Growing vegetables in containers is easy, especially for beginners! Here are 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.
Zucchini (also called summer squash) is a great vegetable for small-space gardeners.
It's nearly guaranteed to grow, it produces tons of veggies all summer long, and comes in lots of fun shapes and colors.
Varieties: Choose bush-type squash, which have a more compact footprint than the standard type. Here are the 6 best zucchini varieties to grow in containers.
Planting: Plant one plant per 15 gallon pot, or 2 plants in pots 20 inches or more across. Learn more about how to grow zucchini in containers.
Recipes: We love making Zucchini Fritters or adding zucchini to stir-fry, spaghetti sauce, or fried rice.
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!
Varieties: Blue Lake bush beans are the most common type of green bean, and they have excellent flavor.
My favorite yellow bean (sometimes called wax bean) is
Gold Rush bush bean. The slender beans grow in clusters and are easy to see and pick.
Who doesn’t love a purple bean? I like
Royal Burgundy bush beans because of their beautiful color and great flavor. Kids love them, and they turn green when cooked!
Here's more about the
best varieties of beans to grow in containers.
Planting: Plant beans 6-8 inches apart and harvest daily, while the pods are slender and crisp.
Recipes: Green beans are delicious when added to a stir-fry or Honey-Garlic Chicken. It's also easy to freeze green beans if you have an abundant harvest.
We have a love affair with cucumbers at our house, and we grow many different types. They’re a delicious and easy to grow summer snack.
Varieties: We grow at least three varieties of cucumbers from seed each year.
Spacemaster 80 is a compact, bush-type cucumber that's perfect for containers.
Homemade Pickles is best for--you guessed it; and we like Persian Baby Cucumbers for snacking. All of these varieties will grow well in containers with a little support.
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.
Chard is great for new gardeners. It grows vigorously, provides a continuous harvest, and can even survive the winter in mild climates. Ideal, right? Except that if you’re the only person in your family who likes to eat Swiss chard, you will quickly be overrun with it. Ask me how I know.
Varieties: Warnings aside, I like Bright Lights Chard and Five Color Chard because they’re both beautiful and colorful. You could even plant these as ornamentals in your front yard!
Planting: Plant chard in a 10-gallon container and make sure you give them good soil. Learn more about how to grow chard in containers.
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.
Going out to the garden to pick a salad for dinner is the best! And, of course, the foundation for a delicious salad is great lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is pretty blah, so I like to grow different types of Romaine in my garden.
Varieties: Little Gem Romaine is a petite heirloom variety that has a crisp texture and nutty flavor--perfect for containers. Rouge d’Hiver Romaine is a stunner, with beautiful bronze-red outer leaves and a green heart.
Planting: Lettuce is a cool-weather crop, so plant it in a shady area. Space your seeds or seedlings about 1 foot apart and ¼” deep. Keep the soil moist and watch for garden pests. Learn more about growing romaine lettuce.
Recipe: When you've picked all the vegetables for your salad, top it off with some homemade croutons.
Container Gardening Tips
Read more about Container Gardening