Nice as it would be, we don’t all have big plots of land and healthy, rich soil to grow our gardens. Heck, some of us don’t have any land at all, so we stick to container gardens on the balcony or front porch. Even though that may seem limiting, there are a lot of shallow root vegetables that work in containers or those tough spots that don’t seem useful for growing anything.
A lot of leafy greens, like lettuce and spinach, fit the bill here. I’m sorry to say, though, unless you have a big container, the asparagus is probably out. Before we get to those shallow root vegetables, though, we need to talk about soil. And containers.
Why you can’t ignore the soil – especially if you’re planting a container garden
Soil is just as important as sunlight and water when it comes to growing a garden. This is always true, but in a container, it really can make a difference. The roots of your plants can only go so far in search of water and nutrients. You’ve no doubt seen organic potting soil at your local gardening store; it’s specially formulated to provide the nutrients your container garden needs.
As far as soil depth, more is always better, even for shallow root vegetables. However, six to eight inches of healthy soil will still be enough for a decent variety of vegetables. Now, what can you grow? Maybe more than you realize.
7 Shallow root vegetables that work in small containers
Grab your window box, find a sunny spot, and let’s start planting!
- Spinach. Some varieties of this leafy green will be mature enough to enjoy in about 30 days. It’s full of vitamins, and you can harvest the leaves as you need them.
- Lettuce. Most lettuce plants are cold hardy, and you can harvest leaf lettuce early if you just can’t wait for that crisp yumminess.
- Radishes. Radishes are amazing if for no other reason than you can plant the seed and three weeks later, you have all the radishes you could want. They’re easy to grow, and there are some amazing varieties out there, like the Black Spanish Round Radish, which has been popular since the 1500s.
- Swiss Chard. Easy to grow, loaded with vitamins, and absolutely delicious, Swiss chard is a favorite of gardeners everywhere. It will also continue to produce as long as you harvest the older, outer leaves.
- Garlic. What’s not to love about fresh garlic? It’s a slow-growing plant, but once you plant it, you can pretty much forget about it until it’s time to harvest.
- Onions. Onions come in an astounding number of varieties, some of which are quite sweet.
- Strawberries. Whoops, did I include a fruit in this list? Yes, because the list of shallow growing fruits would be quite small and I didn’t want you to miss out! The key to growing strawberries is to give them space so the shallow roots can spread out (but be sure to clip the longer runners, or replant them in a new pot). And like many container plants, you’ll need to keep a close eye on how often they need water.
There are a lot more vegetables (and fruits) that will grow just fine in a container garden. The beauty of these ones above is that you only need a small container to enjoy fresh produce almost any time you want it.
What have you found to be your most successful container vegetables? I’d love to read your story in the comment section below.