How to Grow Vegetables in the City

Overview

You can use container growing techniques to produce your own fresh vegetables even if you live in a city. Most garden vegetables can be grown in deep pots or window boxes. Vegetables can be grown on patios, windowsills, decks or any other areas that get enough sunlight.

Step 1

Most vegetables need deep containers their root systems will fit into. Look for a pot at least 10 to 12 in. deep for shallow vegetables like spinach or beets, and 16 to 18 in. for tomatoes or squash. and with drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 2

Decide what kind of vegetables you want to grow. If you want to combine plants in one pot, be sure their water and sun needs are similar. Vegetables do not grow well in overcrowded conditions, so limit your selections according to your container size. Tomatoes need to be planted at least 18 in. apart, eggplant or peppers need 12 in. between plants, and beets and peas need to be spaced only 3 in. apart.

Step 3

Fill your container with loamy potting soil, leaving 3 to 4 in. around the top edge of the pot. You can add compost or fertilizer, depending on the needs of your vegetables.

Step 4

Plant your vegetables in the spring, in warm weather. Buy seedlings from a reputable garden store or plant nursery. Some plants are more sensitive to cold temperatures than others; check the card or label attached to the plants for planting instructions. Transplant seedlings and root ballS to your new container and cover the roots with potting soil.

Step 5

Place the container in a location where the plant will get at least six hours of sun per day. Lettuce, kale or other leafy vegetables tolerate partial shade, but full sun is always best. Vegetables that bear fruit, such as like tomatoes, eggplant or squash, need full sun.

Step 6

Water and fertilize your vegetables regularly, according to the needs of your plants. Tomatoes and summer squash need to be thoroughly watered, with breaks in between so the soil can dry out. Carrots and other root vegetables thrive in soil that is consistently moist. Container vegetables need fertilizer because of the limited nutrients inside the container. Choose a fertilizer intended for vegetables; popular organic choices include liquid fish emulsion, liquid kelp and bone meal. Fertilize in small increments to avoid over-fertilizing.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot or container
  • Vegetable plants
  • Potting soil
  • Compost or fertilizer--optional--(liquid fish emulsion, liquid kelp or bone meal)

References

  • University of California-Davis: Grow Vegetables in Containers
  • Texas A&M University Department of Horticultural Sciences: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • Boston.com: How to Plant an Urban Vegetable Garden
Keywords: grow vegetables in pots, urban vegetable gardening, apartment gardens

About this Author

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Hanna Terhaar began working full-time as a freelance writer. In the nine months she has been working professionally, Terhaar's articles have been published on sites such as eHow.com, DIY Chatroom and The Daily Puppy.