Container gardening is for people who like to organise things. The main rule of container gardening is to have lots of containers and move them about a lot. In a small city garden with limited exposure using containers enables the gardener to move plants around within the garden as they grow.
Container gardening is labour intensive, more so than regular soil bed gardening. In initial stages small plants are potted up from seed trays through several stages until final position in larger containers. Experienced gardeners will make their own soil mix for containers including compost, sand and gravel to ensure the best free draining growing medium.
Containers require constant monitoring for water as this is their principle weakness. Extreme temperatures can be difficult for container gardening. If possible a simple irrigation system can be fitted that removes a large part of the problem (see below). Otherwise water often and well.
The main benefit of container gardening is the ability to start plants in one area and then finish them in another. Whether simply sitting tomatoes out in the sun for a few hours or growing plants in light areas for final positioning in shaded areas, the ability to move plants about is very useful in a small garden.
For people gardening on balconies, flat roofs and windowsills, containers can provide excellent salad gardens. By rotating containers from inside the house to outside the amount produced can be almost doubled. Most salads do well with a day in the house and a day in the garden.