Here Are the Best Vegetables to Grow in Containers, Pots, or Window Boxes
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Even if you don’t have a ton of space for a vegetable garden, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own veggies at home! Many types of vegetables, including greens, potatoes, and peppers, grow well in containers like pots and window boxes. Plus, nothing tastes better than vegetables picked fresh just minutes before you serve them!
To get started, you’ll need to find a spot in full sun for your containers. That means at least six hours of direct sunlight; most vegetables won’t produce well in shade. Shallow-rooted veggies, such as different types of lettuces, will do fine in window boxes, but larger plants, such as tomatoes need a container that’s at least 12-inches deep. And the more room, the better! Fill containers with any type of potting soil (not bagged garden soil, which isn't the same thing) for best results.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a water source nearby. Nothing’s a bigger drag than having to haul heavy watering cans to your pots, which will need to be watered daily in the heat of summer. You should also feed your container plants frequently because nutrients tend to leach out of pots quickly as you water; even potting soil that contains fertilizer needs a boost after about a month or two of growth. Any general-purpose fertilizer is fine, but follow the package instructions.
Whether you're a beginner gardener, or you just have limited yard space, these container vegetable garden ideas are perfect for any patio, balcony, or porch.
Ridiculously easy to grow from seed, lettuce grows well in shallow containers. Sprinkle the seeds onto the potting soil, pat down and keep seeds moist until they sprout. Then start picking baby lettuce in as little as 30 days.
Some eggplant plants get huge, but many newer varieties stay nice and compact so they work in containers. They'll yield plenty of eggplants from midsummer on. Look for petite varieties such as Meatball, Fairytale or Patio Baby.
Spinach is another green that’s simple to grow from seed in containers. Like lettuce, keep the potting soil moist until the seeds sprout, then pick baby spinach, or let plants mature to full size (read the seed package to learn how many days to maturity).
As crazy as it sounds, potatoes are fun and easy to grow in containers. Make sure to use seed potatoes, not the ones from your kitchen, which likely have been treated to prevent sprouting.
Both hot and sweet peppers do well in pots. Look for container-friendly varieties such as Sweet Gypsy, Sweet Snackabelle, and Shisito.
Cherry tomatoes not only grow well in containers, they’re prolific producers. Look for types that have been bred for containers, such as Cherry Baby, Husky Cherry, Baby Boomer, or Patio Choice Yellow.
Pole beans need staking, but they produce for a longer period of time than bush beans. Bush beans stay more mounded and compact. Check out container-friendly varieties such as Mascotte, Contender and Big Kahuna.
Radishes are easy to grow from seed, and many types are ready in less than a month! Plant successively every week or so for a long harvest period.
Kale is a hardy green that doesn’t mind the cold, so you can get an early start in spring or plant in mid to late summer for fall and early winter harvests.
Peas love chilly weather, so plant the seeds in early spring while it’s still cool. Plant a few large containers successively, so you’ll get peas for a few weeks. Little Snappea, Tom Thumb and Little Marvel are good container choices.
Turnips might not be the first veggie you think of for containers, but many newer varieties are more compact and can be harvested fresh and eaten raw like radishes. The greens are edible, too. Silky Sweet is a standout variety with pretty, crunchy, white flesh.
Forget about those soft, squishy cukes you buy at the store. Grow your own fresh, crisp cucumbers in containers! Most types will need a trellis to climb. Look for varieties such as Patio Snacker or Heirloom Lemon, a delicious yellow, round cucumber variety.
Swiss chard is an often overlooked leafy green, but it shouldn’t be! The stems of these plants come in a rainbow of colors, so they’re pretty enough to interplant with ornamental flowers, such as marigolds or snapdragons. Bright Lights is a rainbow-hued mix of bright yellow, white, and pink-stemmed varieties.
No edible garden is complete without herbs. Plus, it’s so much cheaper to grow your own than to buy those packages at the supermarket. Plant mixed containers of your favorites. Perennials that will return next year include chives, oregano, sage, and thyme. Annual herbs, which you’ll need to replant every year, include basil, rosemary (though it’s perennial in warm climates), and cilantro.
Green onions, or scallions, are the easiest onions to grow, maturing in about 60 days. They’re inexpensive to grow yet they add plenty of snap and flavor to dishes.
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