Urban gardening often means growing on rooftops, balconies, alleyways, sidewalks or whatever little space the gardener has available.
Gardeners with physical disabilities find that growing vegetables in containers makes them far easier to reach and tend.
Unsuitable soil conditions such as sand, stone, and clay makes growing vegetables especially challenging.
And even in urban areas, gardeners often find container gardening as a way to avoid sharing their harvest with deer, rabbits and woodchucks.
If you are new to growing vegetables in containers, or have had limited success, here is an infographic with the best vegetables for container gardening to help you succeed.
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Bonus Container Gardening Tips
Select the right container or planter
As a general rule, select as large a container as possible.
Small containers dry out more quickly and may need daily watering.
Self-watering planters designed for urban balconies and patios extend the time between watering.
The rule of the thumb is to choose a planter that is proportional to the size of the plant. But it’s better to err on the higher side.
Plus, the bigger your container, the more plants you can grow!
Choose a planter that is proportional to the size of the plant. #containergardening
Select the location of your planter wisely
Most vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Therefore, you should place containers where they will receive maximum sunlight and good ventilation.
Salad greens and herbs can usually get by with less. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and other sun-lovers will appreciate as much sun as they can get.
Wind is another factor to consider.
Your plants will be happiest in a protected location where the wind doesn't batter and dry out their foliage.
Use the shelter of a building, or erect a temporary windbreak made from portable fencing or fabric. Arrange your pots so larger plants shield smaller plants.
Clustering potted plants also helps to raise humidity levels, keeping plants more productive.
Clustering potted plants helps to raise humidity levels, keeping plants more productive. #containergardening
Use soil with caution, if you must
Do not fill your containers with soil from your garden or bagged topsoil.
You can save yourself the trouble associated with soil-based media by using a recommended "soilless" blend that will retain moisture and resist compaction.
A good example is our recommended Organic Potting Mix from Amazon.
Water your vegetables as frequent as necessary
Container vegetables require a consistent supply of water to perform their best.
Inconsistent moisture causes lots of problems, such as blossom drop, poor root development, leaf curling, insect problems, and rot.
The best way to ensure your plants always have a consistent supply of water is to use a self-watering planter.
Filling the reservoir every few days is all that's required.
The plants will absorb moisture as they need it, making them happy and healthy.
Container vegetables require a consistent supply of water to perform their best. #containergardening
Apply an appropriate fertilizer
Fertilizer is especially important when you're growing vegetables in containers.
In fact, you just won't succeed if you don't use some kind of fertilizer.
There are several reasons why fertilizer is important.
First is that the growing medium in the container has few, if any, nutrients. Your plants depend on you to provide the nutrients they need.
Second is that containerized plants get watered a lot, and every time you water you wash some nutrients from the soil otherwise called - leaching.
The third reason fertilizers are necessary is that in a container garden, you are packing lots of plants into a small space.
You can use Humboldts secret plant food formulation in combination with appropriate fertilizer for the best results. Just make sure to read the instructions on the label.
Fertilizer is especially important when you're growing vegetables in containers. #containergardening
Support your container vegetables
Support your climbing vegetables with trellises, stakes, netting, twine, or cages. Here’s how to build your own trellis or wooden supports.
A teepee of bamboo stakes will hold pole beans or snap peas. Cucumbers trained to climb up a nylon mesh fence will develop fruit that hang down and grow straight.
To avoid damaging the plants or their roots, put supports in place at planting time.
To maximize space and harvest; plant root crops, low-growers, and tall climbers together in the same container.
The climbers will eagerly scramble up a trellis, while the small plants spread around their base.
You’ll hardly need to weed because there won’t be any room for weeds to gain a foothold, and during the height of summer, some low-growers (leafy greens, for example) will thrive in the shade provided by the taller plants.
If you are using a trellis or some other type of support in your container, wind is a special concern. Make sure you have a heavy pot and/or that the trellis is secured to a railing or some other fixed upright.
To maximize space, combine a trailing plant with an upright plant together in the same container.
Combine plants with the same needs
This is the fun part.
When combining several different types of plants in one pot, it's best to match plants that have a similar need for water and fertilizer.
For example, rosemary, which likes hot and relatively dry conditions, would not be a good match with water-hungry cucumbers!
Make use of smart gardens
If you’re like most lazy gardeners, you already feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, you can make use smart garden that does everything for you.
Inspired by NASA technology, the smart garden creates the perfect environment plants need to thrive.
It releases nutrients in sync with the plant's life cycle, keeps soil pH balanced, and employs tiny oxygen pockets to guarantee plants get ample breathing room and nutrients even when the soil is wet.
General Care Tips for Container Gardening Vegetables
- Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better and won’t dry out as fast as unglazed terra-cotta ones. To get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a slightly larger clay pot.
- Black pots absorb heat when they are sitting in the sun.
- Many plants grown in pots must be watered as often as twice a day. To keep plants adequately cool and moist during hot summer days, double-pot: Place a small pot inside a larger one and fill the space between them with sphagnum moss or crumpled newspaper. When watering the plant, also soak the filler between the pots.
- Vegetables that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home.
- Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
- An occasional application of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to container soil.
- Place containers where they will receive maximum sunlight and good ventilation. Watch for and control insect pests.
Recap of the best vegetables for container gardening
You’ve seen all the best vegetables for container gardening in the infographic. And to add the icing on the cake I’ve given you some bonus tips.
But I wanted to make a recap so that you can pick the ones you like the most. Without a specific order, here they are:
- Beans, snap - may be vined or bushy and come in several sizes and colors.
- Carrots - does great in a pot during spring
- Cucumbers - pretty easy to grow in containers
- Lettuce - variety of colors that adds beauty
- Peppers - suitable in window boxes
- Radishes - grows quickly and gorgeous
- Tomatoes - favorite vegetable for gardeners to grow
- Collard greens - the leaves looks as good as they taste
- Egg Plant - works as an ornamental plant due to its beauty
- Peas - perfect for succession planting
- Zucchini - beautiful, edible blossoms and fruit
- Potato - tastes better when grown in containers
Have you found this post useful? Please let me know in the comments.