Gardening: Good things can come in small -- and stylish -- containers

Nancy Szerlag
Special to The Detroit News

 Vegetable gardening continues to be all the rage; however, many folks pass on this pleasure because of lack of space or physical limitations. Condo dwellers like me and homeowners with big houses on small lots are often limited to patio spaces or driveways  to grow their edibles. The good news is plant breeders and hybridizers are developing veggies that are downsized and easy to grow in small spaces. And manufacturers are coming up with specialized  containers to grow them in.  

Whether you’re growing flowers, edibles or both and you have been searching for a special container to meet your needs, check out the collection at, the website for Gardener’ Supply. They carry hundreds of planters in all styles, sizes,  shapes and colors, including self-watering and raised-bed designs.

Raised beds are great for folks with physical limitations, and Gardener’s Supply has a large collection. And they also have accessories, such as a three-season protection tent that includes two covers to keep out cold and pests.  The best feature is there are no tools needed for assembly.

If space and money are a factor and you’d like to grow edibles, consider trying out the fabric pots made of geo-textile that are inexpensive and can be emptied and stored away for the winter. The patented PBA-free fabric used in Smart Pots promotes air pruning for a healthy root system, allows excess heat to dissipate and provides optimal drainage. 

Demeter raised bed

Gardener’s Supply introduced a large self-watering model this year, allowing you to grow a full-size tomato plant on cement without worry about wind knocking it over.  

Galvanized stock tanks became popular for use as planters more than a decade ago. Chip and Joanna Gaines may have had something to do with that. You can choose from a variety of sizes at a Tractor Supply store ( However, you will need a quarter- to a half-inch metal bit to drill drainage holes in the bottom.  Drill holes every few inches around the perimeter of the trough bottom, as well as across both vertically and horizontally.

If that sounds like a lot of work and country chic is not your thing, take a look at Gardener’s Demeter collection on the garden website: it's a series of smart, affordable pieces in all-weather galvanized and powder coated steel in Blue Storm or Fog Gray.

If you plan on sticking some lettuces in your garden beds, you’ll want to take a look at Garden’s charming chicken wire cloches. It's a classy way to keep the rabbits away from your salads.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at