11 Easy Vegetables to Grow in Pots & Containers (+ Tips for a Large Harvest!)

While many people think that gardening is only for those with spacious yards, the truth is that anyone can enjoy the satisfaction of growing their own plants. With a little creativity, even those with the smallest outdoor spaces can create a thriving garden. It’s almost like taking care of potted plants on the patio, but you get to eat them afterwards!

One great option for small-space gardening is to grow vegetables in pots and containers. Container gardening is a versatile and flexible way to grow a wide variety of plants, including vegetables. And best of all, it’s easy to get started.

Let’s talk about some of the best vegetables to grow in pots and containers.

11 Easy Vegetables to Grow in Pots

Here are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in pots.

1. Lettuce

lettuce in a pot

Lettuce and other leafy greens are great options for a container garden.

It is actually quite easy to grow lettuce in containers, which means you can enjoy your favorite salad greens without all the hassle. Plus, this leafy vegetable matures in just weeks instead of some others on this list which can take months to bear fruit.

Whether you choose tall planters with deep soil or smaller, shallower pots filled with nutrient-rich potting mix, just follow a few key principles and you’ll have luscious, leafy lettuce at your fingertips.

Make sure that your pots get lots of sun, since lettuce needs lots of light for optimum growth. Then be sure to water your plants frequently and feed them regularly with nutrient-rich compost or fertilizer in order to keep them healthy and happy.

2. Tomatoes

Required Pot Depth:
Plant Spacing:
Sun Requirements:
Soil Preference:

Tomatoes can also be successfully grown in containers, making them a great option for small spaces. Container-grown tomatoes typically yield a smaller crop than those grown in the ground, but if you’re growing bush tomatoes or smaller varieties, than this is not an issue at all.

Some great tomato varieties to grow in containers are:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Plum Tomatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes

Determinate varieties of tomatoes are best suited for pots and growing in containers. They grow more bushy as opposed to tall and viney like their indeterminate counterparts do.

Container-grown tomatoes can be moved around to take advantage of the best growing conditions. With a little care and attention, container-grown tomatoes can be a delicious and healthy addition to any home vegetable garden.

3. Peppers

purple cayenne pepper

Peppers are a great option for container vegetable gardening. They are self-pollinating and don’t need to be planted near another pepper plant.

  • Required Pot Depth: 18-24 inches
  • Plant Spacing: 1 per pot
  • Sun Requirements: Full sun
  • Soil Preference: Well-drained, dryer soil

Most kinds of peppers do great in container gardens as the plants themselves generally don’t get quite large no matter how much space they have.

Peppers need full sun and well-drained soil in order to thrive, so it is important to choose a pot with good drainage and a sunny spot to place it.

Peppers love warmer weather (80-90˚F), so make sure not to plant them outside right when your first frost date ends. I like to wait to start my pepper seeds until early April and plant them out after Mother’s Day to ensure good temperatures for them.

Types of Peppers to Grow in Containers

There are a few types of peppers that are a good fit for containers because they don’t get as big as some other varieties.

  • Shishito peppers
  • Yellow jalapeños
  • Serrano peppers
  • Early jalapeños
  • Goat horn peppers
  • Sweet peppers

As with most plants you grow in containers, they also require regular watering, so be sure to check the soil regularly and water when necessary. Once the peppers have ripened, they can be harvested and enjoyed. With a little care, peppers grown in containers can provide an abundance of fresh peppers for many months.

4. Onions

While some vegetables are content to sprawl across the garden, onions are happy to live in close quarters. In fact, they make ideal candidates for container gardening. Not only do they take up relatively little space, but they are also relatively low-maintenance.

Required Pot Depth: 12-18 inches
Plant Spacing: 6 inches between plants
Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well drained soil

One of the most important things to remember when growing onions in a container is to choose the right type of onion. There are two main types of onions: spring onions and storage onions.

Spring onions are best suited for container gardening, as they have shallower roots and are less likely to become overcrowded. Storage onions, on the other hand, require more space to develop properly but will still do well in containers.

It is also important to choose a pot that has drainage holes and is big enough to accommodate the roots of your chosen onion. Most types of onions will do well in containers given that you space them out properly.

5. Garlic

growing garlic

Growing garlic in containers is a great way to enjoy all of the benefits of this versatile and flavorful herb without taking up too much space in your garden or on your balcony. Since garlic is happiest when it has room to spread out, growing it in containers makes it easy to give each bulb plenty of room to grow.

Required Pot Depth: 10-16 inches
Plant Spacing: 4-6 inches
Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference:

Garlic is quite hardy and will do well even in less-than-ideal conditions, so even those who lack green thumbs can easily cultivate a thriving crop of pungent garlic bulbs.

Garlic takes around 8-10 months to fully mature, so you want to get in the ground (or in your container) in the fall. It does best having that super cold period in the beginning of its growth life.

While you can plant garlic in the spring, it wont get to full sized bulbs, so keep in mind that you will be ending up with green garlic aka spring garlic.

6. Swiss Chard

Required Pot Depth: 12 inches
Plant Spacing: 6 inches apart
Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well drained soil

Swiss chard is a versatile and easy-to-grow green that is perfect for pot gardening. Not only does it have a wide range of uses in the kitchen, but it is also highly resistant to pests and disease. Swiss chard can be grown from seed or bought as seedlings, and it prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

When growing swiss chard in pots, it is important to choose a container that is at least 12 inches wide and deep. The plants will need to be watered regularly, especially during hot weather, and fertilized every few weeks. With a little care, you can enjoy fresh swiss chard all summer long.

7. Radishes

Radishes are one of the easiest crops to grow, which is why they make the perfect choice for those who are new to container gardening. Not only do they require little maintenance, but they can most definitely be grown in pots.

Required Pot Depth: 10-18 inches
Plant Spacing: 4-6 inches
Sun Requirements: Full sun or partial shade
Soil Preference: Well drained soil

Radishes come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, so there is sure to be a type that suits your taste. And unlike some other vegetables, radishes are relatively quick to mature – we’re talking about a few weeks vs a few months with some other vegetable plants.

So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance crop that can be grown in a pot, radishes might be the perfect fit for your container garden.

8. Kale

growing kale

Growing kale in pots can be a great way to enjoy this delicious and nutritious leafy green year-round. These compact plants are easy to care for, requiring little water and only moderate amounts of sun or shade, depending on the variety.

Required Pot Depth: 10-16 inches
Plant Spacing: 6-9 inches
Sun Requirements: Full sun, partial shade
Soil Preference: Well drained soil

Make sure to plant your kale in rich, well-drained soil. Kale likes a lot of nitrogen, so consider adding some compost or organic fertilizer to your soil before planting.

Also, make sure to water your kale regularly – especially during hot weather – as it tends to bolt (go to seed) if it gets too stressed either from lack of water or too much heat.

When it comes to harvesting, you can start picking leaves from your plants as soon as they reach about 6 inches tall. Keep in mind that kale gets more bitter as it grows, so if you’re not a fan of that flavor, you may want to harvest earlier rather than later.

9. Beets

growing beets in containers

Beets are an excellent choice for growing in containers. Not only are they relatively easy to care for, but they also add a splash of color to any garden. Beets prefer well-draining soil and full sun, so it is important to choose a pot that has drainage holes and is large enough to accommodate the roots.

Required Pot Depth: 12-18 inches
Plant Spacing: 4-6 inches
Sun Requirements:
Full sun or partial shade
Soil Preference:
Well drained soil

If starting beets from seed, sow the seeds directly in the pot as they are not great with being transplanted. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them so that they are spaced about 4 inches apart.

Beets need consistent moisture to produce healthy roots, so water them regularly and apply a layer of mulch to help retain moisture. Harvest beets when they are 3-5 inches in diameter. Simply twist off the leaves and roots, being careful not to damage the plant. With a little care, beets can provide a bountiful harvest all season long.

10. Carrots

growing container carrots

Required Pot Depth: 10 inches
Plant Spacing: 2 inches
Sun Requirements: Sunny
Soil Preference: Well draining soil

Carrots are a versatile root vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to stews. If you’re tight on space, you can even grow carrots in containers.

All you need is a pot that’s at least 10 inches deep and wide, and you’re good to go. Just be sure to add enough soil so that the carrots have room to develop their roots.

When it comes time to harvest, you can simply pull the entire plant out of the pot and enjoy your homegrown bounty. You don’t need a very deep pot, just enough room for the carrot to grow underground.

11. Peas

types of peas to grow

Growing peas in containers is also relatively straightforward. All you need is a large container (peas need room to spread out), some good quality soil, and some pea seeds. Once you have those things, simply plant the seeds about an inch deep, water regularly, and wait for your peas to grow.

Required Pot Depth: 12 inches
Plant Spacing: 2-3 inches
Sun Requirements: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well draining soil

Peas are notoriously thirsty plants, so make sure to keep the garden soil slightly moist for best results. With just a little effort, you can enjoy a delicious harvest of fresh peas straight from your own container garden.

You will need some kind of trellis for your peas as they have tendrils that are looking for something to climb. If you forego the trellis, they will climb each other and the plants won’t grow as they should and your yields will be drastically reduced.

You can grow almost all types of peas in a container or pot. They all take up little room and grow vertically, so they can be spaced closer together than other vegetable plant.

How to Be Successful Growing Vegetables in a Container Garden

Container gardening can be very easy to start, especially if you want to grow your own vegetables but have limited space and can’t build a large vegetable garden. Here are some tips to see success with growing in pots.

Moist Soil

Consistent watering can be challenging to keep up with if you’re new to gardening, but you’ll have to find a way to do it. Your plant babies depend on it!

You want to water your plants enough, but not overwater them. Check the soil before you water them each day and if it’s still moist about an inch down, go ahead and skip a day or check them later on if its going to be a hot one.

Choosing the Right Pot

You want to make sure the pot you choose is deep enough for adequate root growth. The pot should have good drainage holes to avoid having overly wet soil. If the roots get waterlogged, your plant can actually drown and develop root rot, so good drainage is important.

If your pot is too small, you will end up with a root bound plant like the picture below. See how the roots are all trying to use up every square centimeter of that pot??

If you don’t choose a large enough pot, the plants growth will stall and you’ll end up with a much smaller harvest, and your plant might start to yellow and die.

rootbound plant

Choosing a Sunny Location

The location for your container plants is crucial for growing healthy plants and your own food. Most vegetables like a sunny and warm place with full sun, so you want to make sure the space your are going to grow them in gets at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

This isn’t something that can be done by a sunny windowsill, unless you have a partial greenhouse attached to your home. 🙂

Container Gardening is a Great Way to Save Space

Container gardening is easy, and it’s a great way to get started in gardening if you’re new to it. Plus, it’s an incredibly efficient use of space – one that your city-dwelling friends will be envious of.

Using pots makes it easier to control the soil conditions, making this an ideal choice for gardeners who live in dry or colder climates.

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AUTHOR

Hi - I'm Chenell! I'm on a mission to learn how to grow my own food, and help other people do the same.

I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs, I started making my Iowa blood proud and growing all kinds of food 🌽 I started this website to help keep track of the journey while teaching others the mistakes and things I'm learning along the way. You can follow along with the journey and learn more here.

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