Vegetable Container Gardening for Beginners
The satisfaction that comes with enjoying fresh produce from your small garden, patio or balcony is unmatched. Are you a beginner and not sure where you will start in container gardening?
Having the best vegetable container garden requires one to have top-quality soil. This can only be achieved by good soil preparation.
Loosen up; we got you covered. Scroll down and learn some important tips on vegetable container gardening and rest assured you have taken the first step towards being a successful farmer.
For most vegetable gardeners, there is no exciting time like when they finally get the chance to start their own garden. But along with all the excitement, comes several questions that may leave some gardeners even more confused. Questions like when to plant a vegetable garden and what kind of vegetables can they grow in their garden? There is a lot of planning that goes into vegetable gardening and without a planting calendar, your garden can suffer from poor planning
You can plant most vegetables in containers; which means fewer trips to the market, saving you money. However, growing vegetables in containers can be a disappointment if plants don’t thrive and yield. The following container gardening tips recommended by specialists will guide you to a good start in container gardening.
Vegetable Container Gardening Tips for Beginners
- Use Quality Potting Soil- high-quality potting soil is essential in growing vegetables. Using soil from your garden might transfer soil-borne diseases that will damage your vegies.
- Selection of Ideal Container- Choosing a container can be a mind-numbing task for beginners. Note that you can use any container as long as it is large enough and has proper drainage
- Light and Temperature Requirements- most fruiting vegetables such as pepper and tomatoes require a minimum of 6 hours of exposure to sunlight. Your spot must have access to direct sunlight
- Watering Requirements- Plants grown in containers require regular watering than those grown on the ground. Additionally, many fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes require thorough watering for maximum yields.
- Selecting seeds or seedlings- the final and the most important step is selecting vegetables that are designed for compact container sizes. Small and bushy varieties are recommended for pot and container planting
Are you a beginner and feeling superstitious that the results might disappoint you? Worry no more; below are some of the vegetables you can grow in containers.
Best Vegetables for Container Gardening
- Leafy Greens
Imagine enjoying fresh lettuce or spinach from small spaces; it is quite satisfying. Growing these veggies is easy; even beginners will achieve the desired results as long as one adheres to the instructions from container planting experts.
If you are wondering whether spinach is easy to grow on containers, the simple answer is yes. However, you must ensure you choose the correct varieties to avoid disappointing results. Small varieties are obviously best suited for compact container sizes.
Here are some recommended spinach varieties to grow in containers:
- Baby Leaf Hybrid: Grows with small stems but produces many leaves; you will rest assured of a bountiful harvest. Additionally, it has a short maturation period (within 40 days).
- Melody: is widely known as top-performing spinach with ease of growth in pots and containers. It grows fast and produces thick leaves with superior flavour
How to Grow Spinach in Containers
- Choose large containers that will allow you to space your spinach’s for maximum yields
- Soil requirements – use high-quality potting soil and should be well-draining. Add organic matter for better results
- Sow the seeds just beneath the soil surface. Preferably ½ inch deep
- The seeds should sprout within 14 days, although it depends on the variety and conditions
- Spacing- the plants should be at least 3 inches apart
- Place the containers in a sunny place. (Ensure the plants have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight)
- Keep the soil moist but avoid water clogging; it could damage your vegies
- Fertilize soil regularly (recommendable after every two weeks)
Lettuce is another leafy green you can grow in pots and containers. Planting lettuce in containers is common, especially for people with limited spaces, such as apartment dwellers. Nothing beats the feeling of getting quick access to lettuce leaves to fix your salad. If you are interested in planting in containers, keep reading and learn how to undertake this endeavour successfully.
How to Grow Lettuce in Containers
- Lettuce requires ample room for roots. Choose a container that is at least 6 inches deep.
- The greens need regular watering for better results. Add drainage holes to avoid waterlogging
- Before sowing the seeds, add 1 tablespoon of time-release fertilizer
- You should bury the transplants ¼ deep in the soil, leaving the upper leaves only
NOTE: you required to harvest lettuce leaves when they are young. With time they will grow back, and then you can cut away the whole plant
You can grow tomatoes in containers as long as you have a sunny spot on a balcony, driveway, rooftop, or another place. Tomatoes can also be grown in shady places but ensure you move them to direct sunlight at least 6 hours a day. Grouping containers help shade the roots and preserve moisture.
Selecting the best tomatoes for compact container sizes is essential in succeeding in this endeavour. Whether you plant tomatoes for sandwiches, cooking, or snacking, you can choose numerous varieties. Here are some recommendations for tomatoes that will deliver the best results in the container:
- Tumbling Tom Yellow Tomato- widely known for hanging baskets because their stems cascade freely from hanging baskets.
- Husky Red Cherry Tomato is one of the best-selling tomato varieties because of its attractive look, productivity, and flavour. The vines are dwarf, making them perfect for containers and pots.
- Sweet Million Tomato- Does not get tall like the rest of the cherry tomato varieties, making it ideal for container planting. Sweet million tomatoes produce sweet-tasting tomatoes for salad and snacks.
- Monica Roma Tomato – it is a compact-sized tomato variety but very productive. Monica Roma will give you an endless supply of meaty Roma style tomatoes. Plants grow well in containers, although they require extra support by staking
- Bush Early Girl Tomato- widely known compact-sized tomato because of its ability to yield more tomatoes than the rest compact verities
How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers
- Select the right container- tomatoes need a bigger space to grow on than other vegies. For maximum yields, get a container with at least a diameter of 18 inches
- Use quality potting soil- garden soil might transfer soil-borne tomato diseases. Tomatoes tend to be susceptible to diseases; therefore, use premium quality potting soil for better results
- Support Requirements- add support to tomatoes so they can be sturdy and deliver maximum yields
- Water regularly and thoroughly- proper watering is important for success in growing tomatoes in containers
If you have limited space that can’t fit in large containers, radishes are vegetables. Containers don’t have to be large to grow radishes.
Growing radishes in pots and containers are easy and fast. In a short time, you will be enjoying homegrown radishes even without a garden. Popular among gardeners because they are easy to grow and harvest.
Radishes come in different colours, sizes and shapes. Here are some recommended varieties for container gardening:
- Cherry Belle- the ideal radish for beginners and experienced alike. Cherry Belle not only has a short maturation date but also looks good and tastes good.
- Purple Plum- it is the perfect radish for growing in containers. The bright skin makes it a colourful variety a cheerful addition to your landscape.
- Easter Egg- comes in a variety of colours, crimson to purple, white to pink. It produces green leaves from the roots that are also edible.
How to Grow Radishes in Containers
Selecting a container depends on the variety you are growing. However, the vessel should be at least 6 inches deep
Containers should be placed in a spot where the plants can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Insufficient sunlight causes slow growth.
Just like most vegetable radishes require fertile, well-drained soil. For quality produce, you should keep the soil moist.
During planting, add slow-release fertilizer to the potting soil
NOTE: Radishes should be ready for harvesting within 20 – 40 days after planting. Varieties such as Cherry Belle have a short maturation period (within 23-30 days).
- Zucchini Squash
Are you a lover of Zucchini, but you having insufficient garden space? Consider growing Zucchini in containers. The plant tends to occupy a large space, but planting in a container garden or patio is easy even for beginners.
It is recommended to consider compact, dwarf varieties for container planting. Here are some varieties to suit your needs:
- Eight Ball- ranges in size (one to four inches in diameter). The smaller sizes perfect for pots and containers produce the sweetest and flavorful yields
- Gold Rush is a brilliant golden zucchini, one of the most appealing varieties to grow in containers. Despite the compact habit, the quality of fruit is even better. Nothing would surpass the feeling of a flesh bite of gold rush zucchini
- Cue Ball is unique round zucchini that will provide you with a bountiful harvest.
How to Grow Zucchini in Containers
The container size should be at least 12 inches deep. Additionally, ensure it has a drainage hole
Use well-draining high-quality potting soil to achieve maximum yields. Garden soil might transfer pests and diseases that will damage your plants
Sow the seeds directly into the soil. Ensure you sow them at least two weeks after the threat of frost has passed
Support Requirements- depending on the variety, they might require support by stakes. However, dwarf varieties may not require staking.
For beginners, you might think cucumbers are hard to grow on pots and containers. Yet, the truth is that they make the best container plants that yield abundantly in compact sizes. All you need to get started is a sunny spot, container, and know-how on selecting and growing cucumbers successfully. Here is how to undertake this endeavour:
Choose the bush cucumbers- they are the most suited for container gardening. It is also wise to choose a variety that has a short maturation date. Here are some recommended varieties suitable for containers and pots growing:
- Spacemaster- a popular open-pollinated compact bush variety ideal for container planting. Within 65, the plants will yield eight inch light green fruits
- Salad Bush- it is popular amongst gardeners as a compact hybrid bush variety perfect for containers. Yields 57 days (dark green eight-inch fruits)
- Picklebush- the compact vines and bushy growth make it perfect for container gardening. Produces white spined fruits with an incredible pickle look (green with pale stripes)
- Green Fingers Persian- one of the best snacking cucumbers. Grows with small vines but will give maximum yields in large containers
- Bush Slicer- it is one of the fast-growing dwarf varieties. This variety requires extra support to yield
- Heirloom Lemon- its vines grow 3-4 feet high. A drought-resistant variety
How to Grow Cucumbers in Containers
- Success in growing cucumbers in containers starts with the selection of the right pot or container.
- The perfect container should be at least a foot or deeper. The bigger the size, the bigger the yields
- You should only sow the seeds when the temperatures are warm
- Create a mixture of soil with equal parts of organic compost
- Add support- except for dwarf varieties; cucumbers generally require support for bountiful produce
- Keep the soil moist- inspect regularly and water when the soil seems dry.
- For sturdy plants, fertilize the seedlings after the appearance of their first true leaves
.NOTE: cucumbers yield rapidly, and you should pick them before they become overly mature and create a bitter taste.
Eggplant is one easiest vegetables to grow and maintain. For a beginner, you should be worried; all you need is a little know-how on how to undertake the process.
If your small garden space, you can grow them on a patio balcony with the right containers. The maturation period of eggplant is within 60-100 days, depending on the variety. For better results, grow shorter season varieties so you can start enjoying fresh yields in just two months.
How to Grow Eggplant in Containers
- You should sow the seeds when the temperatures are relatively warm.
- Fill containers with high-quality potting soil. Ensure the containers have good drainage for better results
- During planting, add slow-release fertilizer and then at least after every two weeks
- Water thoroughly but ensure you don’t overwater that would damage the plants
- NOTE: you should not wait for too long to harvest the fruits. Staying on plants for too long makes them lose their sheen and become seedy, and won’t be so tasty to eat.
That is basically how to do vegetable container gardening for beginners and how to grow various types of vegetables. As a beginner, we highly recommend you chose a few vegetables to get started. You can even start with 1 or 2 vegetables.
Growing a lot of vegetables as a beginner can be challenging because as you saw above different vegetables have different requirements.