Almost any vegetable that grows in a backyard garden can be successfully grown in a container. So even if you are space-challenged, have limited physical mobility or have lots of deer roaming in your yard….you can have a “garden”. And container vegetables are easy to water and care for and require no weeding. I personally just use some good, all-purpose potting soil and have had great success with growing vegetables in pots. I would probably have even greater success if I actually measured my soil a little better and fertilized properly! If you have had success with growing vegetables or fruits in pots and have any helpful hints, we’d love to share them.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Container with drainage holes (You can make your own holes with a drill or nails)
- All purpose potting soil
- Vegetable plants
- General purpose liquid fertilizer
- About six hours of sunshine
1) Select the right container for your vegetable plants, which will depend on the mature size of your plant. For vegetables like radishes, green onions or pepper plants, an 8- to 10-inch pot containing 1 to 2 gallons of soil will do. A 12- to 14-inch pot containing 3 to 6 gallons of soil can support carrots, eggplant, beets or a dwarf tomato plant. For larger plants like cucumbers, squash, cabbage, full-size tomatoes or Brussel sprouts; use a large pot that will hold 10- to 20 gallons of soil……(these are suggestions-again, I don’t measure my soil but if I did, I’m sure my plants would yield more produce!)
2. Prepare the container for planting. If the container doesn’t have drainage holes, drill (or simply use a hammer and a nail) at least four drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the container with a good quality, all-purpose potting soil. Allow about 1/2 inch at the top of the container to allow for watering.
3. Mix a balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the soil. Use 1/2 teaspoon for each gallon of soil (or whatever the directions on your bag suggests). Slow-release fertilizer will supply the plant with nutrients for several weeks.
4. Dig a hole for each plant, using a trowel. The hole should be no deeper than the size of the plant’s root ball because planting too deep can cause plants to rot. *Tomato plants are the exception to this rule. They should be planted up to 1/2 the length of the stem. Place the plant in the hole, then pat the potting soil around the roots.
5. Water the vegetable plants immediately after planting. Then check the soil daily and water if the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Potted vegetable plants may need to be watered daily, especially during hot weather or very windy days. Water early in the day and avoid splashing the leaves as much as possible, water at the base of the plants.
6. Place the potted vegetable plants in the appropriate level of sunlight. Most vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight per day. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans and eggplants require full sunlight. Plants like cabbage, lettuce, spinach, onions, turnips, beets and radishes will benefit from afternoon shade.
7. Fertilize the plants with a supplementary fertilizer about 10 weeks after planting. Apply a general-purpose liquid fertilizer at the rate suggested on the fertilizer package label.
We have a balcony that is 12×5 foot big that the deer can’t get to and this is where I keep some of my vegetables and herbs I grow in pots. Not that big of an area but there are 29 vegetables and herbs in that space because I planted them in pots.
I am not a professional but I have had fresh vegetables and herbs from potted plants for the past couple of year. Again, if you have any suggestions or tips on successful gardening with pots, we’d love to hear from you.