Can I Grow vegetables in containers to save space in my garden

Yes you can

You just need the Right Pot in the Right Spot.

I will explain what I mean  

  • The right Pot. You guessed it, by pot I mean container. Any size container can be used for growing vegetables from raised beds through to flowerpots providing it has enough depth and space for root growth and is filled with the right soil. More about this later. 
  • The right Spot. Nearly all vegetable plants grow better in full sunlight rather than in shade. However, Some vegetables will tolerate shade, so you will need to select plants to suit the spot, Sunny or shady. More about which vegetables thrive in sun or shade later. 

If your gardening is limited by space or poor soil. It really is worth having a go at container grown vegetables. You can use containers placed on window sills, patios, your balcony, in fact anywhere providing you follow the few simple guidelines set out in this article. Almost every vegetable that grows in a garden can be grown in a container.

What are the benefits off container gardening.

The benefits off growing vegetables in containers are;

Plant selection is less of a problemOne big benefit will be that you control the type of soil. This means plant selection isn't limited to your type of soil. That vegetable you have always fancied growing, but can't because it prefers dry sandy soil and your garden is on soggy hard clay, is no longer off limits. You just mix some compost and gritty sand into your pot of clay and "Hey-Ho" that forbidden plant thrives. This is a major benefit and a lot cheaper than trying to change the soil in a whole garden. Change what you can and live with the stuff that you can't.
Garden pests Slugs, snails and other garden pests are much easier to control, and less weeding
Feeding and watering your plants is also easier, 
People who find it difficult bending and getting around the garden will see a major benefit. Growing vegetables in containers, especially raised beds, makes gardening accessible to the old and people who find it difficult bending and getting around the garden.
Saving space is an obvious benefit of container gardening. Another benefit will be the ability to move plants if frost is forecast by moving pots to a more sheltered spot near the house. Also, if plants are getting too little or too much sun, lighter or wheeled containers can be moved to a better spot.

The growing season can be extended, by moving containers nearer to the warmer walls off your house in winter. Insulating pots and containers is also a lot easier.

Harvesting is the best bit. Eat the vegetables at their peak when full off flavour. 

Guidelines to how to get the best out of container gardening

Soil for containers and pots. If you can, use soil from your own garden, even if it is clay. Clay soils retain moisture better than sandy soil, handy during long dry spells. It's also rich in the nutrients vegetables need to grow, holding calcium, potassium, and magnesium. You can improve the texture of clay by adding organic matter from your compost heap and a small amount of Grit sand. 

Or buy it loose from a local topsoil supplier, it's a lot cheaper than buying it in small bags from garden centres.

Feeding your container grown vegetables. Whilst on the subject of compost, it is a good idea, even in a small garden, to set aside an area for composting kitchen waste. My article linked here explains how easy it is to produce  compost and organic liquid fertiliser. It is better, organic and a lot cheaper than buying feed for your plants. Organic growers mix 20 percent by volume of well-rotted manure into the lower half of the soil.
Choosing Pots and Containers. Any container can be used for growing vegetable plants. Tupperware, large cans, tubs or raised beds. As long as it's easy to handle and has enough depth. The minimum depth should be about 18 inches to allow space for root growth. Purpose made containers are fairly cheap to purchase and even cheaper to make yourself from timber, breeze blocks even old tyres. 

You might want to try growing in or making containers from  hay or straw bales.


Good drainage is important. If the container becomes waterlogged the vegetables will die. Drill or cut drain holes about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch from the bottom and add an inch of coarse gravel in the bottom. 


Seeding and Transplanting. If you have saved seeds from last season's harvest you will know how to sow them.  If not read the packet or go to my article sowing seeds. It's really that easy.  Always buy plants or seeds that suit your garden soil and shade or full sun. Choose disease-resistant varieties whenever you can.


Chemical free container gardening. Chemicals, even those labelled "organically acceptable" can cause more damage than good. Contact killers sprays often hit and kill other plants, chemicals to treat fungal problems can be washed into the soil killing the gardener's best friend, the garden worm. By carefully checking plants for problems like fungi. Before, introducing them into your garden and generally looking after them with correct feeding and watering, you need not become dependent on the use of chemicals.


Light and shade (the right Spot).  Nearly all vegetable plants grow better in full sunlight than in shade. So it is important to either choose the Right spot for the plant or the Right plant for the spot.

Fruit bearing plants like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes will need a lot more light, so position them in the sunniest spot.  

A few of the leafier vegetables grown for greens rather than for fruits or roots will grow in light or partial shade.  


Shade tolerant vegetables include  lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale and mustard greens. You may get smaller, thinner and paler coloured leaves when grown in light shade, but the taste will be the same. Shade tolerant vegetables

Try to avoid the use of chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilisers. Almost all chemicals kill plants and animals beyond those targeted. Work with nature rather than against it.  Organic gardeners want their plants to grow well, but not at any cost, instead accepting a certain level of imperfection.