I love container gardening. I've had to do that several places simply because I didn't have soil, or deep enough soil!
Here's a book that might be interesting:www.amazon.com/Easy-Container-Combos-Veget
I have found that plants do need quite a bit of soil and that something the size of a 15 gallon pot works best - which would be about the same size as one of those large bags that's been talked about already. They need room to stretch out their roots.
I would also suggest getting a companion planting book like "Tomatoes Love Carrots", and something that talks about how to grow plants in small spaces like Mel Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening" or something like "Postage Stamp Gardening".
This will help you learn to plant to deal with creatures, but also plant in small spaces, successively plant, and plant things that are happy together and make each other grow better. It also helps you learn to plant in such a way that you have minimal to no weeding.
And for things like snails, slugs and cats, I have found that cocoa mulch to be delightful. It smells like chocolate, and when you put it out around your plants, the cats can't stand it and stay away, and slugs and snails don't like trying to cross it. You'll just need to put more out periodically to keep the coarse texture.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
"Don't give up, just keep giving." character Sam on Touched by an Angel, episode Indigo Angel
"Keep Moving Forward" Disney/Pixar's Meet The Robinsons
"There is no problem that cannot be solved by chocolate" - Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
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