April 16, 2021

Container gardening is a great way to get fresh veggies into your meals and teach kids about healthy choices.


You don’t need a big backyard, a lot of time or a lot of gardening know-how to grow a successful spring garden. Container gardening only requires a couple of pots, some dirt and a few healthy plants to produce a bountiful mini-garden that yields enough food for your weeknight dinner salad or a fresh batch of salsa.  Even better than the fresh food from your own yard (or back porch) is the opportunity to cultivate an understanding and respect of nature with your kids, teach them where food comes from, motivate healthy choices, and, best of all, get dirty while growing new memories.

What you need for a container garden

  • Large pots. Any material will work, but terracotta tends to bake plants in the hot Tennessee sun so you may need to wrap it in bubble wrap to keep the plants from cooking.
  • A bag of organic potting soil.
  • A bag of organic fertilizer.
  • Gloves.
  • A spade.
  • Plants. Some of the easiest spring/summer plants to grow are lettuces, basil, tomatoes and peppers. Mix and match for a colorful and tasty gardening experience.
  • Stick and ties for tomato or pepper plants.

Planting a spring container garden

  • Fill the pots 3/4 of the way with organic potting soil. Wearing gloves, mix in the organic fertilizer according to the directions on the package.  Water lightly to wet the soil. Dig holes and place your plants in the soil. I like to put my lettuces around the edges and herbs and tomatoes in the center with a large stick and ties to support the tomato plant as it grows. Be mindful of instructions about how much room each plants needs.
  • Place the pots in a sunny spot that gets some shade. Water regularly.
  • Harvest, wash and enjoy!

Here’s another tip: Before you pick out your plants, sit down and read “Growing Vegetable Soup” by Lois Ehlert with your child. This should spark early spring container ideas. Once you decide what you want to grow, purchase the plants for your pizza, salsa, salad or soup garden.  In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor.


This post was written by Calie Shackleford, a health coach, writer and author.


Do you have a garden? If so, how do you involve your children? Share in the comments below.