Gardening: 3 Must-Have Veggies for Container Gardens

By Tiffany Selvey, Master Gardener and mama of 1

As the days grow longer and the air becomes sweet with honeysuckle blooms, my palms get itchy with anticipation. It’s time to plant.

If you’re starting to get the gardening itch too, then you’ll be happy that today’s article contains step-by-step instructions to grow the 3 must-have veggies of the summer season: Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. In the spirit of keeping things simple, every item on this list can be purchased in one trip to Lowes, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart.

Shopping list:

  • 3- 24” pots: You can use Terra Cotta, Ceramic or Plastic just make sure there is one or more drainage holes.
  • 60 quarts Organic Choice Miracle Grow potting soil
  • 1 tomato plant: Patio, Better Bush, Husky Cherry Red, or Bush Goliath
  • 1 bush cucumber plant (the description must say specifically “bush”, if it doesn’t it’s a climbing pole plant)
  • 1 pepper plant: Any sweet pepper, bell pepper, Jalapeno or other pepper will work well
  • 33” tomato cage
  • 1 bag of organic mulch


  1. Fill the first planter ¾ of the way with soil.
  2. Place  the tomato plant in the center of the pot so that the bottom leaves are about where the top of the filled soil will be. If you are using a biodegradable jiffy pot (it’s brown and papery-looking), tear off the plastic label, tear off the bottom of the pot, and plant the whole thing. It’s perfectly fine to bury part of the stem because it will sprout roots!
  3. Fill the rest of your tomato pot with soil, and place the tomato cage into the pot with spiked ends at least 6” into the soil.
  4. Fill the second planter completely with soil.
  5. Dig a 4” by 4” hole in the center of the soil, and place the pepper plant roots in the hole and fill with soil. The top of the root ball (where the roots start) should be even with the filled soil line.
  6. Fill the third planter completely with soil.
  7. Plant the cucumber the same way you did the pepper plant.
  8. Cover the top of the soil of each pot with 1” of mulch.
  9. Water all the plants thoroughly and place in  full sun.

When growing in containers you aren’t likely to encounter many pests or disease and our soil option takes care of fertilization for us, so maintenance is minimal. Just water thoroughly once a week when it’s below 80 degrees, and twice a week or as needed in the heat of summer, and enjoy your harvests!

Tiffany Selvey is a Master Gardener who writes about her passion for growing, cooking, and living naturally at When she’s not elbow deep in soil, she enjoys raising a very active son, laughing with her husband, and wrangling their five pets. Click HERE to read more in our Gardening Category.