Natural circumstances vary from year to year and so, whatever type of garden you have, it will produce differently each season. Container gardening though will give you more control over weather conditions and provide better protection against plant-destroying pests. Almost any vegetable or fruit can be grown in a container but some thrive more than others in the confined root space. I have compiled a garden vegetables list of those that I think are best suited to container gardening.
Here is my shortlist. Check it out and see if some of your favorite garden foods make the list.
1. Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumbers thrive in a container garden if they are provided with a little shade in the afternoon. Select a dwarf cucumber variety that is disease-resistant, and use a large container.
2. Chard (Beta vulgaris)
Chard can be used in a wide variety of ways and is delicious when eaten either raw or cooked.
It is a colorful, fast-growing vegetable plant that needs full sun and moist soil to thrive. Plant chard seeds two weeks apart to extend the harvest season.
3. Eggplants (Solanum melongena)
Eggplants will reach a mature height of 1-2 feet and makes ideal container plants. The flowers and foliage of the eggplant are gorgeous, plus the vegetable size, shape, and color can vary greatly between the varieties.
Eggplants can be used as ornamental plants and/or edible garden vegetables. Place the container in full sun and keep the soil moist.
4. Kale (Brassica oleracea)
Kale is a cool-season leafy green that can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Two crops of kale can be grown each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. In climates with mild winters kale will keep growing throughout the winter months too.
To thrive, kale needs about 8 hours of light a day. Place the container in a sheltered, full sun area and keep the soil moist.
Growth will slow during the hottest part of summer but will recover with the cooler temperatures. Except in the height of summer, picking leaves regularly will guarantee a consistent supply of fresh greens for the table.
5. Peas (Pisum sativum)
Peas are a cool-season crop that grows well in containers. Two crops of peas can be grown each year – one in the spring and another in the fall. When the spring crop of peas has been harvested, the pea vines can be removed from the container and a summer vegetable, like summer squash, planted in its place. In this way, one container can provide you with three vegetable harvests each year.
Grow peas in a sunny location and water regularly.
6. Peppers (Capsicum annuum)
Grow your favorite peppers in a container for both beauty and food. They rightly deserve a place in a garden vegetables list of the best vegetables for container gardening.
Hot or sweet peppers varieties are easy to grow in containers after the temperature warms up in early summer. Use a 12-inch container for growing peppers and look for dwarf varieties so the plants won’t outgrow their space. Pepper plants need full sun and moist soil for best production.
7. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
Potatoes grow well in large containers but they will need a long growing season. All varieties of potatoes can be grown in containers and are very easy to harvest in late summer. For more information on growing potatoes indoors in containers, see my article “Growing Potatoes Indoors is Easy“.
8. Radishes (Raphanus sativus)
Radishes are very versatile and can be tucked into a large container with other vegetable plants or grown in a shallow container on their own.
They only need a soil depth of 6-inches to grow, and this fast-growing vegetable will be ready to harvest in 30-40 days. Plant in a sunny location and keep the soil moist. The green tops of radishes are also edible and make a great addition to a green salad or stir fry.
9. Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)
Sweet potatoes grow attractive vines that can be used to cover a fence or trellis during the summer. Place the containers in full sun and water the plants regularly.
10. Squash (Curcurbita)
There are many varieties of squashes and they will produce an abundant harvest during the summer. Plant yellow squash or zucchini in a large (20-inch) container, located where it will be shaded from the afternoon sun, and regularly water them. As they grow, the plants should be supported with trellis or stakes to grow vertically. This will sustain the weight of the fruit and hasten ripening by allowing in more air and light.
11. Salad Greens
The large assortment of salad greens provides some of the best vegetables for container gardening. Use an oblong container and either sow seeds or plant seedlings of a selection of your favorite salad greens. Leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, spinach or a mesclun mix, are great for salads and grow well in containers.
Continue to sow or plant more greens every two weeks for a constant harvest all summer. Chives, green onions, parsley, and other small herbs for salads can be grown in the same container too.
12. Tomatoes (Solanum Lycopersicum)
Last but not least is the tomato. They are the all-time top favorite on any garden vegetables list and are very easy to grow in containers. The container should be at least 12-inches deep and equally as wide for each tomato plant. You can use small companion plants in the same container, like oregano, basil or marigolds.
Place the container in a spot where it will receive full sun and water the plants regularly. Container-grown tomatoes will also need to be supported with a cage or trellis to keep the plant upright and prevent it collapsing under the weight of the fruit.
Container gardening is a great way to grow food in a small space. In addition to food production, the plants are attractive and produce pollen-rich blooms that attract pollinators to your landscape.
I hope that this garden vegetables list has given you some insights into the best vegetables for container gardening and I wish you happy growing!
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