The truth is that you can grow just about any vegetable in a pot. As long as the container is deep enough for the roots and wide enough for the plant, you will be successful. There are even vegetable plants that are designed to be smaller and more ideal for a pot or container.
Another reason to grow in containers is the ease of care. The containers raise the plants up so there is not as much bending or stooping. This is a plus for most people and especially helpful for the elderly or disabled. There is also a lot less weeding to do. When the plants fill the pot, they leave little room for weeds and block any sun that the random weed seed needs to grow. Container gardening does require a little more attention to watering. You may need to water twice a day if it is warmer than usual or if you live in an area with high winds that will dry out the containers more easily.
There are many vegetables that can be tucked into a large container of flowers without looking out of place. Peppers, for example, come in many different colors and shapes. They are generally neat, colorful plants without a huge spread and can look like an ornamental plant rather than food. How about planting herbs instead of geraniums in the window boxes? Tuck in some edible flowers like nasturtium for color and the whole window box garden will be edible as well as beautiful.
When you select the seeds for the plants you want to grow in containers, pay particular attention to the size of the plant itself and how much space the root will need. Growing potatoes in containers is a trending fad right now, and it is perfectly possible to grow potatoes this way. Just remember that potatoes grow underground on the root system. To get a good amount of potatoes, you need a big container.
Then, consider other plants more specifically. Decide if you are willing to have your squash draping over the sides of the pot and across the deck. That goes for cucumbers and pole beans also. Vining plants will need to be trellised if you want to maximize the space. Look for words like patio, dwarf, and petite in the name of the vegetable you want to grow. This indicates that the variety is more compact and will work well in a container. Here are our 8 top choices for container gardening.
- Tomatoes. Though any tomato can be grown in a container, most will require support from a cage or trellis. Choose a determinant variety that is self-limiting in size. Container tomatoes, like Patio Choice, is a great cherry tomato for pots, hanging baskets, or window boxes because it only grows 18 inches. This variety comes in either a red or yellow tomato. By purchasing tomato seeds, you will have the opportunity to grow a wide variety of tomatoes that will be perfect in your containers.
- Cucumber. Look for a semi-bush type, like Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers or the bush variety, which are perfect for container gardeners.. The plants stay more compact but the production of cukes is great!
- Eggplant. Any eggplant can be grown in a container, but consider Patio Baby Hybrid. This eggplant is small but mighty. You can harvest up to 50 mini eggplants in one season.
- Kale. There are lots of varieties of kale, but the variety of Kale Prizm has smaller leaves that will be quickly replaced with new growth when harvested. Perfect in containers!
- Carrots. Yes, you can grow carrots in a pot! Plant shorter varieties to eliminate the need for a deep pot. Try varieties like Little Finger or Adelaide, which are full size at 4-5 inches.
- Lettuce. Slip a few lettuce plants in with the flowers in your containers or dedicate a pot to a variety of lettuces. Between the color shades of red and greens, as well as the unique leaf shape of the different types of lettuce, your dedicated container planted with lettuce will be just as attractive as your ornamental selection.
- Peas. Peas like Patio Pride are ideal for your pots or window boxes. Even though they don’t have the super long vines, they still produce plenty of pea pods. Successive planting will ensure you will have fresh sweet peas from early spring into summer.
- Peppers. Peppers are easy to grow in containers, and they are attractive, too, coming in many colors. Just the right size for a container are Parks Mini Bells or Sweetie Pie Peppers. You’ll want to plant all of your pepper seeds to get maximum color variations.
Don’t be afraid to try growing vegetables in pots. You’ll be surprised at how much food you can grow with this method.