Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to provide healthy food for your family.  However, for many of us, the idea of planting a garden may seem out of reach, because of the cost, time, space, or experience needed to grow a successful garden. Anyone can grow a small garden in a container for very little money and time, in a space with at least 4 hours of sun. Your EBT card can be used to purchase items for starting a garden such as seeds or seedlings. 

Here is an easy way to grow greens or herbs in a recycled one-gallon plastic container.


  • Recycled one-gallon plastic containers
  • Sharp knife or clean scissors
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds or seedlings for
  • GREENS - lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard
  • HERBS - basil, mint, oregano, sage, rosemary
  • Spray bottle of water or small watering can


Follow these easy steps: 

  1. Thoroughly wash out the container with soap and hot water and remove the lid.
  2. Make several ¼ inch holes in the bottom of the container for drainage with the point of a sharp knife or clean scissors.   
  3. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut off the top of the container, leaving the handle attached.
  4. Fill the container with about 6 inches of potting soil and plant seeds, following the instructions on the seed packet.
  5. Using a spray bottle or a small watering can wet the soil with water until it is thoroughly moist. Sample of cutting the top off of the milk carton to use for growing seedlings.
  6. Place in a sunny location, keeping the soil moist.
  7. Seeds should sprout in 5 to 14 days. Continue to water and watch the plants grow.
  8. Your baby salad greens are ready to harvest when they reach 4 to 5 inches tall, or in about 30 to 45 days. 
  9. Harvest the larger leaves towards the bottom to help allow the smaller leaves to continue to grow. Herbs can be harvested throughout the
    growing season. Remove the flowers from herbs so they can keep growing. 
Completed milk carton that has had the top cut off.
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This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP in cooperation with Maryland’s Department of Human Services and University of Maryland Extension. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.