Planting in containers is a great way to grow everything from fruits and vegetables to flowers and exotic plants. Containers are perfect if you have a limited space for your garden, such as on a deck or patio.

You can find a large selection of decorative pots and planters available at home centers and garden stores, or use something as inexpensive as 5-gallon plastic buckets for your container garden. If you use a plastic bucket, be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

When filling your container:

  • Put 5″ of foam packing peanuts in the bottom for drainage.
  • Add 3” to 4” of potting soil.
  • Sprinkle a packet of gelatin on the soil to help retain moisture.
  • Add more layers of soil and gelatin until the container is full.
  • Plant your plant in the container and water.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Joe Truini: Container gardening is growing in popularity because it allows you to exercise your green thumb without a huge investment in time, money, or even space. All you need is a container of some sort. We’re using a five-gallon bucket that you can get in any hardware store or home center.

And I started by drilling some drainage holes in the bottom. Then I’m going to add maybe five or six inches of Styrofoam peanuts to help excess moisture drain out. Sometimes you see people use gravel; but gravel’s extremely heavy, so this is a much smarter technique by using the peanuts.

And then I’m going to add soil, but I’m only going to add a little bit of soil at a time. Maybe three or four inches. That’s plenty. And then spread it out. I’m going to add some gelatin. This is just plain old gelatin you get at any supermarket. Add one pouch, just sprinkle it in. And what that’s going to do, it’s going to retain the moisture, then release it slowly over time, which is going to ensure a nice, healthy plant.

And then you just keep repeating this. Add a little more soil, spread it out, and another packet of gelatin. And you continue in this way until the bucket’s full. Mix it in, and once it’s full, pack it down a little bit, and you’re ready to put in your plants.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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