by Mark Willis
Whether you live in an apartment, condo or small patio home, don’t let your small space discourage you from growing an amazing vegetable garden! Many kinds of vegetables can be grown easily in containers on a deck, a terrace, a veranda or in your window sill.
Be sure that your chosen space receives six or more hours of sunlight. With the correct amount of light, the right container for the crop, good quality soilless mix, fertilizer and water, you can produce a full abundance of produce in most tight spaces.
Choose your container wisely
- Containers are available in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. Choose your container wisely based on the vegetable seed varieties you choose to grow.
- Shallow rooted crops like lettuce, peppers, radishes and herbs need a container at least 12-15” in diameter and 6/8” deep.
- Trellises and stakes along with larger containers like 3-5 gallon buckets, half barrels and wooden tubs can be used to produce tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer squash, beans, peas and cucumbers.
- Be sure there are holes at the bottom of the container for proper drainage. Drainage is reduced when the container is set on a solid surface, such as a patio or a deck.
Choose your vegetables
- Most vegetable seed varieties that are grown in traditional gardens can be grown in containers. Click here for great products that can be grown in containers.
Choose the right soil
Soilless mixes are lightweight and free from soil-borne diseases. There will be quicker drainage and some even contain a slow release fertilizer to feed your plants.
Feed your plants
- Plants are hungry too! Be sure to feed your plants regularly throughout the season using a complete fertilizer at the recommended rate on the label.
- Containers can dry out quickly so be sure to check your soil moisture daily. Keep the soil uniformly moist, but do not saturate, over-watering can be just as harmful as under-watering!
- Planting and spacing requirements for most vegetables can be found on the vegetable seed packet and should be followed carefully for best results. Limit the number of plants based on spacing requirements and container choice.
If you follow these guidelines, you are on your way to creating a successful container vegetable garden that will have you eating fresh produce all summer long. Don’t let small spaces hold you back from achieving your best garden ever!
Vegetable Seed Product Manager, Harris Seeds/GardenTrends
Mark Willis has managed the vegetable seed division at Harris Seeds for 22 years. He is responsible for vegetable product development and has a strong passion for trialing and discovering new varieties that will make our customers more successful. Mark has 42 years of experience in the seed industry and enjoys working with both our professional and home garden customers discussing varieties and cultural practices that will benefit them.