Edible Plants to Grow in Small Spaces

A container garden places fresh healthy vegetables right outside your kitchen door, while fresh herbs growing on your windowsill means garnishes and seasonings are right at your fingertips. While okra and corn are plants best left for large plots of land, you can still grow your own vegetables even if you just have a small space.


Herbs

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The easiest edible plants to grow, herbs deserve a spot on your windowsill or on your back porch. Try parsley, thyme, chives, sage, mint, oregano and rosemary in your outdoor container garden, and basil and cilantro on the kitchen windowsill. Plant herbs you love and keep them close by, that way a sprig of mint will be handy for your next mint julep or glass of sweet tea.



Beans

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Thanks to their attractive foliage and flowers, green beans are a great addition to any container garden, whether on your deck, balcony or back porch. You can either choose a bushy variety of bean, which will grow in a pot without any extra support, or you can choose to grow a climbing variety, and run pole beans up a trellis or deck post.



Carrots

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Carrots need deep soil in order to grow well, but there are colorful, short-rooted varieties that do nicely in containers. Sow seeds according to package instructions, place in a sunny spot and only water during dry periods.



Eggplant

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Like tomatoes, eggplants grow into large plants that need plenty of elbow room; use one transplant per each 5-gallon container. Before fruits form, stake the stems to provide extra late-season support. When growing in a container keep the soil moist and use some type of mulch, such as straw or wood chips.



Radish

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Crispy peppery radishes are great in salads and an easy, fast-growing crop for beginner gardeners. Sow seeds into containers according to package directions. Radishes are fairly small, but you need a container at least six inches deep to ensure proper root formation. Radishes are trouble-free and ready to harvest in as little as a month.



Kale

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Kale is another space-saving, nutrient-packed vegetable that’s perfect for container gardening. Use a well-draining potting mix and make sure your container has a minimum eight-inch depth and at least a 12-inch diameter. Just three or four plants can supply a family of four with a nice weekly harvest.



Tomato

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For container gardens, the smaller, bushy varieties of determinate tomatoes are usually the most successful. These are the dwarf tomato, patio cherry and patio plum types. Their smaller size allows for easier access to plant parts, which is a big benefit of container gardening. Their smaller root systems are better suited for pots.



Lettuce

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Ideal for small space gardening, lettuces can even be grown in vertical planters. Direct seed or transplant into a one-gallon or larger container. You need rich, moist soil for lettuce to grow well. Water in the morning rather than the evening and cut the head when the firm heart has formed.



Peppers

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Regardless of whether you grow sweet or chili peppers, use a five-gallon container per transplant. Peppers are ideal for small space gardening because they are easy to grow and provide a pop of color. Pepper plants need a warm and sunny spot in order to thrive.



Onions

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Spring or salad onions are a great crop for growing in containers or windowsill gardens because they are easy to grow and don’t need deep soil. Sow about half an inch deep into containers – at intervals every couple of weeks – for a long supply. Keep watered in dry weather and harvest after about eight weeks.