Grow your groceries! Even apartment dwellers can reap the benefits of growing produce with these easy edible plants to grow in pots. Regardless of landscape size, container gardens are ideal, and it’s becoming trendy to not only grow your own produce but to display it proudly in your front gardens and containers. Let’s dig into the details to learn what garden edibles you should plant and how to style them into creative containers that are not only delicious but design-savvy.
Container Gardening 101
Before we get into which edibles are ideal for container gardening, let’s discuss the science behind the design of an aesthetically pleasing pot. Yes, there is a bit of a science to building a container garden that’s display-worthy. All the classic design elements of color, contrast, texture, and balance play a crucial role in container design. To simplify this puzzle, many gardeners subscribe to the ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ philosophy––a plant to ‘thrill,’ a plant to ‘fill,’ and a plant to ‘spill.’ Blooms Greenhouse makes this easy with our annual planter recipes.
I hear you saying, “that’s all well and good, but how does this apply to edible container gardening?” We say the design principles are the same! Aside from growing tasty vegetables, let’s learn how to plant them in a manner that makes you want to bring them to the forefront of your yard.
Ideal Edibles for Container Gardening
Here’s the catch: not all edibles are ideal for growing in the small, confined space of a container. The good news is that there are still plenty of choices perfectly suited to container gardening. The plant root system is what will mostly dictate each vegetable’s container-worthiness. An extensive root system can quickly get root-bound in a small pot. Unless you have huge pots, some produce won’t be appealing for your edible container garden. Large melons, heavy trailing full-size cucumbers, full-size squash, pumpkins, and the like, are all a tad too wieldy for a small container. It’s not to say you can’t; it’s just that you will need a very sturdy pot and possibly a trellis for climbing vegetable vines. Instead, let’s talk about what WILL work in a container:
Ah, the ideal summer fruit––sweet strawberries. These red gems are ideal for edible container gardening. Strawberries love a hot day of full sun, and they prefer well-drained soil. Strawberries can quickly rot if they lay on the soil, so let them do their thing and trail over the container, or add some straw mulch on top of the soil to lift them.
Who doesn’t love a tasty tomato? Container gardening can be ideal for these sensitive fruits. Tomatoes need plenty of water and protection, so containers are their best friends. Select a potting mix with loam in it to retain soil moisture and water the soil itself, not the leaves, to avoid fungus and leaf rot.
Rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, chives, basil, mint…the herb list goes on! Having herbs planted just outside your door excites the gourmet chef in us. Ponder what flavors you love to cook with and start by planting those. Two tips to remember:
- Most herbs don’t love sitting in water, so offer them well-drained soil and a pot with ample drainage.
- Some herbs will bolt if conditions are too hot, causing them to go to seed and lose their appealing taste. Consider a cooler area in your yard when placing your herb containers.
Lettuce and Salad Greens
Salad greens are ideal choices for edible container gardening because they have a shallow root system. Get creative and plant a mixture of butter lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, and spinach to spice up your container game. Greens can also bolt when the weather gets extreme; you may want to place these containers in a cooler area in your yard, as well.
Their roots may be significant, but carrots can thrive in a properly planted container. A few tricks to consider to make these plantings successful:
- Use potting soil with some sand in it to allow for better drainage.
- Thin out the carrots as they grow, making room for them to grow even bigger and better.
Style-Savvy Edible Container Gardening
Let’s get creative! Now is the time to think back to the basic design principles of container gardening–– thriller, spiller, filler. We know what edible plants we want to use, but how can we make them aesthetically appealing, as well? Let’s add some spice to these edible plants! Follow these tips to make your plantings pretty and worthy of display:
- Consider container choice. Choose a stunning container that goes with your unique sense of style. Bright colors, distinctive materials, and different textures can be brought into your planting via a unique pot.
- Follow a theme. Imagine an Italian spaghetti night grouping. The tall ‘thriller’ centerpiece could be a tall, bold tomato plant, while the ‘spillers’ and ‘fillers’ could be basil, oregano, and thyme.
- Opt for gorgeous and nutritious foliage! The ruffly shapes, textures, sizes, and verdant colors of different cabbage, kale, and lettuce varieties can offer a pleasing palette to the eyes––and the tastebuds!
There are so many fun, innovative, and tasty ideas when it comes to edible container gardening! Come visit us to view our array of potting choices, edible garden choices, and vegetable fertilizers.
Want more tips on growing your own food? Read our blog on Edible Garden Design!