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If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to garden, vegetable container gardening is the way to go! Container gardening has many benefits: it’s perfect for small spaces, it’s versatile, and it can be done almost anywhere.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of containers that can be used for vegetable gardening, as well as some of the best vegetables to grow in containers.
Container gardening is perfect for small spaces and can be done almost anywhere. Different types of containers can be used, and some vegetables are better suited to growing in containers than others.
Choosing Containers for Your Vegetable Container Garden
You can use just about any type of container for growing vegetables, as long as it is deep enough and has drainage holes.
Here are some popular container types to consider.
Plastic pots are one of the most popular choices for growing vegetables, as they are inexpensive and durable.
Look for plastic pots that are at least 12 inches in diameter and have several drainage holes. (Smaller pots work for small veggies like radishes.)
Grow bags are another popular choice for growing vegetables, as they are lightweight and easy to move around.
Grow bags are made from a variety of materials, including plastic, fabric, and even coco coir.
Wooden barrels are a great choice for growing vegetables, as they add a rustic touch to your garden.
Be sure to line wooden barrels with a heavy-duty liner to prevent the wood from rotting.
Ceramic pots are a beautiful option for growing vegetables, but they can be expensive.
Terra-cotta pots (Amazon) are a type of ceramic pot that is popular for growing vegetables. The benefits of growing vegetables in terra-cotta pots include that they are porous, which allows plants to breathe.
They are also beautiful, and work with any decor. Unfortunately, terra-cotta pots are also fragile and can break easily. They can also be heavy, especially when filled with wet soil.
Baskets make a great choice for growing vegetables, as they are decorative and add interest to your garden. Be sure to choose a basket that is made from a durable material, such as plastic or metal.
Wire cages can also be used as baskets for growing vegetables. Wire cages provide good ventilation and drainage, and they can be easily moved around.
Five-gallon buckets are a popular choice for growing vegetables, as they are inexpensive and easy to find. Be sure to drill several drainage holes in the bottom of the bucket before using it.
Speaking of drainage, regardless of the type of container you choose, it’s important for the container to have good drainage. Without adequate drainage, your plants will be susceptible to root rot.
Make sure that the container has enough drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out. You can also add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the container to help with drainage.
Whichever type of container you choose, be sure to add a layer of gravel or rocks to the bottom before adding soil. This will help with drainage and prevent the soil from clogging the drainage holes.
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect containers for your vegetable garden, it’s time to decide which vegetables to grow
What Vegetables Grow Well in Containers?
Now that you know some of the best containers for growing vegetables, it’s time to choose what vegetables you want to grow!
Just about any type of vegetable can be grown in a container, as long as it is the right size. Some popular vegetables to grow in containers include:
When growing beets in a container, be sure to choose a deep container, as beets have long roots.
My favorite beets for growing in containers include:
When growing beets in containers, be sure to choose sandy soil.
Grow beets in a sunny location, or partial shade.
Keep the growing medium evenly moist. Too much water, or even heavy rain after a dry spell, will cause the roots to split. Feed with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer biweekly.
Beets are ready to harvest when the roots are about two inches in diameter.
Carrots are another vegetable that does well in containers. When growing carrots in a container, choose a deep pot or grow bag and plant the seeds ½ inch deep.
Carrots need full sun and well-drained soil.
Lettuce is a great choice for growing in a container, as it doesn’t need a lot of space. When growing lettuce in a container, plant the seeds ½ inch deep.
Grow lettuce in the sun, or partial shade. In hotter weather, partial shade is best.
Like lettuce, spinach is a great choice for growing in a container. When growing spinach in a container choose containers that are 6-8 inches in diameter for a single spinach plant, and at least 8-9 inches if growing more than one plant.
Spinach needs full sun and well-drained soil, but does better with some shade in hotter weather.
Radishes are another great choice for growing in a container. When growing radishes in a container, choose a shallow pot or grow bag and thin out so they are 1 inch apart.
Radishes grow well in cooler weather, with partial shade.
Radishes grow quickly, and require very little care. There is no need to fertilize radishes. Keep the potting soil moist, but not soaking wet.
Cucumbers can be grown in a container, but they will require a large pot or grow bag. Go for a container that is 2 1/2 gallons or larger. Space cucumber plants 12″ – 18″ apart.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow in containers. Tomatoes need full sun and well-drained soil.
While you can grow tomatoes in containers, they will require a large pot or grow bag, unless you choose a dwarf variety. Even with a dwarf variety, it’s important to have a container that is at least 8″ in diameter.
When growing tomatoes in a container, plant the seeds ½ inch deep. It’s also important to plant just one tomato plant per container, unless the container is very large.
Be sure to water tomatoes regularly, as they require a lot of water.
The best varieties of tomatoes to grow in pots include “Bush Goliath,” “Patio Choice Yellow,” and “Rutgers.”
Learn more about growing tomatoes in containers in my article The Best Tomatoes to Grow in Pots.
Green beans can also be grown in a container. When growing green beans in a container, choose a pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and plant the seeds ½ inch deep. You can plant up to four bush bean plants in a 2 1/2 gallon container, spaced 5″ – 6″ apart.
It’s best to choose bush varieties when growing green beans in a container. However, if you grow a vining variety of green beans, you’ll need to add a trellis to your container.
Green beans need full sun and well-drained soil.
Herbs need full sun and well-drained soil.
You can grow eggplant in a container, but it’s important to choose dwarf varieties such as Fairy Tale or Patio Baby (Amazon). These varieties are more compact and don’t require as much space as other eggplant varieties. However, even with dwarf varieties, it’s important to choose a container that is at least 12″ in diameter.
Eggplant prefers full sun and well-drained soil, similar to cabbage. The container should be at least 18″ deep with drainage holes. Eggplant needs to be watered regularly, especially when the fruits are growing. If the soil is too dry, the fruits will be small and bitter.
To grow garlic in a container, choose a pot that is at least 12″ wide and has drainage holes.
Rather than planting garlic you purchased at the grocery store, it’s best to buy garlic bulbs from your local nursery or from a reputable online gardening source.
Fill the pot with a mix of one part peat moss to one part compost.
Plant the garlic cloves about six inches apart and four inches deep, pointed side up. Water the soil until it is moist but not soggy.
When the garlic plants are eight inches tall, cut the tops off to encourage bulb growth. Harvest the garlic bulbs when the bottom leaves turn brown.
When planting onions in a container, be sure to choose a container that is at least 18″ in diameter. Plant the bulbs 3″-4″ apart.
Ailsa Craig Exhibition onions (Amazon) are a good choice for growing in pots. They have a deep, rich flavor and are perfect for slicing and using in salads.
Bedfordshire Champion onions are another great option for growing in containers. They have a milder flavor than other varieties of onions, making them ideal for cooking and baking.
You can also grow green onions in containers. They have a milder flavor than other varieties of onions and are perfect for using in salads and as a garnish.
Onions don’t require much watering, and they also don’t need fertilizer. It’s important to use a well-draining soil when growing onions in containers. Onions are susceptible to root rot, so it’s important to make sure the soil they’re growing in is well-draining.
Onions are a cool weather crop, so they can be planted as soon as the last frost date has passed in your area.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as home-grown potatoes. The great news is, you can definitely grow potatoes in containers.
When growing potatoes in containers, be sure to use a pot that is at least 2 gallons in size. This will give the roots enough room to grow. Plant only one tuber per pot.
Plant potatoes in potting soil, and keep the soil moist, but not wet. If the soil is too dry, the potatoes won’t form, but if it’s too wet, they’ll rot.
Potatoes are a cool weather crop, so they can be planted as soon as the last frost date has passed in your area. In hot weather, move your containers to partial shade.
Be sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture level when growing potatoes in containers. They will need to be watered more frequently than if they were growing in the ground.
When choosing a container for growing peppers, be sure to choose one that is at least 12 inches deep. Peppers need a lot of room to grow, so a shallow pot will not suffice. If you have a large container, you can plant more than one pepper plant in a container, but be sure to space them at least 8″ apart.
Peppers prefer a sunny, warm location, and while they do well in heat, you may need to water twice a day on hot days. If the soil lacks moisture during the flowering stage, you’ll end up with black rot on the peppers.
Feed peppers when the flowers first start to form, and then three weeks later using a tomato fertilizer, such as Tomato Tone (Amazon).
It’s possible to grow cabbage in containers, but it does require a bit more care than other vegetables. Cabbage needs full sun and well-drained soil. The container should be at least 18 inches in diameter and have drainage holes.
Note that when growing cabbage in containers, the heads of cabbage will be quite a bit smaller than the ones you buy in the grocery store.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas grow well in containers. Just make sure the pot is at least 12″ in diameter and has drainage holes. Plant seeds about an inch apart. In a 12″ diameter container, you can plant around 15 seeds.
Sugar snap peas need full sun and well-drained soil. Be sure to water regularly, as the peas will wilt quickly if the soil is too dry.
Swiss chard is quick and easy to grow in containers. All you need is a pot that’s at least 12 inches in diameter and has good drainage
Swiss chard requires full sun and well-drained soil. Be sure to water regularly, as the chard will wilt quickly if the soil is too dry. Use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer, following the package directions regarding the amount and frequency.
Zucchini (and other Squash)
It’s possible to grow zucchini and other squash in containers, but you will need a large pot. I like to use a 20-gallon container when growing zucchini in containers. If your container is large enough, you can plant more than one zucchini plant per container. However, unless you have room to plant the squash at least 18″ apart, plant only one zucchini plant per container. You can plant two plants in one container and remove the weakest one once plants are growing well.
Zucchini is a warm weather crop, plant in late spring where there is no danger of frost.
Be sure to water zucchini plants well. They need at least an inch of water per week.
It’s also important to fertilize zucchini plants. I like to use Tomato Tone for feeding my squash plants. I apply it once every two weeks. Water the fertilizer into the soil well so that the roots can take up the nutrients they need.
Some good varieties of squash to grow in containers includes Buckingham, Bush Baby, and Soleil.
Harvest zucchini when they’re about six inches long. You can let them grow longer if you want, but they’ll be more tender and have a better flavor if you harvest them when they’re young.
Is it Possible to Grow Pumpkins in Containers?
If you’re wondering if it’s possible to grow pumpkins in containers, the answer is yes! You can grow pumpkins in containers, but you will need a large pot. I like to use a 20-gallon (or larger) container when growing pumpkins.
Pumpkins are a warm weather crop, so they can be planted as soon as the last frost date has passed in your area.
Be sure to water pumpkin plants well. They need at least an inch of water per week.
It’s also important to fertilize pumpkin plants. I like to use a balanced fertilizer that I apply once every two weeks. Water the fertilizer into the soil well so that the roots can take up the nutrients they need.
The Fastest Vegetables to Grow in Containers
If you’re growing vegetables in containers with little ones, or if you’re just in a hurry to eat your fresh, homegrown veggies, you may want to plant some vegetables that grow fast.
Here are the fastest vegetables to grow in containers:
- Bush beans
- Swiss Chard
I hope this article has helped you learn how to grow vegetables in containers. growing vegetables in containers is a great way to get started with gardening.
It’s also a great way to grow vegetables if you don’t have a lot of space. growing vegetables in containers is also a great way to get your kids involved in gardening. Thanks for reading!
Pro Tip: By the way, if you want to get started growing your own food, in addition to the tips in this article, I recommend the article, How to Grow Your Own Food (No Experience Required) on the site, Homegrown Food and Flowers. The article isn’t specific to container gardening, but I love a lot of the tips for those new to growing food. There’s some really great advice in the article, that you can apply to whatever type of vegetable gardening you decide to do, whether it be container gardening, indoor hydroponics, etc., so be sure to check it out.
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