We started with cucumbers, celery and zucchini. I bought all organic seeds and used organic soil. Even though the seeds and soil were a little more expensive (roughly 50 cents a pack and $3 per soil bag), I decided it was worth it. Buying organic vegetables is so much more expensive. I couldn't believe that the seeds literally looked exactly like the seeds inside the vegetables we eat. At the end of this season, I am researching how to harvest seeds for next year so I won't even have to buy the seed packets next year.
Our first round, we bought plastic flower pots at least 12 inches in diameter. All the resources I found said to plant top growing vegetables (like cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, celery) in your smaller containers because they don't have to grow down.
In all the videos I watched, every one recommended using five gallon buckets to grow tomatoes and carrots. I happened to have a couple extra buckets hanging around, so I drilled four 1/4 inch holes an inch from the bottom and four more in the bottom of the bucket. Then I added rocks at the bottom for irrigation, I would have liked to add two layers of rocks but I only had enough for one. The boys added organic soil up to three inches from the top.
The last containers we used were 28 oz tomato cans. I drilled 4 - 1/8 inch holes around the bottom and three in the bottom. Then I spray painted the sides a couple times with white spray paint and had the kids paint the cans with acrylic paint. After filling up the cans with more organic soil, we planted three different kinds of herbs in each can, Sage, Thyme and Dill. These are my Mother's Day presents this year.
The resources I used:
Best Herb Containers - about.com
Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips for Beginners - dailygreenpost.com
Grow Potatoes in a 5 Gallon bucket - growyourheirlooms.com
Best of 10 Uses for Common Household Products - thisoldhouse.com
13 Vegetables That Magically Regrow Themselves - buzzfeed.com
Using Epsom Salt as a fertilizer - acraftaday.com
Growing carrots in a 2 liter bottle - alternativeenergygardning.com