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
These juicy slicing cucumbers grow quickly on disease resistant, dwarf bushes–perfect for a small space or container. The 6 to 8 inch long fruits have smooth, tender skin and sweet, crisp flesh.
Astia is a French bush variety, developed especially for containers and small space gardens. Its compact vines are ornamental, early bearing and productive, with easy to harvest, glossy green fruits. They’re delicious in Zucchini Fritters or added to fried rice.
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. Don’t think your kids will eat chard? Here are some ways to get them to try it.
An heirloom gardener’s favorite, Jade Gem has fat little rosettes of juicy-sweet, wavy leaves that look like a plump mini romaine. Grows quickly for long harvests of ready-to-eat salads with homemade croutons and Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Rolande are extra-slim, long deep green filet or “haricot vert” snap beans. These delicate beans have superb taste and an extra-crispy texture. They’re 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.
- Use a large container so the roots have space to grow. It doesn’t need to be a fancy pot–an empty 5-gallon bucket with drainage holes is perfect.
- 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.
- In the heat of summer, check the soil dryness at least every other day. Stick your finger in the soil and if it’s dry below the surface, water.
- Once a month, apply diluted fertilizer to the containers. I use this, although it’s a little stinky.
Seed Starting Advice
Vegetable Gardening Advice
Grow the best vegetables in town and learn about gardening from a Certified Master Gardener. Vegetable Gardening Basics is a comprehensive video course that I highly recommend.
All photos courtesy Renee’s Garden