Things You'll Need
Consider companion planting to protect your plants. Companion planting is the process of planting certain types of plants next to each other because they support each other. For example, the tall stalks of corn can help support the climbing vines of beans. Tall plans provide shade for smaller plants.
If you don't want to plant your vegetables in the ground, you can easily grow vegetables in Rubbermaid containers. These strong plastic containers can make an ideal home for growing vegetables, particularly for people who don't have a large yard. You can place the containers on a balcony or porch. The key to successfully planting a vegetable garden in Rubbermaid containers is to prepare the container for planting.
Purchase several Rubbermaid containers for your vegetables. Rubbermaid recommends its Roughneck series of containers for gardening. Use at least a five-gallon container for large plants, such as eggplants, cucumbers, beans and tomatoes. Choose the three-gallon container for smaller plants, such as carrots, lettuce and beets.
Drill holes into the bottom of the containers. In plastic containers, you need holes in the bottom for the water to drain. Make the holes at least a half inch in diameter and space them evenly on the bottom of the container.
Line the bottom with newspaper. This prevents soil from falling through the holes.
Fill the container with potting soil until it is almost full. Leave about two to three inches of space to add fertilizer after you've planted the seedlings.
Choose the vegetables that you want to plant. Think about your family's favorite vegetables when making this decision. While zucchini is relatively easy to grow, you don't want to plant it if no one likes zucchini.
Start off right with vegetable seedlings rather than plant individual seeds in your Rubbermaid containers--which may or may not grow. Follow the directions for planting seedlings to know how much space to leave in between plants.
Add a fertilizer to the container. A good fertilizer helps your plants to grow. If you have a composter, you can use this to fertilize the vegetables.
Water your plants regularly. Check the soil's moisture content to see if the plants need more water. Only give water when the soil feels dry: too much water can harm your plants.
Follow the directions for proper sunlight. The seedlings should come with directions for how much sunlight they should receive. The advantage of using Rubbermaid containers to grow vegetables is that you can move them in and out of the sunlight. Make sure that your plants get enough--but not too much--sunlight.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.