Can you recommend the best containers for container gardening?
What are the best/recommended containers for gardening? I've read about problems associated with some materials (for example, porous ones dry out, dark ones get too warm, etc.) but wasn't given any good options.
While you are correct in the effects of different materials, there are other, perhaps more important considerations. For example, make sure that the container is appropriate for the plant. Herbs and other small plants will tolerate 4-6 inches of soil, while tomatoes require a container at least one foot deep and about 10 inches across. A five gallon bucket with several holes drilled in the bottom would be appropriate. Which introduces the second important consideration: Make sure that the container drains well and a saucer beneath it can be helpful.
Regardless of the material selected, monitor the plants daily for proper soil moisture.
There are lots of anecdotal suggestions concerning container material. Some gardeners prefer foam containers in order to avoid the heat of dark colored plastic and the porous nature of terra cotta. I think most gardeners select for appearance and/or price.
One other tip: If you are using commercial potting soil, you may want to mix in about 40-50% compost or 10% garden soil in order to provide the necessary micro-nutrients that are not always available in potting soil or regular fertilizer.