Do pictures like this make you green with envy? There has been much talk among personal financers this year about gardening. Frugal Dad and Being Frugal built their square foot gardens and have actually begun planting in them. A four foot square may still be too big for your yard if you live in a townhouse or an apartment but don’t give up. Even in a tiny space like a balcony or a patio, you can still grow your own vegetables.
The variety of vegetables that can be grown in a container is growing yearly. Some of the vegetables listed below you may have never eaten or you may have had the canned variety and not liked them. Fresh vegetables have a whole different taste than canned especially when you have grown them yourself. Keep an open mind and try a few new ones every year.
Vegetables for Containers
- Beets - I hated beets for years until a friend convinced me to try fresh ones last year. Fresh beets have a whole different taste than pickled ones. These can be grown in as little space as a cake pan and are better picked small and tender, about the size of a silver dollar.
- Spinach – Fresh spinach is good both cooked and raw and it is another vegetable that can be grown in a small container. The leaves are best picked young and tender. One of the best things about spinach is that it doesn’t have to grow fruit so it doesn’t need a large container to support it. This is a cool weather plant and does not like hot summer days.
- Leaf Lettuce - Like spinach, leaf lettuce can be grown in a small container and doesn’t need hot summer days to mature. Pick when leaves are young and tender. Start pots at different times so you have a continuous supply. There is also a variety of miniature head lettuce that can be container grown.
- Patio Tomatoes – They are coming up with more and more types of tomatoes that are suited to container growing. Traditional tomatoes take a huge amount of dirt and grow to be 3 or 4 feet tall and wide if not supported. Patio tomatoes are more compact and were bred to retain a small size and be grown in a pot. Here is a variety of cherry tomatoes that can be grown in a container.
- Radishes – Like beets, radishes don’t need a huge pot to grow and mature fairly quickly. These are fun to grow and make a great addition to any salad.
- Green Peppers – These take a fairly good size pot and are definitely warm weather plants but they are not difficult to grow. They can be used in a variety of dishes and freeze well. If you are feeling a bit experimental, there is a new variety of mini peppers that you can buy. They are small and colorful.
- Green Beans – While I would normally not recommend growing green beans in a container, they have come up with several varieties of dwarf green beans that are recommended and actually as you can plant 16 green bean plants in a square foot I would imagine these would do fairly well in a container.
- Squash – Again, while squash is not something you would normally consider a container plant, new varieties are very compatible. This mild summer Patty Pan squash is only 2 ft high and 2 ft wide. It may be too big for an apartment but then maybe not.
- Eggplant – Eggplant is a mainstay in Mediterranean cooking. It’s compact size makes it an ideal choice for container growing.
- Garlic Chives – This is one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful flower and every part of the plant is edible.
- Swiss Chard – This link is to a rainbow variety that will perk up any spot. Fresh Swiss Chard has a sweet buttery flavor that is delicious. The grocery store variety loses SO much of the flavor that it barely resembles the garden variety. Try it fresh and sauted in a bit of olive oil with a hint of garlic.
- A pot of Herbs - You can mix and match herbs in a container. Basil, thyme, sage, tarragon, rosemary will all grow fine. My choices to put together would be basil, thyme and sage. Basil is an upright annual plant while sage is kind of sprawly. Thyme is a low grower so the three together make an interesting potted arrangement. All but basil are perennial.
Tomorrow I will be covering some of the different containers that are good for container vegetable gardening including instructions on how to make your own self watering container and some ideas for turning any container into self watering.
If you have gotten this far then you must be fairly interested in growing your own vegetables. I have a copy of autographed copy of the All New Square Foot Gardening that I am going to give away on April 18th. If you would like to enter the contest, all you need to do is subscribe here and leave a comment letting me know that you are interested. If you are already subscribed, just leave a comment. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced to subscribers.
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