Vegetables in containers

Mon. May. 11, 2020

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Vegetables in containers

Especially this year, folks are wanting to plant vegetables. But maybe your lawn isn’t big enough or you live in an apartment with just a balcony or maybe your sun conditions aren’t ideal, so what do you do?  Plant in containers!

What size container should you use?  What TYPE of container?   Certain containers create issues for your plants.

Patty pan squash in a container circa 2014

Tomatoes are super popular and grow well in containers but they need size! University based information says use AT LEAST a 12 inch diameter container, but honestly, bigger is better.  The larger pots provide more soil and hold more water which minimizes wilting and stress as plants get large.

Tomato ‘Sweet Million’

This chart from the U of MN gives information on a variety of veggies, the minimum and preferred size container, how many plants per pot and cultivar suggestions.

Plenty of pot options too! Always make sure there are drain holes! The smaller pots are great for herbs

As for the container material, avoid using metal containers, they can absorb too much heat and be deadly to plant roots. Think of sitting on the hood of a car, with shorts on, after it’s been in the hot sun! OUCH. Butts and roots don’t tolerate extreme high or low temperatures that upper plant parts can take.

I tried this because it looked cool but the herbs didn’t thrive. Too small? Too hot for the roots? Likely

Black containers can also be very hot for roots in full sun conditions, which is where your tomatoes should be. Light colored containers are best for minimizing hot conditions.

If you keep them watered properly this will work but just know that the black is absorbing heat

As for soil, use a quality mix. I always use Creekside Soils Premium potting soil from my local garden center. A lightweight mix is best. NEVER use the soil from your yard in a container.

for our container plantings

I use squished milk jugs in the bottom of my really large containers to take up space.  As of watering, that’s daily, and even sometimes twice a day if it’s really hot.

container log and lamium in the bottom right corner. That spread nicely