Serious Green: Planting a Container Garden

While plenty of us would love to be outdoor gardens in our hypothetical sprawling backyards, the reality is that many of us lack the space to do so. Especially in urban areas, many apartment-dwellers don't have a square inch of soil to call their own. But container-potted plants can flourish in all kinds of unlikely spaces. (And not just that geranium on your windowsill.) Here are a few tips for planning your own container garden:

Think Beyond the Herb Garden

While you'll never get a cornfield or an apple tree on your fire escape, some surprisingly sizeable vegetables do just fine: cauliflower, beans, carrots, eggplants, potatoes, and greens from kale to romaine lettuce. This handy guide from Sunset magazine helps you determine the best pot for each plant. [via The Kitchn]

Know Your Sunlight

Before you start planting, make sure you know how much direct light your outdoor space gets each day. Many lettuces are all right in partial shade, but heartier veggies drink up all the sun they can get.

Investigate and Invest

Seeds planted in low-quality soil might not take, and salvaged plastic pots will quickly wither and warp under the sun. And many kinds of wooden crates will rot within a season or two. While planting in a milk jug can be a fun project, more serious gardeners should invest in decent ceramic pots or a redwood window box that won't give out before your carrots sprout.

Have you tried planting a container garden? How has it worked out?