Container gardening has recently grown as a popular and rewarding practice for plant enthusiasts, allowing them to experience the joy of growing vegetables in limited spaces. Whether you have a small balcony, a tiny backyard, or even just a sunny windowsill, container gardening provides a versatile and accessible option to grow your very own fresh produce. Container gardening offers a world of possibilities when it comes to growing vegetables. With careful selection, you can enjoy a diverse and abundant harvest right from the convenience of your container garden. Here are my top 10 easy-to-grow veggies that are well-suited for thriving in containers:
Tomatoes are amazing for container gardening! They're incredibly versatile and offer large harvests, making them a top pick for many gardeners. When choosing tomato varieties for containers, go for compact or determinate ones that are specially bred for container cultivation. These varieties are perfect because they won't take up too much space, yet they still produce a generous amount of juicy tomatoes. However, that being said, my favorite tomato is Early Girl and it is indeterminate, and it works great in containers for me every year. To ensure that your tomato plants grow upright and avoid any breakage, provide them with the support they need. Stakes or cages work wonders in keeping those tomato vines nice and sturdy.
Lettuce is such a fantastic vegetable for container gardening! This pretty little gem is a very easy plant to grow. It grows at a swift pace, and you can enjoy a fresh homegrown salad. The best varieties are loose leaf and dwarf options. Butterhead and Bibb lettuce are beautiful choices to grow in a container. Lettuce can be harvested leaf by leaf as needed. When growing lettuce, maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil and prevent the lettuce from tasting bitter.
A great addition to your container garden would be spinach. It is chocked full of nutrients and easily added to salads, casseroles, and quiches. I would recommend varieties like Matador or Viking. Harvest spinach leaf by leaf as needed. When harvesting spinach, snip the outer leaves first, this allows continuous growth for the inner leaves. Spinach enjoys a well-drained soil and cool conditions. I plant spinach around my pepper plants to minimize space. Spinach would be perfect to plant in a grow bag so you can move it to partial shade during the hotter times of the year.
Radishes are a great plant for container gardening. They are a fast-growing plant and range in flavors from mild and peppery to spicy. I would recommend Champion or Sparkler varieties. These varieties mature pretty quickly and do very well in smaller spaces. Radishes prefer a well-draining loose soil. It is important to have drainage holes in the container to prevent waterlogging. Radishes are usually ready within 20-30 days depending on the variety you chose to plant. Harvest the radish when it is at your desired size, but not too big, because they tend to lose their crispiness and become woody.
Carrots! Yes carrots! There are compact varieties of carrots that thrive in containers. The dwarf varieties I like are Little Finger, which grow to be about 4 inches long, and Chantenay which can grow up to 5 inches long. Any variety longer than about 5 inches would do better in a deeper soil other than a container. A loose, sandy soil is best for carrots to produce straight roots. Containers should be at least 12″ deep to handle carrot roots. Grow time for most carrots is about 50-60 days and should be about a finger-width of thickness.
Beans, beans good for the heart! Do you remember that particular song of your childhood? 🙂 Green beans and wax beans are perfect choices for container gardening. I would choose the bush varieties of beans like Golden Wax and Tendergreen. They make more sense for container gardens because they have a compact growth habit. Beans like a soil rich in organic matter and is well drained. Soil should be kept evenly moist, not saturated. Typically, the bush varieties produce a pod that is 4-6 inches long. You can gently snap or use garden shears to remove. Practice regular harvesting, because this boosts the plant's production.
Cucumbers! A great choice for your container garden! These crispy green treasures can be obtained in dwarf or bush varieties that make it easy to grow in a container. I would opt for the Spacemaster or a bush variety. However, you will need to eventually set up some form of staking or a trellis to support the growth of the plant. These guys love consistent moisture and warm, fertile soil. The little tendrils from the cucumber plant will wrap itself around the support system. You can slowly train it grow upward on the trellis or the support stakes you have installed.
Peppers have the ability to grow comfortably in a container garden. There are several different colorful varieties that are well suited for container growing. I have grown and recommend Bell Peppers, Tabasco peppers, and Sweet Banana Peppers. Pepper plants prefer very hot weather conditions and have a high tolerance for heat. You want to keep the soil slightly moist at all times, don't allow the soil to dry completely out. I have grown many pepper plants in just a regular five-gallon bucket, with some holes drilled for drainage, and they did great that year, you should try it. It is an exceptionally cheap way to get peppers onto your table! You can even save the seeds to plant for another crop!
Eggplants are a wonderful choice for growing in a container. Eggplants are sun lovers! Make sure they receive 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. These pretty plants prefer a soil that is rich in organic matter and is well draining. I have grown Black Beauty and Ichiban varieties before. Black Beauty is a larger variety and it does well in a container. Ichiban is a skinnier more elongated eggplant and is great for slicing and frying, and don't forget the ranch! Eggplants grow best in a well-draining and fertile soil packed with organic matter.
You thinking about planting peas in your container garden? Fabulous! What an excellent choice! Peas grow quickly and don't require much attention at all. I recommend the Sugar Bon Dwarf or Sugar Ann varieties as they grow relatively smaller and don't usually need support. Dwarf varieties have a compact growth habit, which make them perfect for small balconies and patios. That being said, I have grown some bush plants that stated no support system was needed, and then I had to go rig something up! So keep your eye on it and watch it as it develops. Peas are magical legumes that have an impressive ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil. This natural process enriches the soil, benefitting the neighboring plants. Peas perform best in slightly acidic soil that is well drained and contains rich organic matter.
There you have it! My list of the top 10 easy-to-grow vegetables for container gardening include tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, beans, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and peas. Each vegetable has its own specific requirements, but with proper care and attention to factors such as soil, water, and sunlight, these vegetables can thrive in containers.
Would you still like some guidance on gardening? Sure! Join me in my Facebook Group, Beginner Gardeners Start Here. We have a private and safe space for you to ask all of your questions!