Growing Veg in Containers

  If space is limited you can still have tasty home grown vegetables. There are lots of vegetables which can be grown in containers so you can enjoy the home grown taste without a vegetable plot. 

The trick is the pick the vegetables which are best suited and easier to grow in containers. The challenge with container grown vegetables is is to get enough food and water into the container over the growing season to ensure a good tasty crop. Even if you only have a small balcony or very limited space you can grow some vegetables, recommended are garlic, chillies lettuces, rocket and all the herbs are small crops and easy to grow. 

Top tips for all vegetables grown in containers: 

  •  Grow your crop in the largest pot you have and do not plant too densely.
  •  Fill the pot with good quality compost and organic material to hold the moisture. 
  • If you can, depending on the crop, mulch the top to reduce water loss by evaporation.
  • On warm sunny days it maybe necessary to water container grown veg once/twice daily which can become time consuming. Water retaining gel is very good, it's a personal choice whether to use for veg, (because it contains chemicals) or whether to use the organic type. 
  •  The choice of veg to grow in containers is important as some veg are easier to grow in containers than others. All of the full sized peas and beans, which grow to 2 metres and more, are not as suitable because of the number of plants needed for a decent crop, and their height. There are many dwarf varieties, such as of French beans, which grow well in containers

The Best Vegetables to grow in Containers


Good veg for growing in containers are Potatoes, Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and illustrated, rocket which is ideal for containers. Rocket is one of the best salad crops for containers and there are also the cut and come again varieties of lettuce.

Salad crops such as radish and spring onion grow well in containers.

Courgettes can be grown in large containers and two plants are usually enough for a family.

Garlic and chillies do well in containers as do all the herbs. Whilst conventional peas and beans do not do well because of their size the dwarf varieties are ideal and can yield are really good crop. As illustrated top left Strawberries can be container grown.

How to Grow Potatoes in Containers

growing potatoes in containers

 Potatoes are easy to grow in containers. The key points are to place only 2/3 tubers per pot, earth up and watering regularly. Choose a good sized container with many drainage holes and use crocks to ensure the drainage holes cannot get blocked. Water logged potatoes do not do well. Fill half way up the container with good quality compost and firm down with back of spade. Add just 2/3 tubers per container depending on the size of the pot and cover tubers with thick layer of compost about 20cms. Raise the container off the ground which protects against frost and aids drainage. Protect new top growth from frost.

As the new growth comes through earth up in the pot,  carefully covering the new growth taking great care not to damage the stems. Potatoes are ready to harvest once flowering starts and after flowering.

How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers


 Tomatoes are ideal to grow in containers and are commonly grown in containers under glass than in the vegetable plot. 

This is especially so in the UK where the summer can be a bit cool and growing under glass offers more heat and some protection from blight. Home grown tomatoes are tasty, but time consuming to grow. For the best tips on how to get a good crop check out growing tomatoes Growing in containers is different to other vegetables in containers. With other vegetables you can plant them into the containers and keep them in the same container. Tomatoes need to be planted in a small container first of all, then potted on to a larger container and then finally into the biggest container in which they will grow for the rest of the season. 

Detailed growing advise and short video and removing side shoots.

Growing Garlic in containers

garlic growing in container

Onions need too much space to be suitable for growing in containers, but garlic is ideal and easy to grow. Place a few cloves in a suitable pot, plant about about twice the depth of the clove, cover with compost, water and put in a sunny position. An added bonus is that Garlic stores really well and you can keep it for months over the autumn and winter after harvesting more information on growing garlic.

Dwarf peas and beans in containers

flowers and beans

The dwarf varieties of peas and beans grow well in containers although they may need some slug protection. As illustrate veg in containers can be combined with annuals to make an interesting display. Illustrated is marigold, Nasturtium and climbing up at the back beans.