It’s no secret that growing your own vegetables is a smart way to get better-tasting, better-quality produce than you could ever find at the grocery store – and for a lot less money. If you’re one of the many people out there who likes the idea of growing herbs and veggies, but you don’t think you have the space, know-how or green thumb to do it, think again.

Tomato Success Kit
The Tomato Success Kit produces pounds of tomatoes without all the watering.
Photo Credit: Gardener’s Supply Co.
Earthboxes in Florida
This EarthBox® trial in Florida proves you can grow a bounty of veggies in a small area – and without a lot of work.
Photo Credit: Felder Rushing
Chard in A Garden Patch box
Imagine growing magnificent greens right on your patio! Thanks to self-contained systems like this GrowBox™, you can.
Photo Credit: A Garden Patch
Earthbox in Ghana
Workers prepare an EarthBox® for planting in Ghana, where water supplies are limited.
Photo Credit: Felder Rushing

Thanks to an amazing, affordable container concept designed for growing a successful harvest, anyone can grow a bountiful vegetable garden, no matter where they live or how small the gardening area.

These innovative containers house nearly all the elements that vegetables and herbs require to thrive and produce – namely water, soil and nutrients. (You can’t contain the sun, of course.) They take the guesswork out of how much water and fertilizer to use, and because your herbs and veggies are in containers, there’s no need to weed (unless some opportunistic weed seed happens to sneak in).

Like any garden planter, these self-contained growing systems hold potting soil and plants, but they also come with a slow-release fertilizer appropriate for edibles, as well as a water reservoir or watering tube, to make feeding plants easy. After finding a full-sun location (or an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day), simply fill your container with soil and fertilizer (following your container’s enclosed directions). Plant your herbs and vegetables, then add water to the container’s water reservoir or tube (depending on the model you’ve purchased).

Voilà – instant vegetable garden!

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. The fact is, these containers work! Part of the secret is that you don’t water your plants from the soil surface as you would with traditional container gardens. Instead, you water from the bottom up! The water you pour into these vegetable planters is sent directly to the bottom of the container, then it wicks up into the soil, reaching plant roots first. As the water level lowers in your growing system, just refill using the garden hose or watering can. The slow-release fertilizer will reach plants when needed, so there’s no need to worry about second or third applications.

The overriding advantage of these self-contained vegetable-growing systems is that they can produce fantastic crops in minimal space with minimum water loss. Even those who are limited to gardening on a balcony, patio or rooftop can reap the rewards with these amazing containers! While these reusable systems cost more than planting a vegetable garden directly in the ground, they more than pay for themselves after the first growing season. (The amount of delicious, homegrown tomatoes you can get from one container is truly astounding!)

Of course, even though these containers make growing herbs and veggies far easier, the plants still require general upkeep. After all, someone needs to monitor for vegetable pests and fight plant disease, check the water level and pick the rewards come harvest time. But growing your own fresh produce really doesn’t get much easier than this!

Now, where do you find these fantastic self-watering containers? There are a number of great ones online. (Some even arrive at your doorstep complete with soil.) Here’s a look at a few options:

Despite its name, the Tomato Success Kit can accommodate more than just tomatoes – try it for growing other veggies, too! This growing system comes complete with a 26-inch-long, 19¾-inch-wide planter featuring a 4-gallon water reservoir; a two-part stacking tomato cage that stretches to a height of 38 inches; soil mix; and organic 5-6-5 fertilizer. All you have to supply are the plants, water and sunshine. The container is available in two colors – terra-cotta or green – and the kit costs $64.95.

There are a variety of accessories available for the Tomato Success Kit, too, including an elevated trolley or a set of four casters so you can easily move your container if needed. You can also buy a cage extension to support tall, indeterminate tomato plants. Like most of these innovative growing devices, the Tomato Success Kit can accommodate two tomato plants or various numbers of other vegetables, depending on their size.

Another planter option is the EarthBox®. This growing system comes with casters for easy moving. The self-watering planter has a 3-gallon reservoir and measures 29 inches long, 14 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The kit is sold complete with all the planting supplies you’ll need (minus the plants), including an aeration screen, water tube, two mulch covers, potting mix and a bag of fertilizer. An optional staking system is available, too. The EarthBox comes in three colors: terra-cotta, white or green. The standard EarthBox costs $54.95, while the Organic Ready-to-Grow kit is $59.95.

The A GardenPatch™ GrowBox™ doesn’t come with potting soil like the other kits, but this great growing system comes complete with a 30-inch-long, 15-inch-wide, 12-inch-tall planter featuring a 4-gallon water reservoir; slow-release fertilizer, easy instructions and a planting guide. Available in green or a terra-cotta color, it costs $29.95. An optional staking system is also available.

So if you’re looking for a neat, cost-effective way to grow a big crop of healthy tomatoes this season, consider one of these terrific self-watering containers – or similar ones – on the market. With the no-fuss watering method, the ability to move the containers to the best growing spots in your garden and a good way to protect your prized harvest from weeds and inclement weather, you may never go back to the old-fashioned, in-ground way of growing veggies again!