Why Use Containers to Grow Vegetables?
Container gardening is widely popular for the vegetable-growing enthusiast with limited gardening space. Plant containers can be placed in any sunny or mostly sunny location, like on a deck, patio, in the yard or on a balcony. Balcony-grown container plants will do best on a west or south exposure, and turning the containers 180 degrees every few days can help. Hanging containers are also an option to take advantage of available sunny space.
By growing your own vegetables, you gain the satisfaction of growing and sharing food with family and friends. Grow some extra vegetables to donate to your local food cupboard or shelter. Whether you plant from seed or from nursery starter plants, you will find great savings at harvest time when you see the price of fresh vegetables at your local grocery store.
Almost any non-porous or semi-porous (like clay) container with drain holes can be a container for growing vegetables. You don’t have to buy expensive containers; a plastic one gallon milk carton with the top cut off can grow leaf lettuce, radishes or green onions. Metal containers are not advised because of the rust factor. Click here for details on choosing outdoor containers.
The Best Vegetables to Grow in Containers
Almost any vegetable can be grown in a container. A minimum diameter container/pot size is included with the plants listed below. You may have success using a smaller container than suggested. I grew tomatoes in a 10 inch pot, but instead of inserting the stake into the pot to hold up the plant, I had to insert the stake into the ground and secure the growing tomato to the stake to keep the pot from falling over. This list of container vegetables is not all inclusive but should give you a start on your own container gardening.
Note: Small = 6 to 8 inches; Medium = 10 to 12 inches; Large = 16 inches or more
Leafy Vegetables suitable for growing in a medium to large container include leaf lettuce (like romaine, bibb), cabbage and spinach.
Bushy Vegetables like eggplant, green beans, pepper (sweet and hot varieties) and tomatoes can be grown in a large container. If you place the container near a fence, you may be able to secure the growing plant to the fence if the variety chosen requires staking.
Vining Vegetable options include squash, peas, cucumber and zucchini, which can be led up a trellis next to the container. Use a medium container. The vines can be allowed to grow on the ground but not on cement, which could get too hot.
Root Vegetables include radish and green onion that can be grown in a small container, even a window box.
In addition to my experience growing vegetables in pots, Texas A & M University offers these tips on Vegetable Gardens In Containers.
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