The number of containers is limited only by your own imagination. You can choose from the endless varieties of terra-cotta, lined metal, wood and (if you live in a warm climate) pottery. You can also find cement pots and, a favorite of mine, half whiskey barrels. Of course the latter two will be hard to move after filled so keep that in mind. Don’t overlook wicker baskets, old tea kettles, discarded metal buckets and more. Consider what will suit your climate, clean thoroughly and be sure to add holes for drainage at the bottom.
Your best bet in soil for a container is to use regular potting soil. This is a blend perfect for growing in pots and there are many quality bagged soils available at your local garden center, including organics. Most include built-in fertilizer that will feed your plants from start to finish. Regular garden soil is just too heavy and will not drain well. If you plan to plant a lot of containers you can also make your own potting soil mix. (See link in resources below)
A fun and easy container idea is to do a “salad” garden anchored by a variety of lettuces in reds and greens. Add some radishes, maybe some arugula and even some edible nasturtiums or pansies for color and or topping your salad with. Be sure to check the seed packet or check with the nursery attendant to be sure the flowers are in fact edible and have not been treated with pesticides. Harvest the tender lettuce leaves by trimming them with scissors when plants are young and they will keep producing. You can also add more seeds to have a continuous crop available. Salad gardens like the cooler weather as does spinach which is also another great container plant.
As the weather warms (hooray!), you might consider sun loving vegetables like carrots or maybe some bush beans. If you are thinking tomatoes the cherry tomatoes are a better choice for a beginner than the larger tomato varieties and just one potted plant can produce quite a crop!