If you live in a townhome or condo you can still grow fruits and vegetables, not in a garden but in containers. Container gardening is ideal for those with little or no garden space. In addition to growing flowers, gardeners limited to a balcony, small yard, or only a patch of sun on their driveway can produce a wide variety of vegetable crops in containers. Basil, chives, thyme, and other herbs also are quite happy growing in pots, which can be set in a convenient spot right outside the kitchen door.
Container gardening also adds versatility to gardens large and small. It’s easy to grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, squash, strawberries and more in containers. Just be mindful of the size of your pots as well as your plants.
Container Gardening Vegetables
Almost any fruit or vegetable plant can be grown in a container, provided your container is large enough. You can easily grow herbs, peppers, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, beans and eggplant in summer, as well as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and greens in spring and fall.
It helps to choose varieties specifically bred for small spaces. Look for variable names and descriptions including these words: bush, dwarf, patio, trailing, compact and miniature. This container is filled with Tumbling Tom tomato, a beautiful compact trailing variety that’s ideally suited for containers.
Most vegetables need fairly large containers to grow well. The best containers for vegetables are 12-18 inches wide and 18-24 inches deep. As a rule of thumb: The bigger the eventual size of the plant, the bigger pot you need. This Roma tomato variety is called Little Napoli, and even though it’s a compact plant, it still benefits from a deep container where roots can stretch out.
Lettuce is an exception to the size rule. Because it has shallow roots, lettuce grows well in nearly any container, including ones with as little depth as 6-8 inches. Lettuce grows best in cooler weather, so sow seeds in spring or fall. To grow in summer, keep lettuce in part shade.
Upright tomatoes will grow well in larger pots with a cage or stake, but you can also try small tumbling cherry varieties in hanging baskets or window boxes. This tumbler called Terenzo reaches only 16-20 inches tall and wide.
Summer squash and zucchini will grow well in containers. These plants do get large but don’t produce long vines like winter squash, which is better suited to growing in the ground or raised beds.
Peppers, both hot and sweet, grow easily in containers. Try them on their own or surrounded by flowers in a larger pot.
Strawberries Container Gardening
Strawberries grow so well in containers that they have their own pots. Specialized strawberry pots and planters have pockets on the sides where fruit can grow and cascade without touching the ground, which can cause berries to rot. As their name suggests, strawberry pots are ideal for growing strawberries.
Container gardening plants need regular feeding. Fertilize them by watering with diluted fish emulsion, seaweed extract, or compost tea. Or foliar feed by spraying the leaves with doubly diluted preparations of these solutions. Start by feeding once every two weeks; adjust the frequency depending on plant response.