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Growing Vegetables in Containers

Most common vegetables can be grown in all manner of pots and other containers. For many homeowners, growing vegetables in containers is the only way forward because of lack of garden soil space.

Choose the right container, compost and varieties of vegetables to grow and there is no reason whatever why you cannot enjoy your own grown vegetables for virtually every month of the year.  Growing vegetable crops in this manner presents very few problems, and the crops are often easier to manage and grow to fruition.

If you need persuading that this is a possible option, then pop along to any modern garden centre or nursery and have a look at the wide range of plants, shrubs and even trees that have been grown in pots! Vegetables are no different!

It has been argued that growing vegetables in containers is often more productive in practical terms than open crop growing. A grow bag is basically a container, and few would argue that a good well planted growbag cannot come up with the goods - and not only tomatoes! 

As with many things gardening, necessity decides what can and cannot be done. But practicality should also determine the action to take. Growing your vegetables and herbs in containers is a practical solution, and can have many advantages over the normally accepted way of long rows of carrots and the like. 

Advantages of Growing in Containers

*** Container gardening with vegetables is often less wasteful than planting in long rows in the vegetable plot. Rarely are too many of any particular vegetable sown and grown.  For the most part,  everything that is grown gets eaten. This is not always the case with a fully fledged vegetable plot that adheres to traditional growing methods!

*** Pests and disease can be discovered earlier, and often avoided by simply growing in containers! For instance, carrot fly is the number one problem when growing carrots by traditional methods. Simply by growing your carrots in an elevated position, such as in a container, you can prevent the problem.  (Carrot Fly females do not fly higher than 60cms. So a tall pot, or one placed on a support will negate this problem.)

*** Another advantage is that plants in containers are normally subject to greater air movement, so reducing the problem of mildew and other fungal moulds.

*** Add to that the fact that it is easier to spot problems with plants in pots than if grown in the open ground. And of course your container plants will be nearer to you for most of the year. They can be grown on the patio or deck, or even in a special container growing area. Why not?

*** Vegetables in containers can be protected from the elements easier. They can be moved to sheltered positions with a bit of ingenuity; are easier for providing temporary cover, such as with fleece and all manner of protective covers.

*** Vegetables grown in containers tend to get harvested more regularly, generally with a wider choice of varieties from which to choose.

*** Container growing vegetables is much easier than digging the vegetable plot, much easier to control crop rotation, and above all is a great way to introduce yourself to the much better taste of freshly picked produce.

Vegetables are just as easy to grow in containers as any other plants, including bedding plants. They can also be as attractive, and can have a longer season of interest that summer bedding.

You can probably grow a much wider range of vegetables in containers than you can in most garden soils.  For instance, carrots prefer light sandy soils, potatoes prefer a rich organic soil and members of the Brassica family prefer a soil that is alkaline. Do you have a soil type in your garden as versatile as simply adjusting your soil for individual containers?

Any pot or container can have vegetables if some sort or another growing in them. Hanging baskets full of dwarf tumbler tomatoes; window boxes of salad crops or stump rooted carrots; patio pots full of multi-coloured Swiss Chard; rubbish bags with potatoes; old plastic bags hanging from a fence post or overhead pergola; a runner bean wigwam in half a beer barrel or a dustbin. The choice is yours. Dare to be different!

  • The right container
  • The right choice if vegetable
  • The right compost
  • The right position
  • Watering and feeding.


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