With new varieties of vegetables to choose from, growing vegetables in pots or bins on the patio is easier than ever before. Although growing in containers does require more consistent watering, as soil in containers dries quickly in the summer sun, they require less weeding and cultivating. Producing fresh vegetables is relatively easy if you choose the right seeds for your crops.
Write down the vegetables you wish to grow. Although large plants such as corn may not be practical, you can grow nearly any vegetable in pots and containers. Making a list of your favorites is the first step to setting up your patio garden.
Browse seed catalogs or visit your local garden supply store and look through the selection of garden seeds.
Look for those labeled “patio,” “dwarf” or “miniature” vegetables. Some, such as cucumbers and squash, may be labeled as “bush” varieties. These plants are smaller versions of full-size plants, but typically produce full-size fruit. Some labeled as miniature may produce miniature fruit. Tomatoes may be labeled as patio tomatoes, but any "determinate" tomato is suitable for containers.
Read the label to determine the number of days to maturity. Choose varieties with fewer days to maturity than the number of frost-free days in your area. Many seed packets contain a zone chart for reference and indicate which zones are suitable for the plants. (See resources for USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map.)