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How to Grow Vegetables in Pots

tomatoes, bio, balcony

Keep reading to learn how to grow vegetables in pots!

Nothing beats the taste of homegrown produce in the summer, but many home gardeners may not have the space in the ground dedicated for a veggie patch.  Since vegetables and herbs need at minimum a half day of sun to produce the best yields, it does limit where one can grow them.  Perhaps, your sun location is by the pool, or maybe it’s a back porch.  This is when growing in pots will work to your advantage.

Growing in pots, harvesting becomes easier because the produce is off the ground and will save your back.  Also, some super fast aggressive herbs such as mint can take over a flower bed, by planting them in pots they can be controlled and become portable for when you want to bring the mint to the mojito!

Another bonus to growing in pots is that you can start earlier and move the pots inside if temperatures dip low.

Vegetables That Grow Well in Pots

Tomatoes. Choose the variety called ‘Patio’ or varieties with the name “bush” in them.  ‘Bush Early Girl, and ‘Better Boy Bush’ are just a few examples.  There are even some tumbler type tomatoes that get their name by tumbling over the side of the pot or hanging basket.  These are micro sized tomatoes.

Regular sized tomatoes can be grown in pots too, but will need a very large pot. Ideally, a 30” pot or so.  Tomatoes prefer to have consistent soil moisture, going too wet or too dry is not ideal. It can reduce the amount of tomatoes you get. Having a regular size tomato in too small of pot can dry out super fast in our Arkansas summer.  And speaking of our summers, those thunderstorms can blow over a tall tomato plant over if it is in a small pot.

Cucumbers.  There are two main types of cuke’s; the vining kind, and the bush kind.  The “bush” varieties are the best to do in pots.  ‘Burpless Bush’ is just one option……….

Eggplant.  All varieties.

Peppers.  All varieties.

And Don’t Forget These Vegetables!

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.  You betcha!  Sweet potato plants are often called slips.  You can find slips started in 6 or 9 packs in the spring.  Try planting 3 slips in a 20” pot.  The vines will spill over the sides taking up a few feet all the way around.

Leafy greens.  Spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale, bok choy, swiss chard and collards all work quite well in pots.

Don’t forget that cabbage, strawberries, broccoli and even onions can grow in containers too!

Some veggies such as watermelon, pumpkins, cantaloupe, and winter squash are best left for the ground unless you can grow vertically.  The vines just get so big.  And the containers need to be pretty big!  Asparagus really need to be in the ground for best success.

What Kind of Pots and Potting Soil to Use

Any kind of pot can be used but here are some things to consider; the pot needs to have good drainage holes to allow excess water to be released.  For example, some of our large glazed pottery would work very well, but might need to have additional holes drilled in the pots or the existing drainage holes may need to be enlarged.

Another consideration is container material; for example, thin walled, metal containers may transfer too much heat to the root zone of the plant, as opposed to a thin plastic container which won’t transfer as much heat.

To insure proper drainage use our Good Earth professional potting mix, and in larger pots use some drainage rock in the bottom.  Also consider using pot feet, these go under the pot raising the entire container off the ground.

Feeding Your Potted Vegetables

This is a great opportunity to use an organic fertilizer such as Espoma Tomato-tone and Garden-tone.

The Tomato-tone is perfect for tomatoes due to having a bit more calcium in the formulation which tomatoes appreciate. It helps keep blossom end rot from happening.  This is when a black, rotten spot developing on the end of the fruit.

Garden-tone is a great multi use vegetable fertilizer.

Here are some other article on growing edible plants here in Arkansas:

When and How to Plant Spring Vegetable Gardens in Central Arkansas

How to Grow Blueberries in Arkansas!