Are you thinking of best vegetables for container gardening?
If you lack space, container gardening is an easy way to grow vegetables on a patio, balcony, window boxes, or rooftop.
You have more control over growing conditions and enjoy higher yields with a lot less work.
And today you’re going to take a look at varieties of vegetables best suited to container gardening.
Make sure you have some access to outdoor space with good sun exposure.
Best Vegetables for Containers
You can grow veggies on the deck, balcony, porch, or wherever you have limited space because they’re all in containers.
You can grow just about anything in a container.
But it pays to choose varieties that are tailor-made for growing in tight quarters.
The following vegetables thrive and grow easily in containers or pots.
If you’re into pot gardening, you would love to plant tomatoes.
Because they are the most productive edibles, you can raise them in pots, grow bags, and even hanging baskets.
You can even grow them upside-down.
Regardless of the variety of tomato that you decide to grow, you should know a few things.
- great soil,
- ample sun (five to six hours minimum),
- consistent watering to prevent the fruit from splitting,
- feed with a high potash tomato fertilizer for high yield, and
- big containers to handle the plant.
Tomatoes do not like cold. So do not try to put them out too early, or they will become stressed and will not flourish.
Your soil should be at least 55 F during the day and should not go below 40 F during the night.
When all danger of frost has gone, cover with a fleece during abnormal cold spells.
You can begin with seeds or starter plants, whichever you like.
If you are buying tomato seedlings, look for short, stocky plants that have not blossomed yet.
Before planting them, acclimate the seedlings to outside living gradually.
Plant tomato seedlings deeper than you would for most plants.
As the plants get taller, they need extra support.
So, add stakes or cages to the outside of the containers.
They keep the abundant fruits from bending and breaking the vines.
Dwarf, bush or trailing varieties are suitable for vegetable container gardening. For more produce, try planting cherry tomatoes.
Most of the beans are climbers or bushy type.
They grow vertically.
- at least 12 inches deep containers for best results.
- a sunny spot, and
- a strong trellis-like structure to allow the bean to travel up. It also makes it easy to harvest.
Grow pole beans on a trellis near a wall. Within weeks, you will get a green wall of edibles running across the supporting screen.
You can plant nitrogen-hungry vegetables underneath the beans because they fix the nitrogen. Make sure you use a large pot.
An excellent companion plant for beans would be summer savory, kale, or celery.
You don’t need lots of room to plant potatoes.
What they need is deep soil.
Potatoes do well in five-gallon buckets or long containers like barrels or plastic dustbins. These are cheap containers to grow vegetables.
Growing them in containers make it easy to move in and out of the sunlight.
Drill a few holes into the bottom of the bucket before planting. It allows drainage of excess water.
As the potatoes grow, cover around them with soil.
You can expect to get between one and two pounds of potatoes per bucket.
Depending on how many you go through each week, you may only need to plant a couple of buckets per growing season.
You can keep your potatoes growing all year long. There is no need to drop by the grocery store again.
Potatoes are a great vegetable to grow with kids.
Squash is a hardy and versatile plant.
Summer squashes (Zucchini) are more productive than winter squashes.
You can eat the squash blossoms.
Most squash takes up a lot of space. So, you need a large container.
Squashes grow well with
- lots of light,
- good soil,
- consistent watering, and
Make sure you harvest the squashes regularly when they begin to grow. You should get about three squashes each week.
Regular harvesting provides enough room for new growth.
If you are going to grow winter squash in a container, choose a dwarf variety. Giant squashes can weigh over 20 pounds.
Peppers and chilies
Chilies, hot and sweet peppers are super productive.
Chili plants thrive in a greenhouse or on a windowsill.
But they can survive outdoors in a warm, sheltered spot with intense sunlight.
The warmer the conditions are, the spicier the chilies!
Sow seeds indoors and then transplant them into 2-liter containers.
For peppers, it is essential to get the right container size.
Peppers need room to grow. They don’t like to get squashed.
Smaller peppers will require at least a 2-gallon container while larger varieties will need a 5 or 10-gallon pot.
It must be at least 12 inches deep.
- a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight each day,
- healthy soil, fertilizer,
- good drainage, and
- consistent watering to thrive.
Chives are one of the hardiest edibles that you can plant.
They are perennials. So once you plant them indoors, you’ll have an abundant harvest all year long.
They love some sunlight. Placing container-grown chives near the window is a good idea.
Cucumbers can grow throughout winter in most cases.
You can also grow them vertically to use up the available space you have.
If you are putting the containers outside, let them vine up your deck railing or even the side of your house.
The vines need plenty of space to grow.
Use a medium to a large pot (depending on the variety).
They prefer full sun.
Harvest cucumbers regularly once they begin producing so that they don’t bog the vines down and weaken them.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders and require regular watering too.
Take good care of them, and you’ll enjoy your homegrown crunchy cucumbers within a few months.
The best varieties of cucumbers for container gardening are salad bush hybrids, midget picklets, and spacemasters.
Carrots need deep soil. But you can find short-rooted varieties that do well in containers.
With proper care and daily sunlight, they will thrive throughout the year.
Carrots grow best in chilly weather.
Sow the seeds thinly because they will take off.
Place them a sunny spot. If you are growing during the winter, give them artificial light.
Do not water them unless it is a dry season.
After 7 days, you should see sprouting.
Carrots need regular watering and moist soil. Lack of moisture can rot the roots.
Your containers should have holes for drainage.
Avoid bruising the foliage as the smell may attract the root-ruining pest, carrot fly.
Collard greens are an excellent alternative of spinach or other green leafy crops.
You can grow this biennial as an annual.
They grow well in containers as long as you place them in full sunlight during the day.
During the spring and fall months, give them at least six hours of direct sunlight.
During summer, move the containers from indoors to slightly shaded areas during the afternoon hours.
You can harvest collard greens after 75 days from transplanting.
Harvest the young and tender leaves. It will encourage the veggies to grow again.
You can harvest regularly until the first hard freeze starts.
You can grow collard greens every season. But in winter, you need the help of artificial sunlight.
Unlike cold-hardy kale and chard, mustard greens love warmth.
These container-grown vegetables can grow without much attention in any climate.
You can choose any mustard varieties available that suit your needs.
Rhubarb is a cold-hardy perennial grown in USDA Zones 3-8.
Only the red, pink or greenish pink stalks are edible.
You can harvest the stalks multiple times because rhubarb can grows for years.
You need a deep pot and well-draining soil for this veggie to grow well.
You can grow beets them indoors in any condition with a continuous harvest.
You can plant beets straight away in the container. There is no need for a transplant.
Beets prefer to grow undisturbed. Choose a right-sized container before you plant.
To boost germination, soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours before sowing.
Sow three seeds at a time about an inch deep in the soil.
Leave a space of four inches between the seeds.
After a few weeks, remove the weeds that emerge.
Give your plants enough water during dry spells.
When the beets reach the size of golf balls, you can harvest them.
You can grow root plants like turnips indoors and outdoors.
Find planters are at least eight inches deep to allow room for the roots to grow.
Make sure the bottom of the container has at least three or four holes for adequate drainage.
Add gravel to the bottom of the planter to improve drainage.
Over-watering will cause the plants to die.
Okra is a warm-season crop.
All it needs for bountiful fruiting is sun exposure and fertilizers.
Choose dwarf okra varieties that are suitable for containers.
Asparagus is a hardy plant. So, you don’t need to give a lot of care.
It grows well indoors. It is excellent for gardening enthusiasts who have no space outside.
Sit the planters out on the balcony for some sunlight every day.
Unlike root edibles, your container has to be large enough to accommodate the growth of the veggie.
It doesn’t matter if you use a shallow planter.
It’s easy to grow eggplants even they are prone to garden pests.
Also, it is easier to maintain them in containers than in garden soil.
Choose containers that are at least five inches deep. It prevents overcrowding as eggplants grow.
You can sow a couple of seeds in each pot, depending on the size of your planter.
Eggplants are heat-loving plants, so keep them in full sun.
They need high temperatures both day and night. That’s why clay pots are excellent for them because the containers can retain heat.
As they begin to grow, add a bean pole or something similar for support.
As a summer crop, you can grow eggplants all year round if you live in a warm climate.
During winter, you should keep them indoors.
Eggplants are heavy feeders so remember to apply lots of fertilizer.
Choose small eggplant varieties such as fairytale and Hansel.
They also serve as an ornamental, thanks to their gorgeous flowers and foliage.
Artichokes are low maintenance plants, making it perfect for edible container gardens.
Sow the seeds in the fall because they take a longer time to germinate.
By spring, they should be ready for harvest.
They can thrive with daily sunlight and light watering.
Bitter melon is a tropical climber like squashes, cucumbers, and melons.
But you can plant it as an annual in a temperate climate during summer.
A 12 inches deep pot with a sturdy trellis is all you need to get started.
You need deep containers for parsnips because they tend to get long.
Use a five-gallon bucket and drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
You can sow several seeds in each container.
Make sure the planter is wide enough to grow without crowding them.
After a couple of weeks, prepare to weed them out if you plant a lot in one container.
When planting cole crops such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, avoid planting various types in one container.
It is better to use one container for each cole crop.
Choose a container that is at least eight inches deep and about eighteen inches wide for cole crops to thrive.
It must have holes at the bottom for adequate drainage.
Give your cole crops plenty of sunlight every day.
Choose a pot that is at least 6 to 8 inches deep and as wide as possible.
Leave 5 to 6 inches of space between each clove you plant.
Onions don’t need deep soil, which is ideal for container vegetable gardening.
If you are planting green onions, give them adequate space.
Choose a planter that is at least five inches deep. It allows the onion to grow to full bulb size.
Sow about half an inch deep in the potting soil.
You can get several onions in a container. So, allow an inch or so between for growth.
Continue watering them in dry weather.
Harvest after about 8 weeks.
Fast Growing Vegetables In Pots
Asian greens grow fast and don’t need a lot of sunlight.
You can grow Asian greens in part shade. They need at least 4 hours of the morning sun.
Keep the soil in the containers moist.
Add organic fertilizer to let them flourish.
If you are a beginner in container gardens for vegetables, start with radishes.
They are trouble-free and ready to harvest in as little as a month.
You can grow radishes in small and broad pots.
For small, red radishes, you can use any available container as long as it is 6 inches deep.
For larger varieties, opt for 8 to 10 inches deep pot or paint buckets.
Sow seeds about 1/2 inch deep.
Allow 3 inches of space between each plant.
You can grow radishes in full sun to part shade.
Place the planters beside a window or on the patio for the morning sunlight.
However, they do not like to get too hot.
Remember to water the plants every few days.
Lettuce and Salad Greens
Lettuce and salad greens grow up quickly.
You can harvest these leafy greens multiple times throughout the growing season.
Since lettuce is a cool-season crop, the timing for its growth based on your climate is crucial.
Start seeding in spring. But if you live in a warm climate, do it at the end of winter for the next planting season.
Transplant is not necessary. Sow the seeds directly into potting soil.
Leave space of at least four inches between each plant to let the leaves grow closer to the head lettuces.
Choose a large planter of at least six inches in depth.
You need fertile and draining soil for lettuces to grow well.
Frequent watering in the morning will keep the soil moist.
Lettuces do not need much sun. You can place the containers out on the balcony or deck for sunlight.
If you want to save space in your edible container garden, plant lettuce with cilantro or arugula.
Peas are fast growers and one of the best edible plants for containers to grow with children.
They love cool weather. If the weather gets too warm, the peas will stop producing.
They are perfect for succession planting.
The ideal time to plant them in early spring and fall.
When the climate gets warm, pull them out, and plant another green in the container.
Peas improve the soil, by adding nitrogen to it.
So your next batch of plants will have a leg up.
They don’t need large containers. So, growing these vegetables in pots on balcony is possible for people with limited space.
But a trellis or porch rail is necessary since they are climbers.
Keep the edibles in a spot that receives full sun.
These veggies do well outdoors. So, place them on your balcony or patio during the spring or summer growing season.
Do regular watering as peas prefer moist soil.
Choose a dwarf or bushier type varieties for vegetable container gardening.
Vegetables That Grow In Shallow Containers (less than 6″ of soil depth)
You can grow spinach indoors on a windowsill.
It grows well in partial shade and any space.
A deep pot is not necessary.
Get a wide one with at least 6 to 8 inches deep for each spinach plant.
Spinach is heat sensitive. So, avoid direct sunlight to keep leaves from wilting.
If you place the containers outdoor during summer, find a sweet, shady spot.
Spinach also grow well during the winter months.
Keep these edibles well-watered during the winter. So, your plants do not dry out from indoor heat.
Kale doesn’t need much space.
You can harvest it many times.
It’s a good idea to trim the tender young leaves often.
You can have a fresh supply of kale all year long.
Or cut the whole plant at once.
Use a 20-inch pot to grow five kale.
Though kale is a cool-weather crop, it can still tolerate some summer heat.
Indirect sunlight every day should be enough.
In cold regions, full sun is not a problem for kale.
On the other hand, in warm regions, it only needs partial sun.
Growing in containers makes it easy for moving them into the shade or inside for cold protection during the winter months.
Water the plants so they don’t get too dry. But avoid over-watering.
You can begin your kale containers with transplants or direct seeds, whichever you prefer.
Chard is related to spinach and beetroot.
Chard tolerates heat better than kale.
So, it grows well in a warm climate.
It is still a cold-weather crop.
If you’re thinking of growing chards in USDA Zone 9 and above or in any other subtropical or tropical part of the world, wait for the end of summer.
Small-sized pots are enough for chards.
Each plant requires at least 6 inches of space.
Harvest regularly to encourage regrowth. Always cut the outer leaves first.
Most homeowners like to plant arugula in a small window planter.
You can grow basil indoors or outdoors.
Get a six-inch planter with fresh potting soil.
When you water the basil, don’t get the leaves and stem wet. Pour water directly onto the soil.
Basil needs direct sunlight every day.
So if you are planning to grow it indoors, growing basil in containers is perfect. You can quickly move to the deck during the sunniest part of the day.
Parsley only requires partial sunlight. It’s perfect for growing vegetables in pots on balcony.
At night, bring the plant indoors to prevent cold.
Keep the soil moist for the best results. Don’t over-water your plants.
It grows optimally in temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees, making it perfect for winter container gardens.
Oregano is a hardy herb.
Growing oregano in a container helps to prevent spreading.
A small container for each plant with some potting soil will do.
Choose a sunny spot to put your oregano during the day.
At night, bring it in, especially if it is wintertime.
Rosemary thrives in peat moss and alkaline soil.
Add sand in the bottom of the container for drainage.
Let the surface dry out between watering. But not completely dry.
Thyme grows well indoors or outdoors.
If you own a herb garden in containers, you can plant thyme with basil, oregano, and other herbs.
Clay pots work best for thyme because they prevent drying out between watering.
Do not over-water or your thyme will suffer.
Choose a container with drainage holes to draw out excess water.
If you plan to grow thyme indoors during winter, provide it with sunlight during spring and summer months.
Sage has no problems whether you plant it in a window box or on the balcony.
It prefers sunlight. For this reason, any spot that has access to plenty of direct sunlight is excellent.
For indoor container gardening, use artificial lighting when your window is not big enough to provide sunlight during the winter.
Fool-proof vegetables do not exist because of the climate, pests, and nutrients in the soil.
But with the list of best food crops for container gardening, it can make urban vegetable farming easy.