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5 Best Vegetables to Grow In Containers

best vegetables to grow in containers

Growing vegetables in containers is a convenient way to have your produce available in or right outside the kitchen. Maybe you use an outdoor kitchen in warm weather, allowing you to locate the pots at your fingertips. In this situation, you may be asking which are the best vegetables to grow in containers? We’re happy to provide you with some answers.

5 Best Vegetables to Grow In Containers

1. Peppers

best vegetables to grow in containers

Available in a variety of spicy flavors, peppers can grow happily in pots if the container is large enough.
 
Hot peppers are smaller, take less room, and continue to produce until autumn if temperatures cooperate. Grow pepper plants from seeds you’ve started indoors ahead of time or from seedlings you buy at the garden center.
 
Either way, grow your pepper plants in pairs. Each plant offers increased yield and protections to the other throughout their life, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac
 
According to Better Homes and Gardens, “Peppers like pots at least 16 inches in diameter.” Depending on the depth, you can likely grow two to four peppers in this size container.
 
Locate your peppers in a sunny spot (at least six hours per day, eight is better). Don’t forget the water, even daily if the soil dries out. If your peppers are growing and producing as they should, you might need to water twice a day during the hottest days of summer.
 
Get used to checking the soil for moisture with an index finger down to the second knuckle. Or, save that manicure and use an inexpensive moisture meter, readily available at your big box or garden store.

 

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spinach

Start spinach from seeds in a long container that can sit on the railing of your deck before the last frost date, after freezing temps have passed.
 
Keep seeds moist, not soggy, until you see them sprouting through the soil.
 
Move your container to a sunny spot as seedlings develop. Soon you’ll be able to harvest small leaves to toss with other salad greens. Spinach benefits from a touch of frost.
 
When spring gives way to warmer temperatures, move the spinach container into an area with morning sun and afternoon shade. If growing spinach with other vegetables, plant it underneath the taller ones for shade.
 
Spinach will come back repeatedly when harvested from the outside, making it one of the five best vegetables to grow in containers.
 
It will bolt (flower and produce seeds) when temperatures are too hot. At this point, remove the plants and discard. If you want to save the seed place the seeded flower into a small paper bag upside down. When summer is ending, start another crop with those seeds for spinach in autumn.

3. Leaf Lettuce

best vegetables to grow in containers

Another easy to grow, leafy green for your salads. Plant leaf lettuce with your spinach.
 
Try Mesclun Mix or Swiss chard to add color to your container. Plant these from seed at the same time you plant the spinach.
 
To keep your supply of salad greens coming, plant another crop every two to three weeks. As with the peppers, keep well- watered.
 
Feed with fish emulsion or other organic fertilizer.

4. Eggplant

best vegetables to grow in containers

Not the vegetable you expect to see growing on someone’s deck, eggplant does well in large containers. It is a stately, flowering plant that you’ll be happy to have in a container near the kitchen.
 
For those who sometimes get a craving for Moussaka or Eggplant Parmesan, its never tasted as good as when it comes from a fresh plant you’ve grown.
 
Find a container, at least five gallons in size and get growing. This tropical plant is a heavy feeder, so be prepared to give it what it needs for optimum growth. In addition to the soil prep instructions below, fertilize regularly.
 
Plant seedlings or small plants of the eggplant variety of your choice or start from seeds. Place the container in a full sun spot, as you watch your eggplant reach two to four feet.
 
Eggplant love heat and water rushing through its roots, so provide plenty of both. Don’t let soil stay soggy. Mulch this plant to help keep the soil cool.
 
If you grow just one plant, expect a yield of four to six eggplants, depending on variety. Research varieties before planting so you’ll know what to expect and plan for the harvest.

5. Parsley

best vegetables to grow in containers

Always handy to have close to the kitchen, most varieties grow well in cool weather.
 
A biennial herb, just tuck in some seeds with your other plantings and it will last for two years before bolting.
 
You can transplant the parsley long after the vegetable harvest is done. Use it to flavor a range of dishes and of course to garnish your culinary endeavors.

Choosing Your Containers and Soil

You may grow your vegetables in separate pots or try growing them all together in a large container. A small raised bed is a container, so you get the idea. Unusual containers are trendy these days. If you have something you want to use that can have drainage holes added, give it a try. Half-barrel pots are often just right.
 
If using individual pots though, make sure they have drainage holes and plenty of room for roots to grow. If you use a terra cotta container, plan to water more often. Glazed ceramics or light-colored plastic is your easiest choice. The smaller the pot, the more often you need to water.
 
Start with a good quality potting soil; It does not need to have fertilizer or soil retention pellets included. Mix plain potting soil with compost before filling your containers, using about one-fourth compost.
 
Mix well and moisten the soil before adding it to your pots. You’ll have best results when doing your own fertilizing and not relying on soil additives.

Need Some Assistance From A Master Gardener?

You just received a great overview of the 5 easiest and fastest growing foods to grow in pots. And while this will go a long way in helping you grow the food you eat, if you're serious about gardening and growing your own food, you may want to get some expert assistance from a Master Gardener so that you'll get even better results.

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    • Containers
    • Sun requirements
    • Caring for your Soil
    • Watering your garden
  • When to plant it
    • Cool Weather Crops
    • Warm Weather Crops
    • Estimated Planting Times
  • What are the 12 best veggies to plant in your new garden
    • Should you plant seeds…or seedlings?
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easiest vegetables to grow in containers

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2 Comments

  • This is very interesting! We currently grow peppers, basil and Rosemary in small planters. I would love to grow our own lettuce but was afraid we would never have enough because one head can be one to two salads.

    I was curious about Fish Emulsion. What exactly is that and do you put in right into your soil? Does this work the best and where can you find that?

    • Hi Traci,

      Fish emulsion is an organic fertilizer (made from fish… Alaska fish is best) that adds a ton of micronutrients. You can find it on Amazon and I’ve linked the one I have great success with above!

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