By Jodi Torpey
No space for a large garden bed? No problem! It’s easy-peasy to grow your own peppers, tomatoes and squash in containers on your patio, balcony or deck. Here are my top four vegetables for container gardens this season.
I’ve been experimenting with my small-space container vegetable garden for years, proving it’s possible to grow vegetables just about anywhere. If you have a sunny spot, and the right-size pot, you can grow your own fresh and flavorful peppers, squash and tomatoes to enjoy all season.
The keys to success are matching the vegetable variety to your region, planting in a large-enough container (with drainage) and giving plants a head start with a high-quality soil amendment like Buckaroo Brand Natural and Organic Worm Castings.
Peppers are especially easy to grow and they don’t take up much space. This makes them ideal vegetables for container gardens. A two-gallon container is the perfect size for one pepper plant, and my new favorite is called ‘Fresno’.
This plant produces loads of brilliant red peppers with just the right amount of heat. I love to eat them fresh, but they’re equally delicious when roasted or dried. They’re so beautiful they can be used as an ornamental in the flower garden, too.
‘Green Tiger’ Zucchini
Last summer I planted ‘Green Tiger’ squash in the container garden and the small vegetable bed, too. Both plants did well, yielding nice-sized fruit on upright plants. ‘Green Tiger’ is a lovely alternative to ordinary zucchini because of its nice striped pattern and delicate flavor.
I liked this squash so much, I entered a matching set in the Denver County Fair vegetable competition and brought home a shiny red ribbon. Apparently the judges liked them, too.
Another winner in the vegetable container garden was the mouthwateringly delicious ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes. One plant, grown in a large patio container, produced tomatoes starting in mid-summer, lasting until the first frost in late September.
The long vines needed some support, so I added a tall tomato cage which made them just the right height for plucking a few every time I walked through the garden. Some ‘Sungolds’ actually made it into the kitchen.
Plant a few squash seeds in a large patio container or in a 2-foot by 2-foot garden space and add a trellis for the vines to twine. The squashes are ready to pick in as little as a week after flowering.
Of course, there are many (many) other fruits and vegetables that grow well in small-space gardens. I’ve had great luck planting beets, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, eggplants, leafy greens, herbs and so many more vegetables in container gardens.
If you’d like more ideas for your vegetable garden, take a look at this Plantalk article from the experts at Colorado State University’s Extension.
Then let us know, what new vegetables will you plant this season?