Growing vegetables in containers at home is a great alternative if you'd like to experience raising some of your own food but don't have the space outdoors. Not all vegetable varieties thrive in containers, so the trick is to select the right plants for the environment you have.
Indoor Container Vegetables
Before beginning work on your indoor vegetable garden, find the sunny places in your home where you can park your containers. Windowsills, patios, balconies and doorsteps are all spacious enough for potted plants; however, most everything you grow will need at least five hours of light and warmth daily.
One option if you don't have the sun warming one single spot for that long is to move your containers around the house throughout the day. Another is to use grow lamps.
If you have a good spot for a container that's partially in the shade, save it for your leafy vegetables, like lettuce and spinach.
Choose vegetables that require little space to grow or that have varieties that take up little room. For instance, small-rooted carrots and radishes are perfect for indoor gardening. Also, small-fruited tomatoes and peppers thrive in containers, provided they get enough warmth and light.
Avoid varieties labeled as "dwarf," as these tend to produce a disappointing harvest. Some seed companies now sell vegetable seeds specifically for container sowing that produce as well as standard varieties. One such company is Seedman.com. You can get an array of seeds, from baby finger carrots to baby eggplants to hanging basket cucumbers to miniature bell peppers and a few more container-friendly varieties.
Invest in store-bought soil instead of scooping some from outside to avoid carrying disease and weeds to your containers. Pretty much any pot will do as long as it's been thoroughly cleaned. If you're reusing anything, rinse it with a little bleach diluted in water to kill any bacteria from the previous crop. As your vegetable plant grows, transplant and repot it as needed.
Add some broken clay or gravel to the bottom of your containers to improve drainage. Otherwise, the excess moisture will cause root rot and eventually kill your vegetables.
Also, container-raised vegetables need more fertilizing than those grown in the ground. Talk to the staff at your local nursery about a natural organic product you can apply to your vegetables. Follow the instructions on the label.
There's no reason to deprive yourself of the flavor and nutritional value of fresh, homegrown produce simply because you don't own a piece of land.