How to Grow a Vegetable Garden in the City


Living in the city is no reason to sacrifice home grown vegetables. If you have a sunny windowsill or a balcony, you can grow a variety of fresh vegetables potted in plant pots or containers. With a little planning, even a tiny corner can produce salad greens, beans or peas. A large ledge or rooftop provides the space for larger plants such as tomatoes and peppers and may even provide room for potatoes or corn.

Step 1

Select a location that receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. A balcony, roof top or even the ledge outside your window can all serve as gardening spaces with a little planning.

Step 2

Choose miniature varieties of your favorite vegetables to save space. Patio tomatoes and bush cucumbers can be grown in a small container perched on the ledge or occupying a corner of the balcony. Grow radishes and salad greens in a window box for a quick treat.

Step 3

Fill containers with potting mix made with equal parts potting soil, peat moss and perlite. This lightens the soil, promotes good drainage and provides aeration for your roots.

Step 4

Start small quick-growing crops such as lettuce, radish, spinach and peas from seed following the seed planting depth on the package. Container grown vegetables can be planted to the seed spacing distance in all directions. Disregard the row spacing information on the package. Grow larger vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini from seedlings purchased at the nursery.

Step 5

Water to thoroughly moisten the soil when planting, and keep the soil moist until seeds germinate or seedlings resume active growth. Water when soil dries once plants are established. Container gardens dry quickly and may require daily watering during hot dry spells. Check soil daily and monitor plants for signs of wilting.

Step 6

Fertilize every two weeks with water-soluble fertilizer designed for vegetables.

Step 7

Harvest fruits and vegetables when they are young and tender. Pick ripe vegetables promptly to encourage prolonged production.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant pots/containers
  • Seedlings
  • Seed
  • Potting media (peat moss, potting soil, perlite)
  • Hanging baskets
  • Trellises
  • Water soluble fertilizer


  • TAMU Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • Iowa State University Extension: Container Vegetable Gardening

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Small Space Gardening
Keywords: vegetable container garden, small space gardens, city gardens

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.