One sunny day in late summer, I went to visit a city-dwelling friend. We went for a walk, and I noted a few porches with a random tomato plant or two in pots and the occasional container garden of basil and thyme. And then.
I’d never seen such a lush garden all in containers. There were tomatoes, eggplants, beans, herbs, Swiss chard, squash, and even butternut squash all in containers. The entire porch and most of the concrete “yard” was like a case study of all the easiest vegetables to grow in containers, plus quite a few that aren’t so easy to grow in containers. I think I even saw a few corn stalks in there.
Such a feat takes more than a little know-how and dedication. But it also proves that if you pick the right vegetables, you can have an abundant garden even if it has to be on your front porch or your balcony. It’s that “right vegetables” part that’s the catch, though. There are a few things to account for. Let’s take a look.
How to pick the right vegetables for your container garden
There are a few things to consider when you plant any garden, not the least of which is where you live. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to start seeds indoors and move them outside when the weather warms up. It’s important, as well, to consider the amount of sunlight you get. You can grow tomatoes in pots, for example, but you’ll need a spot with plenty of sun.
You also need to choose the right containers. Some vegetables, like onions, have shallow root systems. Others, like corn, will need a large, deep pot, although even then they don’t generally do well in containers (although some new hybrid varieties are container-friendly).
Container size is especially important, as they can get heavy quickly, and as much as I love vegetables, I know I wouldn’t want to throw out my back moving containers around. So consider this when you choose your vegetables. Now then, what to grow?
5 of the easiest vegetables to grow in your container garden
- Corn. I’m going to start this list with corn because I feel like corn is usually a no-go for container gardens. However, there is one hybrid corn, the “On-Deck” hybrid, that’s bred especially for containers. These stalks grow about five-feet tall and produce two or three ears per stalk.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes are another one of those vegetables that usually get excluded from the container garden list. But like corn, there are hybrids designed especially for growing in pots. Sweethearts of the Patio and Maglia Rosa are just two of the varieties that love containers.
- Eggplant. Several varieties of eggplant, including the Early Midnight Hybrid and the Patio Baby Hybrid, are perfect for growing in pots. Some of these smaller varieties grow quickly, too. The Patio Baby, for instance, matures in about 45 days.
- Peas. Peas are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, whether it’s in a container, a raised bed, or an in-ground garden. They’re a great early-season vegetable, and between you and me, pea greens are an overlooked treat. Depending on the variety, you may need to support them with a trellis, but otherwise, they do pretty darn well on their own.
- Swiss Chard. Is Swiss chard the perfect vegetable? It just might be. It’s generally unbothered by pests. It’s good raw or cooked. You can get multiple harvests from it. It’s colorful. And it’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a container.
There are certainly other vegetables you can grow in containers, not to mention herbs and edible flowers. These, however, are easy vegetables to grow, and they give you a little variety of early-, mid-, and late-season vegetables to enjoy.
What have you found are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in your container garden? Any thoughts on the ones listed here? I’d love to get your ideas in the comments.