Growing vegetables in containers is easy, especially for beginners! Here, you’ll learn the 5 best container vegetables for beginning gardeners, planting instructions, and recipes for your harvest.
Are you a beginning gardener? New to ideas like crop rotation and plant thinning? Don’t worry–vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be a chore.
Even if you only have an apartment patio, you can grow your own vegetables in pots or containers. There’s no comparison in flavor, and a $3 packet of seeds will give you plants for several years.
Growing vegetables in containers is an easy way to enjoy fresh food without the hassles of pulling weeds or tilling the soil. All you need is a pot, good soil, and sun!
Here are the 5 best container vegetables for beginning gardeners. They’re all easy to start from seed and will grow happily in pots on your patio, driveway, next to your pool…wherever they fit.
5 Best Container Vegetables for Beginning Gardeners
Most cucumbers are vining plants, and will grow best when they have a trellis or something similar to climb on. These juicy slicing cucumbers are perfect for growing in containers because they are a bush variety. No trellis needed, and they are perfect for growing in containers. The 6 to 8 inch long fruits have smooth, tender skin and sweet, crisp flesh.
Planting: Plant one plant per 12 inch pot, or 2 plants in a larger container that’s at least 18 inches across. For larger planters, grow plants at final spacing of 8 to 10 inches apart.
Recipes: Slice and add to salads, or make Tzatziki sauce.
Astia is a French bush variety, developed especially for containers and small space gardens. As you can see, you only need to plant one or two of these prolific zucchini…you’ll soon have enough to feed the entire neighborhood. Its compact vines are ornamental, early bearing and productive, with easy to harvest, glossy green fruits.
Planting: Plant one plant per 15 inch pot, or 2 plants in pots 20 inches or more across.
Recipes: We love making Zucchini Fritters or adding zucchini to stir-fry, spaghetti sauce, or fried rice.
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Isn’t this chard beautiful? There are so many different varieties, and this one is my favorite. Like zucchini, you only need to plant one or two chard seeds and you’ll soon have loads of plants. Delicious, reliable and highly ornamental, these vigorous plants have crunchy golden stems contrasting with deep green leaves. They’re perfect for containers or striking mixed borders.
Planting: Plant Pot of Gold Chard 8 inches apart and harvest the outside stalks first, leaving the inner ones to continue growing.
Recipes: Use chard leaves to make lettuce wraps or add to salad. Don’t think your kids will eat chard? Here are some ways to get them to try it.
I had no idea that lettuce would grow well in containers until I discovered Jade Gem. Aren’t these adorable? Jade Gem has fat little rosettes of juicy-sweet, wavy leaves that look like a plump mini romaine. Jade Gem grows quickly, and is ready to harvest in just over 30 days. Plant every couple of weeks for continued harvests.
Planting: Plant Jade Gem seeds 4-6 inches apart–several can fit in a container, as shown below.
I thought that all green beans had to grow up poles or on a trellis, because that’s how Grandpa grew his green beans. I’m so glad that I was wrong! Rolande are extra-slim, French filet or “haricot vert” snap beans. They stay slender and stringless longer than most green beans, so if you dislike mealy string beans like I do, Rolande is your best choice. These delicate beans have superb taste and an extra-crispy texture.
Planting: Plant Rolande beans 6-8 inches apart and harvest daily, when the beans are no thicker than a pencil.
Recipes: Rolande Bush Beans are delicious when added to a stir-fry or Honey-Garlic Chicken.
Container Gardening Tips
- Be sure you’re planting at the right time with a customized vegetable planting schedule.
- If outdoor cats are getting into your garden containers, here are some ways to keep them out.
- Don’t use regular garden soil in your containers. A good commercial potting mix will give consistent drainage, is free of weeds and pests, and has lots of nutrients. I like this variety but for heaven’s sake, buy it locally.
- Once a month, apply diluted fertilizer to the containers. I use this, although it’s a little stinky.
Read more about Container Gardening
All photos courtesy Renee’s Garden