Growing Vegetables in Pots

Table of Contents

Imagine popping out onto your balcony to clip a handful of fresh basil and parsley to add to that night’s meal. Or inviting guests at your deck party to pick themselves some cherry tomatoes to snack on. Growing herbs and vegetables in pots is a perfect way for those with little or no room for a garden to still be able to cultivate their favorite fresh food.

Vegetables and Herbs Can Grow Well in Pots

A variety of potted vegetable plants growing on a city balcony or terrace

Even for those who have room for a big garden, there are plenty of reasons to grow vegetables and herbs in containers:
  • You have ready access to your homegrown produce: Grow herbs and vegetables in containers near your house, and you’ll find yourself using your harvest in every meal. It’s like having a farm stand steps from your kitchen door!
  • Vegetables in containers look great: A colorful pot holding a bush dripping with yellow wax beans – the silvery spikes of a rosemary plant perfuming the air—a container brimming with ruffled purple kale, as delicious to eat as it is beautiful to look at – all elegant and attractive additions to any container garden display.
  • Vegetables and herbs in containers are easier to care for than those in the garden: You’re more likely to keep your plants watered, weeded and picked if you pass by them on the way out the door or onto the deck.
  • Vegetables and herbs grown in pots are often healthier than those grown in traditional garden beds: It is easier to provide rich soil in the small space of a container. In fact, many large-scale vegetable gardeners will switch to plants grown in containers when they have problems with soilborne diseases or nematodes.

The Best Vegetables and Herbs to Grow in a Container

Beautiful arrangement of herb plants potted in terracotta pots
Almost any vegetable or herb that grows in a garden bed can grow in a pot. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Vegetables – How many plants per pot?
Tomato – Larger varieties are best grown in pots with a 14”, or greater, diameter. A 5-gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage is a good size. Don’t forget to add a cage or stake when planting so that the weight of the vines and tomatoes can be supported as they grow.
Bell peppers – 1 Plant. As with tomatoes, larger varieties are best grown as a single plant in a 14” pot or five-gallon bucket.
Chili peppers – 1 plant in 10-12” pot
Kale – 2-3 plants in 12” pot
Carrot – 6 in 12” pot
Leaf lettuce – 4 plants in 12” pot
Herbs – How many plants can you grow in a 12” pot?
Basil – 2 plants
Chives – 2-3 plants
Cilantro – 2 plants
Rosemary – 1 plant
Oregano – 1 plant
Thyme – 1-2 plants
You can care for all the plants in your container garden following the same simple guidelines. It’s a snap to add vegetables and herbs in pots to the beauty and bounty growing on your balcony, deck or front porch.
A galvanized trough turned into a vegetable planter filled with healthy vegetable plants


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