One thing this pandemic has taught us is that we rely too heavily on modern supply chains for food. What happens if grocery stores run out of food? The solution is simple; grow your own. In a not too distant future, growing vegetables and fruits in containers could be a necessity. And you don’t have to live in the country. Today, urban and rural gardeners alike rely on patios, balconies, rooftops, alleyways, or whatever space is available to grow their produce. Here’s a list of some of the best fruits and veggies you can grow in containers.
For some, container gardening is a necessity
Whether you lack sufficient outdoor space or you have a physical disability, there are numerous reasons why container gardening works. Growing fruits and veggies in containers makes it easier to reach and tend your garden. When bending and squatting are too physically challenging, container gardening takes far less weeding, walking, and watering. Furthermore, with container gardening, you won’t have to worry about difficult soil conditions that make growing vegetables especially hard, or pesky insects and wildlife destroying your crop.
The larger, the better when choosing containers. Smaller containers dry out faster and will require daily watering. But keep in mind, larger containers full of soil and water are heavy. So, a little pre-planning is essential.
You’ll also need to think about the depth of the containers you choose. Plants with deep root systems need adequate space to grow, or else they’ll grow stunted and unhealthy. Additionally, the deeper the pot, the larger the basin of moist soil, and the less often you’ll need to water. Choose containers with adequate holes on the bottom for drainage. You can also drill out holes in the bottom or on the sides of containers.
Which soil works best for containers
When growing fruits and veggies in containers, you’ll need to think about which soil to use. Soil from your yard or garden compacts, gets too hard, and won’t drain properly. Even bagged topsoil is far too dense. Instead, use potting soil that retains moisture, won’t compact, and is lightweight and fluffy.
You’ll also need to add organic fertilizer regularly to your containers. Fertilizer is especially important. If the container soil becomes depleted of nutrients, your fruits and vegetables will not flourish. So, it’s up to you to feed them. Start by mixing organic granular fertilizer into the soil when planting and then feed weekly with a water-soluble fertilizer or use organic compost to amend your soil instead.
Let’s look at which vegetables and fruits thrive in containers.
Zucchini and squash
All types of squash grow well in containers. Just remember to water your squash twice a day throughout the growing season and pick the squash before they get too big. Even one missed fruit will cause the plant to stop producing.
Strawberries are sweetest and grow their best in containers. To avoid slugs, use a metal container or use copper tape on the rim.
Who knew you could grow pineapple in a container? Grab a fresh pineapple and cut off the crown. Then soak the crown for a couple of days in water and plant it in a gallon-sized plastic container. You’ll need a warm, sunny spot for your pineapple.
You can grow most herbs in containers. However, some have different watering needs. So, bunch accordingly in containers.
Peppers ripen fastest and are most favorable when grown in containers. Just choose a container large enough for peppers to grow. Smaller peppers require a 2-gallon container. Larger varieties require a 5- or 10-gallon container.
Chives are extremely hardy. Even with little water and no fertilizer, they’ll usually bounce back.
Spinach needs a cooler container. So, make sure to place the container in a shady area that doesn’t get too much afternoon sun.
Tomatoes grow well in containers. However, due to their root system, they require a pot at least 12 inches deep. Additionally, they’ll need a cage on the outside of the container for extra support as the plant grows.
Kale is perfect for container gardening. You can grow up to five plants in a 20-inch pot easily. But they prefer shade and cooler temperatures to grow.
Lettuce grows quickly and produces a lot of greens in a small space. Choose continuous picking varieties so you can harvest throughout the growing season.
Hard to believe you can grow potatoes in a container — but you can. In fact, potatoes can grow all year long. Roughly, each potato plant needs just over a 2.5 US gallon container. The first potatoes will be ready to harvest soon after plants begin to flower.
You don’t have to live in the tropics to grow bananas. You can even grow a banana plant inside the house, during the cold winter months. Make sure to use a container that’s fairly deep and has drainage holes.
Carrots grow great in containers when a light, fluffy potting mix is used. This allows carrots to root easily and grow long and straight.
Beets sown directly from seeds grow quickly in containers. Harvest young beets after just weeks. Don’t harvest longer than 12 weeks as beets will become tough and bitter.
Cucumbers grow easily in containers and will continue to grow all winter long. Like tomatoes, allow cucumbers to vine up your deck railing or even the side of your house.
Cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage are among the easiest of all vegetables to grow in containers. Just choose a container that is at least eight inches deep and about eighteen inches wide to allow cauliflower to thrive.
Figs grow best when restricted in a container. Place the container in a warm, sunny spot and keep well-watered.
Raspberries grow in both the summer and autumn. However, fall-bearing raspberries are best for container planting. Make sure you water the plant well and have good drainage. Additionally, they need full sun — at least 8 hours per day.
Although peach trees can be self-fertile, it’s always good to have more than one nearby for pollination. Peach trees may also require repotting every two to three years.
You can grow either shrubs or cherry trees in containers. However, shrubs do well in containers since they have shallow roots. Just make sure to give them lots of water and lots of sun.
When it comes to container planting, these fruits and vegetables just scratch the surface. There are so many plants that thrive in containers. Container gardening allows you to grow plants on balconies, decks, courtyards, boats, or even indoors, basically wherever you have sunlight and a little space. Best of all, containers make gardening convenient. You are only steps away from harvesting nutritious food, without depending on grocery stores for your fresh produce.