Vegetable Container Gardening Tips

Container Gardening
Vegetables In Container

In case you don't have much space and you want to grow your own veggies, the most effective solution is to simply grow it in containers. Those 5 gallon buckets make excellent containers to grow your vegetables to a great success.

Another reason why you might want to grow your plants in a container is due to poor soil in your garden. Soil borne diseases or nematodes (which is a common problem resulting from growing a lot of Solanaceae plants in one spot, such as tomatoes and peppers) are dangerous so they make your garden soil unusable. If you have this problem in your garden, growing your vegetables and other plants in containers is a great way to go.

Not to mention that growing in containers gives you a perfect control over the environmental conditions your plants are exposed to. Incase it's too hot, too wet, too windy or too cold, you can simply move the container to a more appropriate spot. Container gardening also makes it easier to create a microclimate for your plants (for example, by making a mini-greenhouse). It will extend the range of plants you can grow in your climate zone. It's much easier to do than with a common garden.

The Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots

Which plants can you grow in pots? The good news is that you can grow just about anything. However, certain vegetables are particularly suitable to be grown this way. Here is the list of top 10 vegetables to grow in containers:

  • Salad greens. Lettuce, Mizuna, Rocket/Aruglia, and more.
  • Spinach. Both English spinach and Silver beet do great in a container.
  • Tomato.
  • Eggplant/aubergine.
  • Potatoes.
  • Asian greens. Pack Choy, Bok Choy, Tatsoi, and more.
  • Roots. Radish, turnip, beetroot/table beet, and more.
  • Spring onion/scallion.
  • Bush bean, French bean, haricot, wax bean.
  • Kale.
  • Capsicum/red and green peppers.

Growing Tips

  • Keep in mind that vegetables are vigorous growers, so make sure to pick big containers. Smaller plants (such as lettuce) will need a pot that's at least 8-9" (20-25cm) deep and about 12" (30cm) wide. The more robust plants, such as tomatoes and eggplants need pots that are at least 12-15 inches (30-40 cm) deep and 15-20 inches (40-50 cm) wide.
  • If you want to grow bigger plants, it's best to choose compact varieties so they won't fill out the container so quickly.
  • Plastic and lightweight pots are easier to move around so they are more convenient.
  • Vegetables like sunshine, but they also need some protection from sun during the hottest time of the day. The pots tend to dry out quickly. This is why some partial shade is best to provide to your plants. On the other hand, if your chosen spot doesn't get much light you can grow certain vegetables that don't require much light. For example, you may grow most leafy vegetables with as little as three hours of direct sun per day. Keep in mind, however, that fruiting plants need at least 5-6 hours of sun per day to perform well.
  • For the best results, use a rich soil mix. Even if your garden soil is healthy, don't simply expect it to fill the container with it and your plants will thrive. You should use a quality potting mix for your container plants. The best mix is the one containing added organic fertilizers and conditioners. Always ask for how long the mix has been stored in the nursery (older mixes tend to lose their added goodness).
  • It's best to start with a quality potting mix and then add organic goodies to create a perfect medium for your plants. Good additions for the mix are coir/coco peat, pelletized chicken manure, 1/2 scoop of blood and bone meal and a pinch of trace element mix. Mix all these additions with the potting mix to create a great blend that will make your container plants thrive.
  • You need to keep your container vegetables growing quickly to achieve the best results. Take a good care of them and don't let them dry out. Treat them with some liquid fertilizer every fortnight to make them thrive.

Photo credit: Andrew Perkins

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