In some past years, the passion for edible gardening is catching intensity since it gives us a chance not only to taste our products but also cut the costs of groceries to a great extent. Not only this, but edible gardening doesn’t need too much space since you can grow various veggies and fruits within pots and containers.
In other words, even if your home doesn’t have a small garden or in-ground garden beds, you can grow your veggies in pots and containers that you can place on patios, balconies, terraces, and anywhere within your home.
You might be surprised to know but some veggies tend to grow more nicely and rapidly, with heavier yields, within pots than in in-ground patches. All you need for them is a proper watering schedule, good soil, and ample sunlight. Which are those vegetables and what are their growing requirements, let’s unravel!
Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots and ContainersTomatoes
The very first vegetable that grows fabulously in pots and containers is the tomato. However, while planting the tomato seedlings, you need to consider some aspects. For example, if you are going to plant seedlings of bigger tomato varieties, you better dig them in deeper pots with more soil.
Likewise, for small-sized cherry tomatoes, a small-sized pot will be sufficient. As a general rule of thumb, remember that the tomato plants which grow up to 3-4 feet tall maximum are best for pots. Yes, you can grow bigger tomato vines in huge containers as well but you might have to transplant the seedlings in garden beds, afterwards.
And for successful transplanting, you need to undergo the repotting and hardening off techniques. If you are directly starting from the transplant, instead of growing tomatoes from seeds, get the one having the greenest foliage, sturdy and thick stem.
To avoid soil-borne diseases, get a high-end potting mix. Since the garden soil is quite denser than potting mix, it cannot support tomatoes seedlings appropriately. In addition to potting mix, also get half-strength fertilisers to feed your harvest.
Remember, tomatoes belong to the group of heavy feeders which means they need a higher proportion of nutrients to produce high yields. You can also make a mighty feed for your plant by mixing eggshells, bone meals, fish meals, and aspirin tablets.
Similarly, you also need to remember that tomatoes are heat-lovers and they cannot sustain frost or too cold environments. Thus, you better grow them inside of your house (if you live in colder regions). The ideal temperature for tomato plants is 21°C-27°C.
Lastly, tomatoes are the plants that live to be watered deeply and more frequently. In summer, you might have to water your potted tomatoes several times whereas, in winters, they only need to water after three to four days. To check whether your plants need a drink or not, dig your finger up to 3-4 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, water the pot thoroughly.Lettuce
Lettuce is also one of those vegetables which you can grow in pots and containers. However, the best thing about growing lettuce is that their roots do not dwell too deep which means you can use any shallow, less deep, but wide container to plant them.
Also, the material of the pot doesn’t affect the growth rate or yield and you can effortlessly recycle any plastic, terracotta, and clay containers to grow lettuce. Just don’t forget to poke the drainage hole at the bottom.
The lettuce plant is heat sensitive and at the same time, it’s also a sun-lover. In this way, where you should place the pot depends upon your climate conditions. For example, if you are living in a colder region, place them from where they can receive 5-7 hours of sunlight.
On the other hand, while living in a hotter region, let your plant stay under sunlight only during the early morning. To prevent heat damages and dehydration, arrange a shade above the container or bring it inside your home.
Speaking of soil quality, then just as other potted plants, lettuce also grows well with a potting mix that is rich in organic matter. To enhance the organic content of the soil, you can also add peat and compost to the container but make sure to let the pH exceed 7. Once the seedlings attain a height of 3-5 inches, add a well-balanced fertiliser to boost growth and resilience.
Lastly, you need to water your lettuce plant frequently. The soil should remain slightly moist, all the time but not too damp to give rise to rot and mold diseases.Chillies
You can grow all types of chillies, ranging from the mildly pungent to the hottest ones. While starting from the seed, you need a tray-like, 16″ deep container. Once the seeds sprout out, you have to transplant the seedlings into separate pots.
The potting soil you get for chillies should be quite loose so the water can drain through it fairly. Remember, that the chillies hate overwatering so poke several drainage holes into the container and add some sand to the soil mix to keep its texture loose.
To make the soil mix heartiest for your chillies, mix well-rotted compost and other components which bring the soil pH to 6.5-7. The best temperature for green chillies is 70-85°F. If the temperature deviates from this range, your plant will start to wilt. For super-fast growth, keep the plant under full sunlight.
If you are growing multiple chilly plants in a wide, huge sized container, make sure that every plant is about 5-10cm distant from the other one so each one could get enough water, sunlight, and nutrients.
Generally, watering a chilli plant deeply, twice a week is sufficient but if you are living in hotter regions, you can water them more frequently (usually when the topmost layer of soil gets dried). However, don’t saturate the roots of plants with water. Instead, you only need to damp them slightly to keep them perfectly nurtured and moist.Potatoes
Growing potatoes in garden beds comes with a major concern regarding critters who eat them away before you take the product out. Thus, growing your potatoes in containers is the best possible solution to keep your yield safe and untouched.
Also, this humble veggie can be grown in any material ranging from the worn-out kitchen sink, aged compost bag, paper sack, to stacked tires. All you need to do is to follow some ground rules and you’ll be able to treasure out the veggies at the end of the season.
As a rough estimate, you need to get a 10-litre container to grow one potato plant. If you can’t afford to get so many huge containers, get the exclusive potato sacks that are specifically manufactured to grow at least three potato plants at once.
The sprouted or bud-containing potatoes might act as your potato seeds. Get such potatoes from the grocery section of the supermarket and cut each potato so that every slice ends up getting at least two eyes (buds).
If you can’t find such potatoes, get a usable, fresher potato and keep it in a cold and humid place. It will induce sprouting into it, after which, you can cut it in the same way as described above. While sowing the seeds, keep the buds facing up and keep the container in a cooler place.
Remember that, unlike in-ground potato plants, container plants can’t get water from the soil and they have to rely solely on whatever you feed them. That’s why container potatoes need more water than those you’ve embedded in your garden beds. To keep the container completely moist, about ½ inches of water per week is sufficient.
The best time to grow potatoes is the days of spring and early summer, from march-may. Once the plant starts to bloom, you can dig out the product and if it’s not too cold, you can plan another harvest. Using the same seeding method, you can grow almost all types of potatoes, ranging from white potatoes to sweet potatoes.
Due to being an aggressively rooting crop, potato plants love full sun and if you use loose, light, and perfectly drained soil, you can expect the best crop at the end of the season. The only distinction here is that the soil of your container needs to be slightly more acidic, from 5-7.
Some other vegetables that grow best in containers
In addition to the veggies mentioned above, there are still some others that you can grow easily and productively within pots and containers such as beans, peas, peppers, radishes, spinach, beets, peppers beans, swiss chard, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, onions, Cole crops, and even the melons.
The growing conditions like pot depth, watering needs, feed formula, sunlight exposure, and seeding procedure might be different but there’s no doubt that all the crops if grown consciously, will yield the freshest and most flavorful veggies, plush with minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.