21 Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots (It’s So Easy!)

21 Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots (It’s So Easy!)

Growing your own vegetables is one of the most enjoyable endeavors you can attempt. Not only will you be rewarded with a delicious bounty of nutritious vegetables at the end of the growing season, but you will also save some money, too.

However, if you have a short growing season or lack ample gardening space – for example, if you live in an apartment – you might think that this is not something you can easily do. You’re in luck. There are plenty of veggies that can easily be grown in containers with minimal expertise and know-how. It’s simply a matter of knowing the best vegetables to grow in pots, along with implementing some helpful tips.

Leafy Greens

Spinach

Spinach is not only great for you, but it’s one of the best vegetables to grow in pots. A cold-hardy plant, you can keep spinach in containers outside well into the autumn months. You might, however, want to mulch it or bring it inside during the hottest days of summer to protect it from being scorched.

Collard Greens

Collard greens thrive in containers – just as long as you put the container in full sunlight during the day. These greens need at least six hours of sunlight during the fall and spring months but prefer a little bit of shade during the hot afternoon hours of summer.

Kale

Spinach isn’t the only leafy green to consider if you want to grow vegetables in pots! You should also give kale a try. The perfect plant for container gardening, it requires minimal space. You can grow five kale plants in just a 20-inch pot. A cold-tolerant plant, you should be able to keep your kale plants outside in containers much of the year.

Lettuce

One of the easiest vegetables to grow in a pot, lettuce requires minimal upkeep. Just plant your seeds in a container on the patio and begin harvesting in just a few weeks. Another benefit of lettuce is that it can tolerate the shade and the sunlight, so you can move it around to wherever it’s most convenient for you. Just be careful about giving it too much heat!

Root Vegetables

Radishes

Because radishes are so small, they do quite well when planted in containers. As long as you select a short variety, you can grow radishes in just about any kind of container. Longer ones will need to be planted in taller containers.

Carrots

Carrots, along with almost every other root crop, can easily be grown in containers. When sown thinly and cared for properly, carrots can be grown in containers exactly as they would be if you grew them directly in the garden.

Potatoes

Many people don’t know this, but potatoes grow shockingly well in containers. You can grow potatoes year-round in a container, in fact- you’ll never have to buy them again! Just make sure you put some holes in the bottom of your container for aeration. You’ll yield a pound or two of potatoes each growing season per container.

Beets

Beets can easily be grown in pots, too. Since beets grow quickly and require no transplanting, you can grow them quickly in a container as long as it’s big enough. Sow your seeds thinly, and keep in mind that you might have to thin again later, too.

Onions

You can even grow onions in containers! As long as you have plenty of space – a planter that is more than five inches deep is ideal – you should be able to fit several onion sets in a container. You can harvest the tops, too.

Parsnips

The parsnip is an acquired taste – as a result, it can be tough to find parsnips in stores out of season. Luckily, you can easily grow parsnips in containers. You will want a deep container since they can get quite long. Make sure you cut holes for drainage, too.

Turnips

Turnips do quite well in containers. You will need a pot that is at least eight inches deep to provide for adequate root growth, and you will also need a pot with excellent drainage. Turnips are highly susceptible to overwatering.

Everyone’s Favorite Garden Vegetables

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Zucchini is not only one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but it’s also one of the best vegetables to grow in pots. As with all summer squash, zucchini can grow just about anywhere you plant it. Choose a large pot for best results. You will want to harvest your plants regularly so they don’t become overweight with fruits – plus, this will keep production up as the plants won’t be putting unnecessary energy into growing monstrous, woody fruits.

Peppers

Certain types of peppers do exceptionally when in containers. From bell peppers to hot peppers, you can grow just about any kind of these heat-loving varieties in pots. Provide plenty of room for your peppers to grow – a ten-gallon container may be necessary for some varieties. These plants also need lots of sunlight each day (at least eight hours).

Cucumbers

Like zucchini, cucumbers grow quite well in containers. You can grow them indoors or outdoors as long as you have a trellis to support them and to maximize the available space. The best varieties for growing cucumbers in pots are midget pickles and Spacemasters.

Beans

You can grow either pole or bush beans in pots. Pole beans do well if you have some sort of trellis or pole for the vines to travel up, while bush beans grow in a squatter, more uniform pattern. Regardless of the type you choose, try to use at least a twelve-inch container.

Peas

All types of peas, including snow peas and sugar snap peas, can be grown in containers. They taste great in stir-fries or when sauteed. Plus, since the plants are small, they are easily grown in pots. As with pole beans, you will need to provide some kind of trellis system. They thrive in the cool conditions of early spring.

Tomatoes

A classic container plant is the tomato plant. Many people grow tomatoes in pots so that they can be brought in out of the cold to enjoy the warmer temperature inside your house. Make sure you stake your plants to avoid breakage!

Unusual Container Veggies

Asparagus

Asparagus can be grown in a pot, too. It’s a hardy plant and is perennial, meaning it will come back in later years. When properly cared for, asparagus can live for years. Make sure you have a large plant that is relatively shallow – it just needs to have a broad diameter.

Cauliflower and Broccoli

Cauliflower, broccoli, and other cole crops (like cabbage) are perfect candidates for growing in pots. Not only are they cold-tolerant and easy to grow, but these plants can thrive when planted in pots at least eight inches deep.

Eggplant

As long as you have your pots in a warm, sunny enough location, even eggplant can be grown in them. You will want to avoid overcrowding since eggplant tends to sprawl. Choose a pot that is at least five inches deep. Clay pots are good choices for eggplant since they allow lots of heat to permeate into the soil.

Artichokes

Let’s face it – for most people, artichokes are super difficult to grow. But if you enjoy the taste of artichokes, you may feel repulsed by the high prices charged at the grocery store. Instead of shelling out all your hard-earned cash, why not try growing artichokes in pots? They’re low maintenance and best planted in fall since they take a long time to germinate.

Tips for Growing Vegetables in Pots

If you’re ready to start growing some of the best vegetables in pots, consider some of these helpful tips to get you started.

Consider Your Container Type and Size

Not sure what kind of container you should use? Don’t worry. Usually, any kind of container will do. However, there are some stipulations to this. Some plants – like eggplant – require wide containers in order to spread their roots. Others, including root crops such as carrots and turnips, need deeper pots so that they can form long tubers. Make sure you research your plant type before selecting your container.

You will want to pay attention to the watering needs of your plants, too. Clay pots usually need more water than plastic or wooden ones, since the porous terracotta will absorb heat and drain water more quickly. Think about the color, too – dark-colored containers will stay warmer than light ones. Always avoid containers made out of treated wood, as it contains chemicals that can be absorbed by your vegetables.

Use the Best Soil

Vegetables don’t usually care about the type of pot they are in, but they do care about the soil. Make sure you add plenty of organic matter or choose a balanced organic potting mix. Make sure the soil is not too light but also not too heavy – you can often balance out the structure of your soil by adding materials like potting soil, peat moss, vermiculite, sand, or perlite, depending on your specific needs.

Mulch and Fertilize Regularly

Fertilizing is important when it comes to growing in pots. Since the plants aren’t being grown directly in the ground, they don’t have access to all the “good stuff” that they normally would be able to access. We’re not just talking about your basic nitrogen and phosphorous, either. Plants also need micronutrients, like calcium and magnesium, in order to thrive. Only a balanced fertilizer can provide this. An organic option, like compost, is best. Not only will it introduce the nutrients your plants need, but it will also provide the soil with beneficial microorganisms, too.

Bring Indoors if Needed

Not all plants can thrive outdoors 365 days out of the year. Consider the climate of your growing zone and how it relates to the growing needs of your plants. Frost-sensitive plants, like peppers and tomatoes, can be brought indoors when the temperature dips, while heat-sensitive vegetables like lettuce should be brought inside during the dog days of summer.

What Are the Advantages of Growing Vegetables in Pots?

There are countless benefits to growing vegetables in containers. Not only does this practice allow you to cultivate plants that you might not easily be able to find at the supermarket (or find without paying a pretty penny) but it’s also exceptionally easy. Container-grown vegetables often retain moisture and tolerate weather fluctuations more easily than those grown in the ground. Plus, since you don’t need to wait for the ground to warm up, you can start a container garden in the spring. A vegetable grown in a pot is also less likely to suffer from weeds, diseases, and insect pests.

So what are you waiting for? Select some pots, select some plants, and start planting today.

How To Cure And Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage!

How To Cure And Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage!

It’s the end of the growing season for tubers – and you’re probably wondering how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage.

 

Curing potatoes is a simple process….and it is very necessary if you want your potatoes to stay edible into the winter.

 

By now, if you haven’t harvested your tubers, the green stems are likely drooping, and you’re itching to get your hands dirty and pull up those treasures you’ve waited all year to harvest.

 

And you should be excited – you’ve worked hard & should enjoy your haul!

 

Nothing is worse than working so hard – only to have the tubers rot because you didn’t properly cure and store potatoes for long term storage in the right conditions.

 

In this article, I will show you how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage so you can enjoy them in stews and combined with cheese and bacon all season. We’ll also cover how to prepare potatoes for storage after they’ve gone through the cure process.

 

This is a time tested process for how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage that our ancestors used!

 

How To Cure And Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage

 

How To Cure and Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage

After you’ve carefully dug up your potatoes, leave them outdoors in the sun (and away from hungry critters) for an hour or so to dry.

 

Don’t wash them – just let them dry. Washing them could result in dampness or mold.

 

If they’re still excessively dirty after they’ve dried, use a soft brush and gently sweep off clumps of dirt. Only do this if you must – any sort of brushing runs the risk of damaging your potatoes and they won’t last in long term storage.

 

At this point, you should examine your tubers – if any show signs of damage, such as a tear in the outer skin or holes, eat them right away.

 

The potatoes will heal some damage as they cure, but ones with excessive damage might not store well, so it’s simplest to just consume them ASAP.


Want to know more about growing herbs? Click here to learn more about my book, Herbs In Your Backyard.


How To Cure And Store Potatoes For Long Term Storage

 

How to Cure and Store Potatoes for Long Term Storage Tip: Keep Out Of The Light

To cure and store potatoes for long term storage (up to 7 months), the next step is to allow them to dry for a longer period, 1 – 2 weeks, this time out of the light.

 

Have you ever seen potatoes with green skin?  These are potatoes that have been allowed to cure too long in the sun. After enough time, the skins are no longer edible.

 

Sunlight causes potatoes to produce solanine, which turns potatoes bitter and is poisonous. So, it’s critical to store them out of the light once they’ve completed the first cure.

 

Allow the potatoes to cure in a dark place where temperatures are about 55 degrees. For the first 2 weeks, the humidity should be close to 85 percent.

 

To ensure the temperature and humidity are adequate while you cure potatoes, use a thermometer like this one. It has both a humidity and temperature gauge, and it’s cheap enough – it’s a sound investment.

 

I’ve found it’s best to lay the potatoes out during this phase – you want the air to circulate around them so they finish drying. It’s important they form a thick skin, which stands up to the storage process better.

 

During this time, the potatoes are also “healing” wounds that occurred earlier in the the cure process. This, also, allows them to withstand the long time in storage and remain fresh.

 

After this phase of the curing potatoes process is complete, move the potatoes to a dark storage area where temps are cooler – no more than 40 degrees F. A cellar in your home – or a root cellar if you’re so lucky – is a perfect spot.

 

The consistent temperature is important; if temps are higher, your potatoes might sprout eyes or even start to shrivel.

 

To store potatoes for long term storage, once they’re dry, 6-inch bins with slatted sides like these are a good option. The air can still circulate, and saves space. Just be sure critters can’t get into the bins.

 

Another option that’s recommended is to use perforated plastic or paper bags. These allow the potatoes to “breathe” while you store them. 

 

If any of your potatoes sprout eyes while they’re in your store room, double check the temperatures and light. If you spot mold or notice shriveling, check the humidity as well. If you cure and store potatoes for long term storage in just the right conditions, your potatoes should store for quite a long time – up to 7 months.

 

Now you know how to cure and store potatoes for long term storage!


In my book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, I show you how to build cold frames and raised beds so you can start growing your own food. You can get it on Amazon here. If you buy directly from me, you save 20% off the Amazon price and get the digital version for free.)


More Organic Gardening Tips:

 

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

It’s May, but for different areas of the country, that means different crops you can start!

 

Here in Zone 7, we’re well under way, and have already harvested our cool weather crops, and my tomato plants have had a sudden growth spurt.

 

My friends in Zones 3 and 4, however, are just getting started (and I have friends who are still under frozen tundra!)

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what to grow in USDA Zones 3-10, which covers most of the contiguous United States.

 

Zones 9 and 10

This is where you can find some early heat, so you won’t be able to plant a lot of seeds in this region. This is why you will have to focus on starting with some transplants.

 

You can use lima beans, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, jicama, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter and summer squash as well as watermelon and tomatillo. Edible cactuses are another option.

 

If you live in a desert area or if water is scarce, choose varieties that are drought resistant. Eggplants, for example, thrive in arid desert environments.

 

Make sure you water generously in the mornings or evening dusk (very morning will help your plants withstand the mid-day heat.

 

Zones 7 and 8

For these zones, you will be ok with planting lima beans, snap beans as well as sweet corn, cucumber, eggplants, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, winter and summer squash as well as watermelons.

 

If you want watermelons, you may want to grow them early in the month, especially if you’re direct sowing with seeds. Cantaloupe is another option, be sure to allow it to trellis to keep it off the ground and away from critters.

 

If you have a cooler area of your property, you can still sneak in some radishes and baby lettuce in Zone 7, but kale and broccoli will bolt, as will lettuce if it’s not harvested at an early stage.

 

Zones 5 and 6

Here you may also want to opt for some specific seeds. These include watermelons, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, peppers, okra, lettuce, eggplants, sweet corn, cucumbers, cantaloupes as well as lima and snap beans!

 

What you have to note about these two zones is that they don’t’ have to deal with such a challenging weather as other regions do. This is why you can opt for a variety of crops. Thankfully, these can be planted throughout May, with little to no problems.

 

Zones 3 and 4

For these zones, you will see that you can easily plant a wide array of seeds, and the temperature is on your side. You can still start watermelon and cantaloupe inside a greenhouse.

 

Kale, radish, head and leaf lettuce, peas, chard, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets can all be started outdoors – if frost threatens the tender starts, be sure to cover with a cold frame.

 

When the ground is workable, you can plant your potatoes.

 

You can start hardening off your tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, but if frost threatens, leave them indoors. A frost will kill them, wasting your work.

 

This is quite an incredible investment and one that will almost certainly pay off very well in the end.

 

The idea here is to invest in crops that deliver a very good quality and which are easy to nurture and take care of. Most of them can be grown throughout May, although chard and leaf lettuce are better grown at the earliest parts of May to prevent bolting.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which of these vegetables and fruits are you growing? Leave a comment below!

How To Grow Potatoes In Containers

How To Grow Potatoes In Containers

If you don’t know about growing potatoes in containers, but want to harvest bucketfuls anyway, then this article is for you.

 

I’ve grown potatoes both in the ground and in pots, and there are benefits to both.

 

Now, I’m not the world’s best gardener. I even struggle keeping up with all the work sometimes. So, if I can grow potatoes, then so can you.

 

 

Last year, I split my potato crop between both containers and the ground. My potato yield in the ground was meager, and I fared better growing them in things like large trash cans and plastic (food safe) bins.

 

So this year, I’m growing potatoes in containers.

 

When you plant potatoes will depend on where you live. In my area (Zone 7), I start growing potatoes in pots in March so they’ll be ready to harvest in June, before it gets too hot.

 

The rule of thumb is to plant your potatoes about two weeks after the last frost date in your area. If you’re able to bring your containers inside, then you can plant your potatoes sooner.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO PLANT GARLIC

How to Grow Potatoes in a Container

 

In order to plant potatoes in containers, you first need seed potatoes.

 

If you don’t know what those are, they’re small potatoes that are used like seeds. Out of the “eyes” of the potato, a plant will grow, putting down roots, and from there, more potatoes grow.

You can buy seed potatoes on Amazon or from a big box store, or grocery store.

 

When it comes to seed potatoes, you have some choices.

 

You can go with:

  • Certified seed potatoes (these are potatoes that have been tested and certified disease-free)
  • Use potatoes from last year’s harvest
  • Plant seed potatoes that have not been certified

 

You can try using potatoes from the grocery store; in my area, the smaller stores carry potatoes that clearly have not been sprayed with chemicals to prevent them from sprouting.

 

However, your grocery store might not be as lax about where it sources commercial potatoes, so you’re best bet is to go with certified disease-free seed potatoes.

 

Next, a decision

You can either plant your seed potatoes whole or cut them into smaller pieces. Each decision has its benefits.

 

Planting the whole potato means you’ll need more seed potatoes, but they’re less likely to succumb to rotting.

 

Cutting them up means you will have more to plant, but they also run a greater likelihood of picking up a disease or rotting in the ground.

 

If you do choose to cut your seed potatoes, then make sure there’s at least 2 eyes per piece, and cut them into roughly 1-inch pieces.

 

If you don’t know how to grow potatoes in containers, but want to harvest bucketfuls anyway, then this article is for you.

 

Do this one or two days before planting so they have a chance to form a protective layer over the exposed areas.

 

This helps them with moisture retention and rot resistance. If you don’t do this, your harvest might not be very good.

 

Personally, I’m going with both to see which does better in containers. 

 

Choosing a container

You can grow potatoes in anything, but plastic bins, large pots, and trash cans are common choices. If you want a good-looking plant to grace your doorstep, then large, ornamental pots are a good choice.

 

If you go with plastic, make sure it’s food safe. If you build a container out of pallet wood, then make sure the wood is safe for DIY projects.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PALLETS ARE SAFE FOR DIY PROJECTS

Make sure the container can drain. The last thing you need is to lose an entire crop because it did not drain after heavy rains.

 

Line the bottom of the container with about a ½-inch of potting soil and compost. I use composted manure, since we have plenty of it.

 

Next, place your potatoes in it (if using whole ones, I like to do 1-2 large potatoes or 2-3 small, egg-sized ones. If using cut potatoes, go with 3-4 per container).

 

Add 2-inches of dirt over your potatoes. As they grow, the plant will begin to emerge from the soil. When it’s about 6 inches or so in height, add another 2-inches of soil.

 

Place the containers in a sunny area away from animals that might dig into them.

 

As the plant continues to grow, keep adding 2-inches of soil, making sure to leave about 4-inches of plant exposed to the sun, until the soil reaches the top of the container.

 

Your potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves start to die back, in about 10 – 12 weeks. (If you want to store them for a while, however, then leave them in the ground for a few weeks after the foliage dies back so their skins thicken.)

 

When you go to harvest your potatoes, simply turn the bucket upside down, and sort through the dirt to find the tubers. Harvest them all at the same time so the potatoes don’t rot in the ground.

 

Make sure to harvest on a dry day, and make sure not to damage the tubers.

 

Brush dirt off gently, and store in a cool, dark area. Do not wash until you’re ready to eat them, since the water will shorten their shelf-life.

 

Some notes:

  • Potatoes grow best in well-drained, loose soil.
  • Potatoes require consistent, but not soaking, moisture, so water regularly.
  • Don’t let the tubers get exposed to sun; the skin will turn green, and become poisonous to you and your animals.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO USE BANANA PEELS AS FERTILIZER

 

Common pests to look out for:

 

Aphids

Aphids are tiny insects that love to decimate vegetable crops. They can be tricky to get rid of, but one option is using banana peels buried just below the surface of the soil. 

 

Read my article about using banana peels in the garden here.

 

Flea Beetles

If you begin finding a lot of holes in your potato plant leaves, you might have a problem with flea beetles.

 

According to the University of Minnesota, flea beetles can be black, brown, bluish, or metallic. The University advises planting plants as close to summer as possible, since flea beetles are the biggest problem in the spring, and less of an issue in the summer.

 

If you’re going to grow potatoes in containers, then moving them to an area that’s away from leaf litter, hedge rows, and wind breaks or wooded areas is a good idea, since the flea beetle overwinters in those areas before emerging in the spring.

 

One option is to consider row covers if you’re concerned about them damaging your crop. 

 

You will have to double check that the row covers are not creating too much moisture, which can lead to blight.

 

Common diseases:

 

Late Blight

 

Potato blight (you might have heard of it because of the Irish Potato Famine) is a fungal infection that can kill your potato crop fairly rapidly.

 

It’s a bigger issue in hot, humid weather, which is why it’s best to plant in early spring for a June harvest, or in late summer for a fall harvest.

 

You’ll know if your potatoes are effected by blight if the leaves develop brown patches, or become black and moldy. Remove the plants and burn it. Wait a few weeks, the harvest the potatoes.

 

If you’re wondering how to plant potatoes in containers to avoid blight, using certified disease-free potatoes are a good place to start, as will using disease-resistant varieties.

 

Potato Scab

Potato scab is caused by Streptomyces scabies. According to the University Of California, avoid scab by planting potatoes in acidic soil or by treating them with sulfur before planting because Streptomyces scabies can’t survive acidic environments.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO PLANT A PERENNIAL HERB GARDEN

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you like growing potatoes in pots? Do you feel like you now know how to go potatoes in containers? Leave a comment below!

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Want more awesome gardening tips? Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening is a book that’s your guide to embracing your secret (or maybe not so secret?) rebel. It’s more than a gardening book – it’s the manual to a life not many people have the grit to try.