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Container gardening tips for small spaces

Plant a container garden for pick-your-own summer produce

Pink flowers, round and rectangular potted plants fill a small wooden balcony

There is nothing quite as satisfying as picking a sweet, juicy cherry tomato from the vine or snipping lettuce right into a salad bowl. Fortunately, even small spaces can host a veggie garden, provided they get six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

The best containers for container gardening

While you can plant in everything from clay pots to paint buckets, there are a few modern options worth trying. Self-watering containers are a great invention, especially if you plan to travel in the summer. The Nest from Crescent Garden, for example (shown below), features a self-watering system that only needs to be refilled every two to six weeks, depending on conditions and plants.

If you’re concerned about space, portable fabric containers are a great solution. These lightweight, permeable pots come in various sizes and can help produce strong root systems in plants. Best of all, containers like the Smart Pot can be emptied and folded away for winter.

Man and little girl look at self-watering vegetable garden in a commercial space 

How to start your container garden

To get started with any container, fill it with potting soil formulated for vegetables. Look for patio varieties of beans, peas, tomatoes and peppers; these types of plants are more compact and perfect for pots.

Plant seeds like peas and lettuces outside, but start heat lovers, like tomatoes, indoors. You can also purchase seedlings from nurseries—they’ll have had a head start in a greenhouse.

What to plant: in early spring

  • Members of the brassica family: brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli
  • Root vegetables: beets, carrots
  • Salad greens: spinach, lettuce, mustard
  • Peas

What to plant: in late spring

  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers

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Image credit: iStock.com/Sohl and Crescent Garden