Vegetable Container Gardening

Learn the ins and outs of vegetable container gardening including which are the must-have pots for edible, ornamental and long-term schemes in tubs, baskets and boxes.

| August 2013

Container Gardening (Mitchell Beazley, 2013) by Ian Hodgson offers advice on creating impressive partnerships of pots and plants for every style of container and every size of garden. The following excerpt from “Crops in Containers” shows you how to navigate container choices and choose the best vegetable crops to grow for optimal vegetable container gardening.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Container Gardening.

Vegetables in Pots

Some vegetables have long been associated with container cultivation, particularly those tender crops generally grown in glasshouses in cool-temperate areas, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peppers and aubergine. Here, breeders have produced cultivars that are more compact and more durable for cultivation outdoors in often fickle summers; the plants are also resistant to the devastating diseases they are likely to encounter when grown outdoors.

Other vegetable crops are idea for pot culture for the following reasons:

• They are standard cultivars, but can be harvested when young or immature.
• The height/proportions of the plant have been reduced so it is more manageable in a pot or small space.

Container Choices

The type of container required will depend on the vegetable you want to grow, whether it is a taprooted crop (such as carrots), a leafy salad crop (such as lettuces) or a shrubby or climbing plant (such as peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers). You may also want your vegetables to become a feature in themselves. Many have attractive flowers, leaves or fruit and can be collectively grown for display. If long-lived, such as rainbow-leaved chard, the vegetable can be used as an incidental element with other ornamental plants. In this instance you will want an aesthetically attractive container, such as a terracotta urn, molded plastic tub or timber crib or planter, rather than a purely functional growing bag, black plastic pot or recycled container.

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