Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

In a pot!

Pots ready to go

Want to grow a vegetable garden, but don't have much space?

Then a potted or container garden may be the answer for you. You can grow most of your favorites in pots,limited only by the space you have available. There isn't a lot of difference in requirements to growing in a garden patch or bed in the ground, but there are a few considerations that need to be addressed.
Firstly, position for a potted vegetable garden, is just as important as it is if you had a large area in a backyard. You still need a reasonable amount of sunlight! If anything, conditions on, say a small apartment balcony, can be more harsh than a backyard, with potential for higher winds and radiant heat from the building. So take care, some extra shading might be necessary.

Soil Types

The soil you plant your vegetables in is even more important when growing in pots than a traditional garden. Now is not the time to scrimp on quality. Using a cheap potting mix, will only end with poor plant growth and a greater need for fertilising.

A selection of potting mix and compost We started with a base of old stable manure, then a mix of a premium grade potting mix and some bagged compost. If possible, select a potting mix that has water saving crystals mixed in. We have chosen some cheap and readily available, larger plastic pots that we already had, but your choice here is endless. With your pots filled, wet the soil with a watering can before planting. Remember the crop rotation rules before you plant your seed or seedlings, not everthing can be grown together.

Selecting Plants and Planting

When it comes to choosing plants and planting them, refer to the planting guides. Although not all vegetables are really suited to growing in pots, particularly root vegetables, there are varieties that help compromise, for example baby or round carrots. This year we have selected a few different things as a demonstration (we don't normally grow in pots). We're growing beetroot, baby carrots, brussel sprouts, silver beet (aka Swiss Chard), broad beans, parsnip, potatoes, spring onion and shallots (in a hanging basket)
Young beetroot seedlings

A few weeks later

We usually grow beetroot every two years, as I grow a larger crop and preserve them in vinegar for salads etc.

baby carrots just emerging

Baby carrots here, were planted from seed and can be seen just emerging. These will need thinning out once they are larger to prevent overcrowding in the pot.

Spring Update

It's now just over a month since we first showed you the potted vegetable garden plants. This photo, only now a few weeks into Spring, shows just how much of a growth spurt there has been. Normally we would have thinned the carrots out by now to allow more room for them to grow, but as these are a baby variety, we will get the joint benefit of thinning and eating the removed plants, whilst allowing the others to march onwards and grow fatter.

The Beetroot plants are already starting to swell in the root and develop some nice little plants, but still too early to harvest, even as baby beets.

The Silverbeet or Rainbow Chard is already at a size where we could commence the occasional picking of leaves, but our stir fries are still being supplemented by cabbage and spinach so we've had no need to. Check out the latest stir fry recipe in the Members' area

Late Spring Update

As we near the end of Spring, you can see here that our late experiment with potted vegetable gardens has been a success. These broadbeans, that were sown quite late in their growing season, are shorter plants than normal, but have plenty of beans developing.

The beetroot have done particularly well in pots. The central plants have been removed and eaten as small vegetables, the outer plantings are being allowed to continue to grow in size to that of a small apple. They'll then be harvested and either pickled as an accompaniment to salads or boiled as a vegetable or even absorbed into Brownies!

Harvested Broadbeans

These photo's show only part of our Broadbean and Beetroot crops grown in pots.

Summer Update

Now into Summer, we have a range of potted vegetables that are coming into their own. These include Tomatoes, Capsicum (peppers), Eggplants and Warragul greens. Earlier crops such as the baby carrots are progressing well and have been harvested to thin the pots out and silverbeet (chard) has been a source of greens for weeks.

potted tomatoes
Potted Eggplant Warragul Greens

Potted baby carrots to be thinned out

One of the most important tasks in summer for your potted vegetables is to keep an close eye on watering requirements. The amount needed will vary depending of the size and type of plants as well as the type of pots and its location. Check the pots at least daily, and in extreme heat twice daily. When the temperatures get very high, say into the mid 30's (celcius) you will likely notice some plants wilting. This does not necessarily mean the soil is dry, rather the plants cannot keep up with the rate of transpiration of water from their leaves. In severe cases, if possible, move the pots into some shade, or, provide some from covers. If allowed to continue, leaves can burn and not recover.

When watering, where possible, water in the early morning and take care not to water over the foliage. Watering late in the evening can create increased humidity around the plant which in some cases can cause mildew problems.

Mid Summer Update

Potted Cherry Tomato

It's now mid summer and we are regularly experiencing temperatures in the mid to high 30's (celcius). Our potted vegetable garden is doing well and producing a good range of different vegetables.

You can see here that we have mulched the top of the Tomato plant pots to help minimise evaporation. It is crucial that you keep a close eye on your pots at this time of year as they can rapidly dry out.

How to grow a potted eggplant

Our potted eggplants are lapping up the sunshine are already ahead of the vegetable garden bed plants. Here you can see this particular plant has 3 fruit already and the second plant next to it is covered in flowers.

Also, the baby carrots (shown above)that we planted direct into the vegetable pots are still around the same size foliage wise, but when you pull out some to add to a summer salad, we now have good, crunchy finger size carrots. The pots themselves are overcrowded, but this has retarded the growth of all the carrots, slowing them down. As we harvest carrots, we are thinning out the growth and each harvest creates more room for the other, smaller one's to grow.

Can you help?

Are you potty about growing vegetables in pots?

Do you have limited space and are successfully growing food for yourself?

We'd love to see what you've managed to grow and so would a lot of other visitors to this site! ESPECIALLY those who live in apartments or units with only a small space available. I often receive email requests for ideas on what can be grown and requests to see how to set the pots out.

Why not take a photo and share it here, on your own free webpage, automatically created for you when you use the section below. I'd love to see what you've been up to...

Cheers Chris

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Growing aubergines in pots Not rated yet
We have set up our vegie garden in pots on our front of house entrance, which has a seat and some space for pots. We have some going down the steps. …

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When I grow tomatoes, as they are growing I get some plastic cups, place a hole in them about as big as the base of the plant. I slip them on and bugs …

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