Which vegetables are best for growing in containers? Well, many vegetables are highly growable in containers IF we fulfill a few basic requirements: full sun, a well-drained soil with copious amounts of organic matter, and consistent watering. If you happen to be new to growing vegetables for container gardening, start out with few containers so you can have success from your very first season onward. In the future you can always add more. Now, get gardening!
Container Vegetable #1: Beans
Green beans in bush form do well in containers as small as 8″ deep and 8″ wide per plant. Try “Gold Rush” or “Blue Lake” for good flavor and consistent production. Conversely, Pole beans need a larger container and a sturdy trellising system. ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ can be grown both for fresh green bean or as a dry bean.
Container Vegetable #2: Root Vegetables, like Turnips
Turnips work well in combination with other greens. Plant an early fall crop and again in mid-summer for a spring crop. Don’t forget that turnip leaves (greens) are also edible, like mustard, as they are both the same plant species, just different varieties or selections.
Container Vegetable #3: Chard
Chard is becoming a container super-star as the beauty (and taste) of the colorful foliage are realized by container gardeners everywhere. Plants can be harvested throughout the summer and into fall. If kept picked, tender chard leaves can be used in salads. If the leaves are older, they make a great summer spinach substitute.
Container Vegetable #4: Greens
Asian greens like ‘Tatsoi’ or mustards like ‘Red Giant’ grow well in containers. Other salad greens such as arugula, which can be started indoors under lights at the end of winter, are good choices as well. Outdoors, sow as soon as the soil is workable. Kale and collard greens can extend your harvest into summer and fall so that you will always have greens available to cook.
Container Vegetable #5: Eggplant
Eggplants are very ornamental when grown in a pot, especially the purple asian varieties. Try the hybrid varieties ‘Hansel’ or ‘Gretel’ for compact plants and good production. You will need to cage the plant for support, like with most vegetables, in containers.
Container Vegetable #6: Lettuces
Lettuces grow very well in a spring or fall container. They can be sown directly into a container or planted as transplants. Some gardeners get creative and make salad balls by connecting two wire baskets and then planting with salad plugs.
Container Vegetable #7: Peppers
Peppers do well in containers and don’t need as much water as other plants, such as tomatoes. The variety of colors, flavors, heat, and sizes is endless. Make sure you provide a cage for support. Fall crops can be quite heavy.
Container Vegetable #8: Radish
Radishes are fun plants to grow with young children as they grow quickly, satisfying eager beginners. Harvest before temperatures begin to rise as they develop strong flavors later in spring. ‘French Breakfast’ has a mild flavor and tasty crunch.
Container Vegetable #9: Spinach
Spinach can be started in succession for a ready supply through spring and fall. The plants will bolt when the weather gets hot. Consider replacing with malabar or other heat loving plants in the height of summer.