I’ve been growing my own food for a few years now, and, although I now have some raised beds and a greenhouse, it all started as a container garden, where I grew all of my produce in pots!
Back then, my health wasn’t too great, so planting in pots not only made it more manageable, it also meant that I could get sowing and growing, without needing to cultivate our solid-clay soil, first! 😬
Originally, I only planned to grow a few tomatoes, but I was surprised to learn that there’s a wide range of crops, that are well-suited to growing in pots.
Most of my pots are 30-45cm in diameter, but, in truth, you don’t need plant pots at all! You could re-purpose an old sink, water tank or recycling box, or even get some 10L florist buckets, free from your local supermarket! Whatever you use, just make sure it has drainage holes – and is UV protected if it’s plastic.
The other thing to keep in mind, is that the soil in your containers will dry out much faster than the soil that’s in your borders – so be sure to keep them well-watered!
On the plus side though, pots can be moved around – so if you find that a plant is wanting more sun or more shelter, you can simply move it to a better location.
So, without further ado, here are some ideas for tasty produce, that can be happily grown in containers! 🥕
20 Edible Crops That Are Great for Growing in Pots!
- Sow: February-May.
- Spacing: 20cm apart in a deep container.
- Good Varieties: The Sutton, Optica.
- Tip: Use bamboo canes and jute string for support.
- Sow: March-September.
- Spacing: 2-3cm apart.
- Good Varieties: White Lisbon, Ishikura.
- Tip: Pick regularly and sow successionally for a longer harvest.
- Sow: March-June.
- Spacing: 10cm apart in large containers.
- Good Varieties: Kelvedon Wonder, Tom Thumb.
- Tip: Use bamboo canes and jute netting for support.
- Sow: April-July.
- Spacing: Sow in deep containers and thin to 8cm apart.
- Good Varieties: Parmex, Caracas.
- Tip: Cover seedlings with mesh or fleece to protect against carrot fly.
- Plant: March-May.
- Spacing: Plant 1 seed potato in a deep container/grow bag that’s at least 30cm in diameter.
- Good Varieties: Lady Christl, Sharpe’s Express.
- Tip: Add more compost to the base of the plant as it grows, to ensure the tubers are not exposed to light.
- Plant: November-March.
- Spacing: Plant in containers that are at least 38cm in diameter.
- Good Varieties: Ruby Beauty, Malling Jewel.
- Tip: Support with bamboo canes and cover with netting when fruiting, to protect against the birds.
Peppers & Chillies
- Sow: February-April, indoors.
- Spacing: Prick out seedlings into in 10cm pots and later scale up to 13cm pots. Finally, plant into pots with a 22cm diameter.
- Good Varieties: Aji Lemon, Padron.
- Tip: Best grown under glass, and should only be moved outside (to a sunny position) when all risk of frost has passed.
- Sow: April-July.
- Spacing: Plant three seeds together, spaced 10cm apart.
- Good Varieties: Regala, Boltardy.
- Tip: Don’t forget, beet greens are edible too! They can be used in place of spinach or swiss chard.
- Sow: Sow indoors from February-May. Plant out when all risk of frost has passed.
- Spacing: Prick out three seedlings into an 8cm pot, and later plant into a final pot, with a diameter of 15cm.
- Good Varieties: Kent Beauty, Aureum Crispum.
- Tip: Harvest the leaves before the flower buds start to open.
- Sow: Sow indoors from April, or under fleece from May-June.
- Spacing: Use one large container per plant, at least 45cm in diameter.
- Good Varieties: Midnight, Patio Star.
- Tip: Water regularly as courgettes are thirsty plants!
- Sow: Sow indoors from March-April.
- Spacing: Prick out seedlings into 9cm pots and transfer each plant to a 23-30cm pot when flowers start to open. They can also be spaced 35-45cm apart in grow bags.
- Good Varieties: Tornado, Sweet Million.
- Tip: Avoid getting water on the leaves, to reduce the risk of blight.
- Plant: Plant bare-rooted Gooseberries October-March.
- Spacing: One plant per 30-40cm pot.
- Good Varieties: Levellery, Pax.
- Tip: When fruiting, cover with netting to protect against the birds and grow chives nearby to reduce the risk of sawfly.
- Sow: Sow under glass from February-June. Sow seed on the surface of damp compost and do not cover as it needs light to germinate.
- Spacing: Prick out seedlings into 7.5cm pots and later transfer plants into pots that are 30cm in diameter.
- Good Varieties: Spearmint, Chocolate Mint.
- Tip: Divide and re-pot plants often, as their roots grow very vigorously.
- Sow: Sow March-August (or July-August for winter varieties).
- Spacing: 2.5cm apart (15cm apart for winter varieties).
- Good Varieties: Sparkler, French Breakfast 3.
- Tip: Sow successionally, and lift before they become woody.
- Sow: Sow March-July (or in August for a winter crop). Tamp down damp compost before sowing and cover seeds with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite.
- Spacing: 2.5cm apart for baby leaves, or 10-15cm apart for full heads. Plant in 15-30cm diameter pots.
- Good Varieties: Red Oak Leaf, Little Gem.
- Tip: Lettuce plants have shallow roots, so be sure to keep the soil moist.
Dwarf Runner Beans
- Sow: April-June. Plant out once all risk of frost has passed.
- Start in 5cm pots, and plant 20cm apart in final growing position, in a large container that’s at least 45cm in diameter.
- Good Varieties: Hestia, Pickwick.
- Tip: Pick regularly to keep them producing.
- Sow: Sow March-May (or August-September for winter cultivars).
- Spacing: Plant one plant per 15cm pot, or use larger pots and space 20-30cm apart.
- Good Varieties: Barbados, Atlanta.
- Tip: Best grown in cooler weather (not midsummer) due to its tendency to bolt.
- Plant: Plant bare-root runners March-April, or potted plants when you get them.
- Spacing: At least 15cm apart. Can be grown in grow bags, pots or even hanging baskets.
- Good Varieties: Pegasus, Cambridge Favourite.
- Tip: As fruits develop, place straw around the plants to keep the fruit clean and prevent weed growth.
- Sow: March-June.
- Spacing: Sow 5-15cm apart depending on your pot size.
- Good Varieties: Aphrodite, French Parsely.
- Tip: Harvest stems at base to encourage more leaf growth.
- Sow: April-June.
- Spacing: Plant seeds 20-30cm apart.
- Good Varieties: Empress of India, Cherries Jubilee.
- Tip: Both the flowers and the leaves are edible, and are really tasty in salads!
What plants do you love growing in pots? I’d love to hear what you’re sowing and growing this year!
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