Container Vegetable Gardens – Growing Vegetables in Pots

Small space gardening is a reality for many urban and suburban families. Even we’ve left the roomy rural farms of our forefathers, we haven’t lost the desire to grow some of our own food, and so we are faced with finding ways to garden with less land. If you count yourself among these space challenged gardeners, don’t despair. There are a great many crops that are well suited to container gardening. In this article, we’ll discuss four: lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and beans.


Lettuce is a favorite for container gardening, especially loose leaf that can be harvested on an ongoing basis, like Buttercrunch or Oak Leaf. Because lettuce grows best in cool spring temperatures, plant it early in the year. Young plants are usually available in nurseries and garden centers a month or so before the average last frost date. Plant them in containers that are 6 to 8 inches deep. Round containers work well, as do row boxes, because lettuce doesn’t require a lot of space. Set the containers in an area that receives part sun or some filtered shade throughout the day.


Tomatoes are a home gardener’s favorite and there are many varieties that are well suited to growing in pots. Sweet 100 and other small grape or cherry varieties tend to do quite well in containers, though these indeterminate varieties can become large and sprawling if you don’t prune them back or remove suckers from the plants. Also look for compact or determine plant types such as Patio Prize. Because tomatoes are a fairly deep rooted crop, choose large, roomy containers that are at least 24 to 36 inches deep. Remember that indeterminate varieties will also require staking or caging, so you’ll want to be sure your pot can properly accommodate a cage or tomato trellis.


Peppers are another great crop to grow in containers because the plants are relatively compact. Peppers are known to be a temperamental plant, only setting fruit when temperatures are above 65 degrees but below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting peppers in containers gives gardeners the advantage of being able to move the plants around as needed. For example, in the spring, you can place the container on the west or south side of your house, it will receive maximum warmth. As the temperatures begin to heat up in the summer, move it to a cooler location. If a cool night is forecasted, the pots can easily be brought indoors for protection.


When choosing beans for container gardening, it’s important to pair your container and its location with the variety of bean you’ll be growing. Bush beans, for example, don’t really have any special requirements. Pole beans, however, are a climbing plant that will need some type of supporting structure. If you have the ability to provide a vegetable trellis for pole beans to grow on, it can actually be quite advantageous for small space gardening, because this setup allows you to grow up instead of out, thus making the most efficient use of limited space. Beans of any variety are a great choice for small space container gardening because they’re one of the most highly prolific vegetables in the garden, meaning you’ll get maximum return on your planting space. For an ongoing harvest of beans throughout the summer, make several successive plantings, each about three weeks apart.

Container gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby, and it’s also a great way to experiment with a variety of different crops. With only a small investment in some patio pots and containers, potting soil, and seeds or seedlings, you can have a wonderful kitchen garden growing on your deck or patio in no time.

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