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Vegetable Varieties for Container Planting

By Kathi Thistlethwaite, Colorado Master Gardener

This is the fifth of a six-part series focusing on container gardening in Colorado.

How rewarding it is to grow vegetables at home! The July-August 2020 issue of The Garden Buzz newsletter focused on container vegetable gardening basics to guide gardeners in the use of pots, buckets, bags or vertical growing systems. The CSU Container Gardening Fact Sheet and the chart below can help gardeners purchase the proper plant varieties for the best container size. Varieties can be found at local garden centers or online seed companies. Whether using plants or growing from seed, the varieties are ideal for containers.

Photo: scrubbygreen
Name Container Size, Number of Plants Varieties
Arugula1 gallon, 2 plants Red Dragon Apollo Astro III
Carrot1 gallon, 2-3 plants. Use pots 2 inches deeper than the carrot length. Scarlet Nantes Little Finger Baby Spike Thumbelina
Cucumber1 gallon, 1 plant Spacemaster Salad Bush
Eggplant2 gallon minimum, 1 plant Black Beauty Long Tom Bambino
Green Bean2 gallon minimum, space plants 3 inches apart Topcrop (Pole) Blue Lake Kentucky Wonder
Green Onion1 gallon, 3-5 plants Beltsville Bunching Evergreen Bunching
Leaf Lettuce1 gallon, 2 plants Buttercrunch Romaine Mesclun
Pepper2 gallon minimum, 1-2 plants (Hot) Jalapeno Sweet Banana Padron
Radish1 gallon, 3 plants White Icicle Scarlet Globe
Spinach1 gallon, 2 plants Any cultivar
Squash3 gallons, 1 plant Bush Acorn Bush Crookneck Silver Bush Zucchini
Tomato3 gallons, 1 plant Patio Pixie Tiny Tim Saladette Toy Boy Tumbling Tom Small Fry
Turnip2 gallons, 2 plants Any cultivar
Herbs1 gallon, 3 plants. Can plant several different herbs in one container. Any cultivar

While this is an extremely condensed list of the many container vegetables available today, it will provide a good start toward growing vegetables in containers.

Photo: Tumbling Tom Tomato, quietcorner

When searching for other container-suitable cultivars, look for words like “bush, patio, dwarf, mini or compact” in the plant or seed description. Follow the instructions for planting and care.

Finally, choose soil specifically formulated for containers, and when growing from seed, choose a soil designed for seed starting. Both these mixtures are available at local garden centers and online.

Bon Jardinage!

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