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Choosing The Right Vegetables To Grow In Pots And Containers

Updated on June 5, 2013

How To Enjoy Growing Your Own Favourite Fruit, Vegetables And Herbs In Pots And Containers

It can be surprising how many fruit, vegetables and herbs will not only grow in pots and containers but can actually thrive in them.

Growing plants in containers allows for control over the growing medium which can be selected to suit that particular plant. Many vegetables will have varieties that are suited for pots. For example, baby carrots are a perfect match for containers; they do not require such deep soil as conventional carrots but will benefit from the loose growing medium that can be provided, and will still reward you with wonderful flavours and freshness that can't be matched by carrots purchased from shops.

Spinach beet and carrots in metal containers
Spinach beet and carrots in metal containers
Basil in small terracotta pots
Basil in small terracotta pots
Coriander seedlings in glazed pot
Coriander seedlings in glazed pot
Herbs and vegetables in pots and containers
Herbs and vegetables in pots and containers
Young salad leaves in trays
Young salad leaves in trays

If this is your first time for growing vegetables in containers , it is advisable to choose easy growing options, such as basil, strawberries, salad leaves, spring onions and carrots. A mistake many first-time vegetable growers make is to start off big, and choose challenging varieties. With that often comes failure, which leads to disappointment and giving up on the whole idea. Whereas, if your first crops are a success, you will be inspired to grow more, and as your confidence, knowledge and experience increases, you will be better able to pursue growing more challenging plants.

Select plants that you will actually eat. There is no point in growing runner beans because you have read that they crop well and are easy to grow if you don’t actually like them. Choose vegetables that you will actually enjoy eating. Growing vegetables is all about the link between the kitchen and the garden so choose varieties that you will include in your meals. Also, choose options that are difficult to find in stores, such as rainbow chard, or can be expensive, such as blueberries, but only if you actually like them or they will be enjoyed by other members of the household.

Work with the space you have. The space you have available to place your pots will also govern what you are able to grow. If you are limited to a few small window sills, choosing pumpkins is not really an option, but herbs, salad leaves, chillies and even spring onions will happily grow in the limited space. Try and maximise the space you have but make sure you don’t end up blocking out the light from some of the plants. All fruit, vegetables and herbs need sunshine but some will fair in slightly more shady conditions, so keep the sunnier areas for plants that really require the maximum amount of sunshine possible, such as tomatoes, and grow types such as spinach in areas that have less.

Growing conditions.

If you live in a cold climate, there is little point trying to grow tropical fruit unless you are prepared to create the conditions they require with a protective greenhouse and heating. Far easier to choose plants that suit the environment you live in. Hardier leaf vegetables such as cabbages can tolerate colder conditions, so are a good choice. Even so, with a little planning it is possible to grow fruit and vegetables that require a little more warmth. For example, if you live in the northern hemisphere, positioning tomato plants near a south facing wall will benefit them from the heat reflected of the wall as well as protect the plants from colder winds that blow from the north. If you live in hotter climes, choose plants that thrive in the warmth. Chillies, bell peppers and egg plants all benefit from a good dose of sunshine, and will grow well in these conditions as long as they are kept well watered.

Container growing is an ideal way to enable having home grown fresh produce, even from the smallest of spaces. It is an easy and enjoyable introduction to the joys of growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs, suitable for anyone.

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