The Best Vegetables to Grow in Containers

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Tomatoes grown upside down benefit from good sun and air exposure.
Tomatoes grown upside down benefit from good sun and air exposure.

Growing vegetables in containers has many benefits. Containers provide a controlled environment so bugs, root rot, poor soil and disease are less likely to affect the plants. In addition, container gardens allow people with a small living space to grow vegetables for their home. Containers can be arranged on a patio, balcony or even on shelves in the home. Many plants thrive in a container garden and will provide nutritious and delicious food for the gardener.

  1. Tomatoes, Pepper and Cucumbers

    • These plants are an easy choice for container gardening. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers can be either bush or vine varieties. Growing them in containers helps keep the plants up off the ground and protects the leaves and the fruit from rot and bugs. They can be planted in nearly any kind of container. They need a good soil that is rich in nutrients. The best varieties are dwarf plants that are smaller but still produce plenty of vegetables. All three of these plants can be hung and grown upside down by drilling a hole in the bottom of a bucket, inserting a seedling and filling the container with soil. The plant is then watered from the top and the vegetable, leaves and stems hang down as they grow.

    Tubers

    • Tuber plants like potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are often overlooked as container plants because they need so much soil to grow a few usable vegetables. However, these plants can be grown in a variety of containers with a little care. Low, wide tubs work well for tubers, but special tubs are available for purchase that make the process a little easier. At the end of the growing season, you pop open the bottom of the tub and all the produce rolls out from the bottom instead of being dug out of the top. Tubers can also be grown in bags such as old compost sacks or large plastic bags. These bags need to be ventilated and should be supported with a bit of wire and cardboard before they are ready for a season of growing.

    Legumes

    • Many types of legumes can be grown in containers. Green beans, lima beans, navy beans, yellow beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans and peas are a few types that will grow in most climates. Bush and vine varieties are available. These plants, even the bush variety, need to be staked as they grow. Legumes love water, so use a soil mix that holds water without being too wet and water regularly. An organic mulch on top of the surface will help hold in moisture and add nutrients.

    Carrots

    • Carrots are simple to grow easily, even from seeds. They can be planted in nearly any container, but it should be at least 2 feet deep if you are growing long carrots instead of baby carrots. Long flower boxes make ideal containers for growing carrots as long as they are deep enough for the variety being grown. Carrots actually come out with a nice shape when they are in a container garden because the soil is pure and rocks and other debris don't misshape the carrots as they grow. Carrots do not have to be limited to simple orange varieties. Try something new by growing purple, yellow or white carrots.

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  • Photo Credit Tomato plant image by Trombax from Fotolia.com

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