If your vegetable gardening is limited by insufficient space or an unsuitable area, consider raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A window sill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive mini-garden. Problems with soilborne diseases, nematodes or poor soil conditions can be easily overcome by switching to a container garden. Ready access to containers means that pest management is easier. Container vegetable gardening is a sure way to introduce children to the joys and rewards of vegetable gardening.
Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well as a container-grown plant. Vegetables that are ideally suited for growing in containers include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers also do well in this type of garden, but they do require considerably more space because of their vining growth habit.
Variety selection is extremely important. Most varieties that will do well when planted in a yard garden will also do well in containers. Some varieties of selected vegetables which are ideally suited for these mini-gardens are indicated below.
Suggested Container Grown Vegetables
*Name (Container Size, Number of Plants) – Varieties
- Broccoli (2 gallons, 1 plant) – Packman, Bonanza, others
- Carrot (1 gallon, 2-3 plants. Use pots 2 inch deeper than the carrot length) – Scarlet Nantes, Gold Nugget, Little Finger, Baby Spike, Thumbelina
- Cucumber (1 gallon, 1 plant) – Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Crispy, Salty
- Eggplant (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom
- Green Bean (2 gallons minimum, space plants 3 inches apart) – Topcrop, Greencrop, Contender, (Pole) Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder
- Green Onion (1gallon, 3-5 plants) – Beltsville Bunching, Crysal Wax, Evergreen Bunching
- Leaf Lettuce (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, Romaine, Dark Green Boston, Ruby, Bibb
- Parsley (1gallon, 3 plants) – Evergreen, Moss Curled
- Pepper (5 gallons, 1-2 plants) – Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, Canape, Red Cherry (Hot), Jalapeno
- Radish (1 gallon, 3 plants) – Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, (White) Icicle
- Spinach (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Any cultivar
- Squash (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Dixie, Gold Neck, Early Prolific Straightneck, Zucco (Green), Diplomat, Senator
- Tomato (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Patio, Pixie, Tiny Tim, Saladette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Tumbling Tom, Small Fry
- Turnip (2 gallons, 2 plants) – Any cultivar
This free, 7-page publication explains how to grow vegetables in containers when insufficient space or unsuitable soil conditions make a traditional garden difficult to achieve. Topics include container materials, crop selection, growing media, seeding and transplanting, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting, among others.