Here are three of the top containers for fall container garden. They are tops because they are easily available, large enough to hold appropriate quantity of soil, and they are inexpensive. There are, of course, more sturdy, more expensive, non-plastic, non-recyclable containers for a fall container garden, and its good to look into them as well. Metal, wood, fiberglass -all are out there, but to start out immediately, for cheap, these three have my vote for the top three.
The Cheapest Container: a Five Gallon Pail
Unless there is something sitting around the house for free, a few five gallon pails are the best, cheapest containers for anyone’s fall container garden. At Home Depot they are only $2.48 each. Look locally (try Craig’s list or the local Greensheet) for some maybe even cheaper.
Three advantages for using 5 gallon buckets for your fall container garden immediately come to mind. One, they are cheap, so can use as many as want for your garden. Two, the plastic they are made of is deemed safe for growing plants in. Made of HDPE, they are one of the least offensive emitters of Bisphenol A, which can move from the plastic into whatever it contains. The third advantage: they can be spray painted with paint made for plastic, allowing added color or design to decorate them to your heart’s content.
There are a couple of disadvantages, however. First, they need at least three holes drilled in the bottom of the bucket for drainage, making them useless for liquid carrying. They are still good for anything dry though. Second, they are tall and narrow, and are possibly subject to tipping and might fall in gusty autumn winds when full of top heavy tomato vines.
The Biggest Container: a 21 Gallon Rubbermaid Tub
A storage tub like the 21 gallon Rubbermaid totes are an excellent planter for a fall container garden. Obviously they don’t have to be the Rubbermaid brand. Stellite brand will do, although they are usually lighter weight construction and their website doesn’t say what kind of plastic they are made of.
The advantage of using a big tub like this for a fall container garden? First, they hold enough soil to keep plants in them watered all day even in the heat. Remember your vegetables need as close to full sun all day if possible. Even in fall, that translates to considerable water usage. Second advantage: they are easy to find, often on sale, especially in time for a fall container garden: college is coming for some who will need them. Third advantage, if the tub splits for some reason, it is recyclable.
There are disadvantages as well. First, if it becomes necessary to move them, they are going to be heavy due to the amount of dirt in them. Second, these also need 3 to 5 holes in bottom for drainage, which doesn’t altogether ruin the tub’s usefulness for other things when the season is over. But it does limit its usefulness. Third, these tubs are made of plastic, specifically PP (Polypropylene) which is recycling number 5 and which will allow some Bisphenol A into the soil. They are not number 7, however, which probably would be a bad idea to use. And of course, the whole issue is still ‘under discussion’ in many circles. So, its your call on this issue.
The Prettiest Container: 3 Gallon Pot with Saucer
The third top container on my list of the top three containers for a fall container garden is a regular but large flower pot fromWalmart or a garden store. And they have some great advantages. First, they were made for this, and are good looking, ‘normal’ and easy to use. No holes to drill! Second, as we mentioned, they already have drainage holes as well as saucer to catch drips, so no worries about making holes or making dribble messes on whatever they sit on. And third, they come in many styles and colors, to match whatever your outdoor decor might be.
There are, however, some disadvantages even for these lovlies, wen it comes to vegetable gardening. First, they cost more and hold less volume than the previous two. Yes, you can buy huge ones, but when you get to that size range, the color choice narrows. The others can take paint without fear, any color you want. Also, check out their plastic content: they generally were meant to grow non-edible flowers. See the discussion above about this. The only other disadvantage is that in the off-growing season, these pots will have to be stored out of the way: they are not useful for anything else when the season is over.
So there you go, the three top containers for fall container garden, as I see it. Ranked, explained, and ready to go. Now get digging!