Absolutely nothing you can find in a grocery store can ever compare to the just picked, pot to plate taste you get from homegrown tomatoes and other vegetables, strawberries and other fruits and herbs such as chives, thyme, parsley and mint.
There simply is nothing like the pleasure of an edible garden.
But is it possible to enjoy this bounty when all you have is a tiny garden plot or just a bit of space on a balcony, patio or maybe only a railing planter or windowbox?
Yes it is.
Vegetable container gardening is also a natural in raised beds, where you can get an amazing amount of food from a relatively small space.
In this article I will tell you about the easiest, most goof-proof vegetables, which varieties to grow and what care they require.
The absolutely easiest veg to grow
If you’re new to growing vegetables in containers and want the absolutely easiest to grow vegetable, plant leaf lettuce.
Vegetables in containers – Growing tips
- What type of container is best for container veggies?
- What sort of soil to use and how to plant
- Vegetable growing tips – feeding, watering and vegetable-care
- What to plant – the 5 easiest vegetables to grow
Growing tomatoes in your containers
Have you ever tasted a straight-from-the-vine tomato, fully ripe and still warm from the sun?
If you have, you know that those cardboard-tasting things they sell in winter as tomatoes in chain grocery stores (picked long before they’re ripe)are absolutely nothing like the real thing.
And while tomatoes do require a bit of care, they aren’t hard to grow if you have a sunny spot and are careful about watering. A container or two of tomatoes on the deck won’t provide (for example) enough of a harvet so you can produce all the pasta sauce to last your family through the winter, but it will give you enough for those unbelievably delicious BLTs (several of them) and also to toss into salads or omelettes or just eat right off the vine, like the delicious fruit nature meant them to be.
Growing carrots in containers
Carrots usually need lots of growing room, like most root vegetables. But plant breeders and growers have developed some newer varieties that don’t get as big, and so they’re happy in containers, especially when you plant in one shaped (more or less) like a trough, or in a raised bed.
They want plenty of sun and plenty of water.
Growing peppers in containers
I’ve noticed there are a lot more types of peppers available, both as seeds and young plants, just in the last few years. It seems that peppers are getting more popular with gardeners, which just makes sense.
Peppers add so much zing and flavour to soups, stews, pasta and salads and they’re easy to grow. They even flower and look good, mixed in with your non-edible flowers and plants.
Chili peppers are the easiest to grow, with sweet peppers coming in a close second.
Peppers are used to a longer growing season in their native lands than they get in milder climates. If you live in a gardening zone that gets frost or snow be prepared to take them indoors to allow the peppers to fully ripen in a warm, bright room.
Growing vegetables in containers – more container-friendly vegetables
All of these thrive in containers:
- Beans, including scarlet runner beans
- Plus the smaller varieties of cabbage and Chinese cabbage, eggplant, squash, horseradish, kohlrabi, potatoes, pumpkins, beets and cucumbers.
Growing vegetables in containers – hanging baskets
Lettuce, the smaller varieties of tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes and the smaller chilis are all content in hanging baskets.
So are some fruits, such as raspberries, and many herbs, such as chives.
Vegetables that tolerate shade
Vegetables need sun, though some will tolerate mixed sun and shade, including all the leaf vegetables.
Tomatoes and basil don’t just work well together in recipes, they also are natural companions in the garden.
They’re just one example of companion planting, plants that work well together, look good together and sometimes help each in other ways, such as fending off pests and disease.
The opposite is true — there are some plants that simply don’t do well together (and definately should be kept out of each others’ pots).
What to plant with what and what should never be planted together.
Avoiding vegetable pests and diseases
At some point, your vegetables may be stricken by pests or diseases. Preventing problems and solving them, without using chemicals, because organic is the best way to a healthier plant and a healthier planet.
Growing vegetables in containers indoors
If you have a bit of space with good light and air circulation, vegetable container gardening is possible indoors.
Cherry tomatoes, chives, onions, and leaf vegetables (all the lettuces) are all on the indoor gardening menu…
Looking for vegetable growing tips for your in-ground garden?
The info on this site about growing vegetables in containers – care, tips, dealing with pests and diseases – also applies to gardening on a grander scale, such as larger in-ground vegetable gardens.
Once you’ve got these gardening basics tucked into your personal garden tool carrier, you may want to try other types of gardening.