13 Container-Grown Vegetables For Small Spaces

Before I had a homestead, I had a community garden. And before that, I had a south-facing balcony where I started as a gardener through container gardening. Even today, I choose to grow some small herb containers on our deck as it’s such an efficient technique.

Container gardening makes gardening accessible for the smallest of homes and allows for portability. It can also be done cheaply or even free, depending on what you have lying around.

What Is Container Gardening?

Vertical wall garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Container gardening involves growing plants in containers rather than directly in the ground. This method offers flexibility, making it possible to garden in small or unconventional spaces such as balconies, patios, decks, or even windowsills.

A wide range of containers can be used as long as drainage is created, including traditional pots and planters made of plastic, ceramic, terra cotta, or wood. Gardeners often repurpose everyday items such as 5-gallon buckets, garbage bins, cloth bags, or even IKEA bags to serve as plant containers.

These unconventional containers provide ample space for root growth and can be easily customized or moved to optimize sunlight exposure and plant health.

Companies have responded to the demand for small-garden and micro-homestead tools by creating stacked towers that often allow for the cultivation of a few hundred plants with in a tiny footprint.

Container gardening allows for creative experimentation with different types of containers, offering a practical and accessible way to enjoy gardening in various urban or limited-space environments.

Peppers

Peppers growing in the three pots.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Peppers, particularly dwarf or patio varieties, are well-suited for container gardening. For optimal growth, choose a container with a depth of 12-18 inches and a diameter of 12 inches. Peppers prefer full sunlight and well-draining soil. Regular watering and occasional fertilization are essential for healthy plant development and abundant fruit production.

Eggplants

Eggplant growing in the pot.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Eggplants can thrive in containers, especially compact varieties bred for small spaces. Select a container with a depth of 12-18 inches and a diameter of 14 inches to accommodate root growth. Eggplants require full sunlight and well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Regular watering and occasional fertilization promote healthy growth and bountiful harvests.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes growing in the container.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Tomatoes thrive in containers, especially determinate varieties, which are compact and suitable for small spaces. A container with a depth of at least 18 inches and a diameter of 24 inches provides ample room for root growth. Ensure proper drainage and use a sturdy support structure for the plant as it grows.

Tomatoes require full sunlight and regular watering to produce healthy fruits.

Read More: 15 Secrets To Growing Killer Tomatoes This Season

Lettuce

Lettuce plants growing in the pots displayed outside.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Lettuce is an excellent choice for container gardening, as it doesn’t require much space to grow. A shallow container with a depth of 6-8 inches is sufficient for growing lettuce varieties. Place the container in a location with partial shade, especially during hot summer months, to prevent the leaves from wilting. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged for optimal growth.

You can grow a cut-and-come-again lettuce garden all summer long with succession planting in very little space.

Herbs

Five green pots of herb plants displayed outdoors.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro thrive in containers, making them ideal for small spaces. Choose individual pots with a diameter of 6-8 inches for each herb to prevent overcrowding. Herbs prefer full sunlight and well-draining soil. Harvest frequently to encourage new growth and prolong the growing season.

Peas

Green peas growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Peas are suitable for container gardening, especially dwarf or bush varieties. Select a container with a depth of at least 8 inches and a diameter of 12 inches for optimal root development. Peas require full sunlight and well-draining soil. Provide support for climbing varieties and water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

Learn More: 20 Veggies & Fruits You Should Grow Vertically

Pole & Bush Beans

Pole beans grown in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Both pole and bush beans can thrive in containers, with bush varieties being more compact and suitable for small spaces. You can grow hundreds of bush beans in something like a tall tower garden in the smallest of spaces. I’ve grown pole beans on my balcony up a simple trellis.

Choose a container with a depth of 8-12 inches and a diameter of 12 inches for optimal growth. Beans prefer full sunlight and well-draining soil. Provide support for pole varieties and water regularly to ensure healthy growth and abundant harvests.

Recipe: Rustic Green Bean Soup {Mahuna}

Potatoes

Harvested potatoes placed on the ground.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Potatoes can be grown in all sorts of containers, including garbage bins and IKEA bags, making them ideal for small gardens or patios. Use a large container to accommodate potato plants.

Plant seed potatoes in the container and gradually add soil as the plants grow. Potatoes require full sunlight and well-draining soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and provide ample space for root development.

Recipe: German Potato Salad

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes growing in the pot.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Sweet potatoes are well-suited for container gardening, especially compact varieties bred for small spaces. Choose a large container with a depth of at least 12 inches and a diameter of 24 inches for optimal root growth. Plant sweet potato slips in the container and provide ample sunlight and well-draining soil.

Water regularly and harvest when the vines begin to yellow and die back. Don’t forget that the leafy greens are also edible.

Recipe: Golden Glow Soup Recipe

Cucumbers

Three young cucumber plants growing in pots.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Cucumbers can thrive in containers, especially compact or bush varieties. Select a container with a depth of at least 12 inches and a diameter of 18 inches for optimal growth. Cucumbers require full sunlight and well-draining soil.

Provide support for climbing varieties and water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.

Learn More: How To Grow Cucumbers In Raised Beds {Complete Guide}

Radishes

Man gardener picking radish from vegetable container.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

I always say — stick some radish seeds into it. The smallest spaces can accommodate these fast-growing crops, which will be ready to eat in 25-30 days from direct sowing.

Radishes are well-suited for container gardening, as they have shallow roots and don’t require much growing space. Radishes prefer full sunlight and well-draining soil. Keep the soil consistently moist for best results, and remember that the leafy greens are edible, too!

Learn More: 16 Fastest Growing Vegetables For Quick Harvests

Turnips

Turnips.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Turnips can thrive in containers, especially compact varieties bred for small spaces. Select a container with a depth of at least 12 inches and a diameter of 18 inches for optimal root growth. Turnips require full sunlight and well-draining soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and harvest when the roots reach the desired size.

Arugula

Young lettuce seedlings growing in the wooden box.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Arugula is an excellent choice for container gardening, as it grows quickly and doesn’t require much space. For optimal root development, choose a shallow container with a depth of 6-8 inches.

Arugula prefers partial shade, especially during hot summer months, to prevent bolting. Keep the soil consistently moist for best results and harvest frequently to encourage new growth.

Grow Vertically & Maximize Space

Heavy fruits supported by sling.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: 20 Veggies & Fruits You Should Grow Vertically

Most Nutritious Foods You Can Grow

Woman in boots gardening.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: 22 Most Nutritious Foods To Grow In Your Garden

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