Choosing Vegetables and Planters for Your Edible Garden – Southern Patio

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whiskey barrel planter with tomato plant

By:  Chelsea Lipford Wolf

Growing vegetables in containers is great for a variety of reasons. But not all vegetables are ideal for planting in containers. Here are a few that THRIVE in containers (and why) so you can try them in your yard!

Control Bugs, Moisture, and Sunlight

The overall top benefit of growing anything, whether food or flowers, in planters and containers is the control of natural elements. Bugs can’t spread as fast from crop to crop if the crops are separated in containers. If you do see a bug infestation that’s eating your plants, it’s easier to treat them one planter at a time.

Proper drainage is essential for many, many plants. Very few like soggy bottoms always sitting in water. So, having a container with drainage holes means the excess water will be pulled away from your plants’ roots between watering. If your planter doesn’t come with pre-drilled holes, no problem! Use a 1/4” bit on your drill to add one!

And since planters can be moved, if it turns out a plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, or it’s getting too much sunlight, you can simply pick up the pot and move it without disrupting the plant’s root system.

Limitless (and Limited) Growth

Tomatoes are the most recommended type of vegetable to grow in containers! They like deep soil because deep root growth means they’ll produce more fruit for you to harvest!

Using a whiskey barrel planter gives them plenty of room to grow. And since it’s made with resin, it starts out lightweight, making it easy for you to place it right where you want it!

whiskey barrel close up

They will need a little support, so plan to add stakes or a tomato cage as it grows taller and heavier with tomatoes. (Watch this video for more tips on growing tomatoes in a whiskey barrel.)

On the opposite end of a tomato’s limitless growth is growing herbs, like mint. Mint is invasive and could quickly take over your entire garden. So, planting it in a container is the perfect way to limit its growth and keep it in check.

Containers Add Interest

Planters and containers come in so many colors, textures, and sizes. It’s a great way to add visual interest to your yard or deck. So much variety is a treat for your eyes and your plants!

But they also add room for plants where there may not have been room before! A Railing Planter (24” Sonoma in Terracotta pictured) is perfect for small-space gardening. It sits right on top of the handrails of your deck or porch and gives you ample space to grow squash, herbs, or many different types of lettuce!

railing planter

Other Vegetables to Consider

In addition to tomatoes, herbs, and squash, salad greens like Swiss chard, spinach, and arugula do well in containers because they don’t require much room and don’t produce deep roots. They also grow fast! So, you’ll be able to enjoy them in the kitchen in no time.

And for many of the same reasons, peas and peppers grow well in containers too! Some peas have climbing vines and will eventually need support like tomatoes. But the bushy varieties thrive in containers without support

With all the varieties of sweet and hot peppers available, your garden is sure to be colorful this summer! Jalapenos, chilis, and bell peppers each do well in containers with plenty of watering. Choose one or choose them all!

The best part of growing your own vegetables is you don’t have to leave home to enjoy fresh produce!


Check out some other planter project ideas!

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How to Choose Plants for a Planter