Ready to start growing your own vegetables? That’s awesome! Growing vegetables in containers is a rewarding experience and you only get better at it as the years pass.
Luckily, there are PLENTY of vegetables that can thrive in containers, pots, and even planting bags.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to get started, either. You can get quality, organic and NON-GMO seeds for excellent prices from seed companies online or at your local garden center.
You can also take an easier route, though, and start some of your veggies from small plants, as long as they transplant well!
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If you think growing vegetables in containers sounds too difficult to attempt – I’m here to tell you it’s not that challenging!
If you want to master container gardening all you need is a container with a drainage hole, soil, water, sunlight, and a little time and patience.
My best recommendation when growing vegetables in containers is this: use self-watering planters! They will make watering SO much easier and convenient and they’ll help to keep your vegetable garden more low-maintenance.
Here’s the thing about growing vegetables: vegetable plants need A LOT of moisture. The root system needs water to keep the plant healthy and if the plant experiences even one day of drought, the entire growth process can be derailed.
It’s actually very hard for a vegetable plant to come back from this and it’s what makes self-watering containers so invaluable.
Once you start growing your own vegetable garden, you might be surprised at how much water your plants need on a daily basis, especially during the summer when soil dries out quickly.
If you can’t get a self-watering container, just make sure you’re on top of your watering schedule and make sure to check your soil daily. A soil moisture meter is good to have on hand, too, and it’s one of my favorite gardening tools.
Below I’m going to talk about 16 vegetables that thrive in containers but I think it’s smart to start small and choose a few of your favorites so you don’t get overwhelmed!
16 Vegetables That Grow in Containers
Yes, garlic is a vegetable and it grows amazingly well in containers!
Choose a wide or rectangular container (or raised garden bed), because you’ll need to space out the garlic bulbs about 5 inches apart when you plant them.
There’s nothing like having fresh, organic garlic to cook with, so plan ahead and plant garlic in the fall for spring and summer harvest. You can plant in early Spring, too.
Tomatoes are a kitchen staple because you can use them to cook entrees, salsas, and side dishes.
Who doesn’t love fresh tomatoes?! Tomatoes thrive when grown in containers, so you don’t even need a spacious yard to grow your own. They need a lot of water though so this is where I would opt for a self-watering container.
Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow which makes them a very good starting point for beginners ( ok yes…tomatoes are technically a fruit but we all think of them as vegetables so that’s why it’s on this list!).
Keep in mind that your tomato plant will need plenty of sunlight – at least 5 hours a day.
(To learn how to save your precious tomato seeds, head over to this super-informative permaculture post from Hillsborough Homesteading! )
Fresh cucumber (also considered a fruit) can be used in many different dishes, drinks, and cocktails.
Use a large container and be prepared to give your cucumber seeds plenty of water to help them get established.
Cucumber is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers, so once you start growing, you’ll reap a good harvest all season long!
Carrots grow easily in containers but they do best when grown in a shaded area.
Make sure to provide your carrots with enough moisture to help keep the roots cool and moist as they grow.
There’s no competing with taste when it comes to home-grown, organic carrots so try experimenting with different carrot varieties!
5. SQUASH (Zucchini)
Zucchini is another easy vegetable to grow and it’s very productive when grown in containers.
Have you ever tasted fresh zucchini from a farmer’s market? The taste and texture is incomparable!
Start with quality zucchini seeds and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to grow your own squash!
You can also experiment with different seed varieties until you find your favorite!
Zucchini is an especially convenient vegetable to have on hand if you’re vegan or vegetarian (I use it in soups all the time!).
It may just be my favorite vegetable. It can also be used in place of pasta and heavier carbohydrates if you’re on a low-carb diet.
Kale has been all the rage for years now thanks to its super-nutritional benefits.
Kale is a cold-weather crop and doesn’t do well during the Summer season, so be sure to plant some Spinach if you crave leafy vegetables during the Summer months.
Spinach is an easy vegetable to grow. Choose a wide container that is at least 6 inches deep.
Spinach thrives in partial shade, so make sure your container doesn’t get direct sunlight for too many hours of the day after you plant your spinach seeds.
(Head to my How to Grow Spinach post for an in-depth growing guide!)
Radishes grow rather quickly and bountifully. Space your radish seeds 3 inches apart and use a bigger container if you want lots of radishes.
They’re incredibly healthy and are perfect for adding crunch to entrees and salads!
Peas pack a lot of protein, which is why you’ll see them in many vegan shakes and meat alternatives.
They’re also easy to grow; they grow on vines that don’t need additional support, unlike other vine-growing plants.
Plant this cool weather crop in the Fall or early Spring and about 5 inches apart for best results.
Peppers and chiles can be very productive in containers – they’re a must-have if you like to make your own salsas.
Pepper plants need plenty of sunshine and a container that is at least 12 inches deep.
Spend a little time picking out the right variety for your culinary needs!
You can grow different types of beans in a container, just be prepared for them to grow upward!
Use a container that is at least 12 inches deep, and you can use a trellis, wooden stick, or pole to stabilize them in your yard or balcony.
Some beans, such as the Lima Been (Thorogreen), however, don’t require a trellis.
Plant beans in early Spring and make sure they get a few hours of full sun each day.
Also, make sure to look through the different bean varieties out there so you can get one that suits your taste and cooking needs.
Lettuce is one of the most versatile and underrated vegetables out there and there are quite a few lettuce seeds to choose from!
Use lettuce in salads, tacos, burgers, wraps, and in place of tortillas or bread if you’re cutting back on the carbs.
There’s nothing quite like home-grown lettuce, so try planting some in a spacious container with good soil and direct sunlight.
There are many wonderful lettuce varieties to choose from, too.
Since going vegan, I’ve grown to appreciate beets – they’re great to add to salads and homemade juice.
They do very well in containers and are an excellent option if you live in an apartment and have a balcony that gets direct sunlight during the day. Start beet seeds in early Spring.
Yes, you can actually grow potatoes in containers -hooray! If you provide the right environment for this starchy vegetable, each container will produce several pounds of potatoes.
You’ll need a large bucket or container (5 gallon buckets) and well-draining soil. Experiment with different potato varieties!
(For a quick and easy-to-follow growing guide, check out this 30 Second Guide to Growing Potatoes from Hillsborough Homesteading!)
Few things are tastier than cauliflower steaks. Try them – they’re delicious!
Thankfully, cauliflower is an easy vegetable to grow in containers, just make sure you get a container that is at least 8 inches deep, and 18 inches wide so that the plant has plenty of space to grow.
Just as with cauliflower, broccoli is an easy vegetable to grow, even for beginners. Use a container that is at least 8 inches deep and 18 inches wide.
Start broccoli seeds indoors a few weeks before your last frost date to get a head start on the growing season.
There you have it…. A list of 16 vegetables that can be grown in containers!
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of growing your own produce – just make sure you’re armed with the right tools, soil, and know-how!
If you’re interested in growing your own herbs (highly recommended) this list of the easiest culinary herbs to grow will help you out, as well as this post about how to grow cilantro!