How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables in Containers

Overview

Most vegetables that can be grown outside can also be grown in containers. Container gardening expert Rose Marie Nichols McGee recommends against growing potatoes, due to the difficulty far outweighing the rewards. Other root vegetables such as carrots and beets, however, make excellent container candidates--as long as you choose a container that is large enough. If you grow vining vegetables (such as tomatoes, peas and beans), they must be staked or caged rigorously to aid in their vigorous, healthy growth. Strawberries and dwarf fruit trees can also be grown in containers.

Step 1

Choose what you will plant and where you will plant it. Think about space, particularly if you will be growing more than one type of vegetable in a single pot. Make sure vegetables planted together will not shade each other from necessary sunlight.

Step 2

Fill containers about ¾ full with potting soil. Sow vegetable seeds according to the planting depths specified on the seed packets. Place a dwarf fruit tree sapling in container filled with soil, taking care to cover the root ball completely.

Step 3

Mist soil covering seeds with water in a mister bottle, making sure to soak the soil so water runs out the drainage holes at the bottoms of the containers. Drain the catch trays, then cover the tops of the pots with plastic wrap to act as a miniature greenhouse. Water the soil around dwarf fruit trees until water runs out the bottom; misting is not necessary.

Step 4

Water whenever soil is dry, or when you notice no moisture clinging to the underside of the plastic wrap. Watch for seedlings to germinate; check seed packets for approximate germination times.

Step 5

Uncover pots when seeds have germinated. Place containers in a south-facing window that gets full sun. Place outdoors in full sun if all danger of frost in your area has passed.

Step 6

Insert moisture meters into the containers to help you monitor when they need water. Monitor water situation carefully, particularly on days that are very hot and sunny. Make sure soil is always moist, but not muddy.

Step 7

Begin fertilizer regimen with all-purpose vegetable and fruit fertilizer (or specialty tomato or citrus fertilizer, if you are growing those plants) after the second sets of leaves have emerged on your seedlings. Follow package instructions to fertilize, as fertilizers and manufacturers will have different specifications.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Potting soil
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Strawberry starts or dwarf fruit tree saplings
  • Fertilizers
  • Mister bottle
  • Plastic wrap
  • Grow lights (optional)
  • Moisture meters

References

  • "McGee and Stuckey's The Bountiful Container;" Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey; 2002
  • BBC: Gardening Guides
  • Sunset: How to Grow Vegetables in Pots

Who Can Help

  • United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • United States Department of Agriculture: Cooperative Extension System Offices
Keywords: fruits vegetables containers, container veggie gardening, container fruit gardening

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.