The 10 Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

By   | Last Updated :   May 6, 2021 | Filed In :   Garden Landscaping Ideas

Container gardens are ideal for when space is limited, like if you’ve only got a balcony or courtyard. They’re also useful for introducing plants to your patio, so you can maximise your lawn. Even in larger gardens, containers are a great way to keep an eye on lots of different plants with a variety of needs – and that’s never more true than when you’re growing edible plants. Today, we’ll be checking out some of the easiest, most rewarding and all-round best vegetables for container gardening.

    1. Tomatoes are super satisfying to grow in containers, as you can literally watch the fruits of your labours form and ripen, ready to enjoy straight from the vine. You can grow tomatoes from seed, but I definitely recommend buying starter seedlings to get a head start. Also remember that the bigger the tomato, the bigger the plant – start with cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes if you don’t have much room!

    2. We’ve started growing lettuces in our container garden, and I can’t wait until they’re ready. You can grow most varieties quite easily from seed – I’d just recommend staggering the growth so you don’t end up with ten lettuces ready at once! Alternatively, you can grow just a handful of lettuce heads and harvest them as “cut and come again” crops, where you take just the outer leaves each time and allow the vegetable to carry on growing.
      several small lettuces with green and purple foliage growing in a hanging basket
    3. Did you know you can grow potatoes without a ground-floor garden? You’ll need a lot of soil (it’s actually easiest to grow them in a bag of compost) and they require a lot of water, but it’s possible to have a great yield of these dinner plate staples. Make sure your container gets lots of sun, and be prepared to get muddy when it comes to earthing up!
      how to grow potatoes: chit them before planting
    4. Carrots – particularly short-rooted cultivars – can be grown in a container garden quite happily. If you’re itching to get planting at the beginning of the year, start with your carrot seeds around February and expect to harvest them in June.
      five large garden planters with carrots growing inside
    5. Mange-tout peas are one of the best vegetables for container gardening, and will grow in a sunny, sheltered spot, or a warm windowsill. Just remember that peas are climbing plants, so give them a trellis or wigwam to cling onto – otherwise they might use other nearby plants. They’re also a great vegetable to grow with children!
      plastic containers with pea plant seedlings
    6. Radishes are the perfect topping for a fresh salad or a tasty taco. You can grow them in pots or troughs, planting the seeds about 3cm apart for spring radishes or 15cm for the larger, autumn harvest. Like lettuces, it’s a good idea to sow radishes in succession so you don’t end up with too many – space them about two weeks apart.
      radish seedlings with green leaves and red stems, protruding through the soil in a pot
    7. If you want something a bit different, try growing chard in your containers. Their bright red stems look a bit like rhubarb, and can help your container garden feel like a stunning foodscape. When it’s time to harvest, take the outer leaves first and the centres will continue to grow.
      swiss chard growing in a container
    8. Spring onions take up hardly any space, so if you’re working with a really small outdoor area, give them a go. You can stagger your planting every 2-3 weeks across several pots to keep a continuous supply.
      a rectangular planter with spring onions growing inside
    9. Looking to add some kick to your salads? Rocket grows well in containers and is ready to start harvesting from 3-4 weeks, or 6 weeks if you’d prefer to wait for the larger leaves. Rocket is a fun way to add foliage into your garden while still keeping your pots practical!
      a repurposed cooking pot with rocket, or arugula, growing out of it
    10. Do you always have leftover garlic bulbs? You can plant a few individual garlic bulbs about 8cm into moist compost, leave them in a sunny spot and wait for them to develop into full bulbs again.
      pots of garlic, one of the best vegetables for container gardening

 That’s a quick run-down of the 10 best vegetables for container gardening – don’t forget to take a look at our other container plant tips, and remember that you can also grow certain vegetables in hanging baskets. Happy growing!

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By Kirsteen Mackay

Kirsteen is a professional writer who traded a tiny garden for an even smaller balcony when she moved to Brighton in 2015. Her interest in gardening stems from a keen desire to turn her simple slab of concrete into a lush urban oasis, complete with cosy-but-practical garden furniture and delicious edible plants.

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