by Jeanine Smetana, UME Master Gardener in Harford Co. The box is only 3 ½ -in. deep and is filled with a soilless growing media. Select a cherry tomato cultivar recommended for hanging baskets. tom in salad box
And another twist on salad and boxes... Former Urban Ag Educator Josue Lopez sent this photo of his “off-the-deck” salad box. It’s deer-proof! deck salad box
Bladensburg High School students under the tutelage of Deborah Archer, UME FSNE Educator, grew vegetable and herb plants last year in grow bags irrigated with drip irrigation. grow bags
A Grow It Eat It follower sent in this photo showing a novel adaptation of the “upside down tomato”. There is room for 16 tomato plants- 8 growing out the bottom (upside down) and 8 growing out of the top of the 5-gallon buckets. upside down tomato

So use your imagination this summer to create some novel container gardens based on your interests and available materials. And keep those photos coming…send them to

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