Growing  fruits and  vegetables  in containers is easy, even for  a  beginner, and can be  a  good idea if you don’t have  a  large  garden . There are many types of  vegetables  suitable  to   grow  in this way including green onions, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, green beans and, probably the most often  grown  like this, tomatoes. Some of these are climbing  plants  so will need some support such as wooden posts, trellis or wire cages. You can place containers on patios, balconies or anywhere you have  a  warm, suitable space.

Which  vegetable  varieties are suitable  to   grow  in containers?

Not all varieties of these  vegetables  can be  grown  in containers, you will generally have to choose dwarf varieties, sometimes called ‘mini veg’ or described as ‘suitable for close spacing’. For beans choose  a  variety such as Hestia or the Sutton, for tomatoes Balconi, Patio, Sweet 1000 or Tiny Tim. California Wonder Peppers and Minnesota Midget Melons are also suitable. For lettuces try Little Gem or Tom Thumb. All of these varieties take up less space than the regular varieties and have been specially adapted  to   grow  in confined spaces.

What type of containers should you choose?

Almost any type of container can be used, just make sure it is big enough and has plenty of drainage holes. Some types of tomatoes  grow  very well in hanging baskets. Pots made from terracotta are attractive but require more looking after than plastic pots as they tend to dry out much faster. If possible choose  a  light coloured pot as they are cooler in the hotter months and conserve heat less than darker colored pots so won’t cause the soil to overheat as readily. Use  a  drip tray under the pots to help conserve water.

What are suitable locations for  vegetable  containers?

You can place your pots on  a  balcony or patio but make sure they will be in the sunshine for most of the day.  Vegetables  will need  a  minimum of 6 hours of sunlight  a  day  to   grow  well. In colder climates it’s  a  good idea to place them against  a  wall that faces south. You could also put the pots on  a  movable platform so that you can move them around to get sunlight from every direction which will result in more even growth and allows you to move them out of the sun in the hottest part of the day.

 How  should you  plant  your  vegetable  container?

You will need to use  a  good quality potting compost. Ordinary  garden  soil is not recommended for container  gardening  as it may not have the right balance of nutrients and may contain pests and weed seed. The  vegetables  can be bought as young transplants or you could  grow  them indoors or in  a  greenhouse from seed. Once they are transplanted to your pots place some mulch on the top of the soil to help conserve moisture. You could use leaf mold or straw. Don’t crowd the seedlings, give them plenty of space  to   grow  and insert  a  framework for them to climb if needed.

 How  often should you water your  vegetable  containers?

Most containers will need daily watering and you could add  a  weak nutrient solution three or four times  a  week. Don’t water directly on the  plants  but around their bases as water on the leaves can encourage mold and fungus. Don’t allow the pots to become waterlogged but make sure the drainage is adequate.


It’s fun  growing   growing   vegetables  in containers and easy enough even for  a  beginner gardener. You will be well rewarded when you harvest your crop of fresh  vegetables , ready for the cooking or adding to your salad.

Source by Janet Ashby