Make the most of your patio space by filling your containers with edibles. Chard, kale, peppers, tatsoi and bok choy, herbs, lettuce and other greens thrive in containers. And what garden in complete without tomatoes! The bigger the pot, the better the yield.
No plot of land? No problem!
Urban gardeners have discovered that growing dinner on the patio outside your kitchen door is easily done. Here are a few ideas that will have you picking dinner all summer long.
Pots of herbs will flavor your meals singly or in combination, herbs add a touch of graciousness to your patio or deck—and to your meals. Oregano, marjoram, dwarf basil, chives, parsley, sage, and thyme are a few kitchen herbs that can be started by sprinkling about a dozen seeds in a medium sized pot. To grow large-leaf basil, fill a large container—at least
25cm in diameter—with soil mix, sprinkle 6 to 8 seeds on top, and lightly cover the with the soil mix. Thin to 3 or 4 plants.
You’ll have pesto in no time! Combine vegetables with herbs. Pair herbs with vegetables and you’ll have a meal in a pot. Here are five all season edible combinations to try:
• Patio tomato with dwarf basil and chives
• Red-ribbed chard and parsley
• Lacinato kale underplanted with oregano
• Pepper or eggplant, combined with thyme
• Sage, with edible nasturtiums
Grow a pot of peppers
Peppers, particularly smaller-fruited varieties, grow well in pots. By the end of the season they will be so colorful and beautiful, you may be reluctant to harvest them. Use a generous-sized pot of 20 cm or larger, and be prepared to support your plants as they grow tall. Some may need staking, others will be fine without it. A few varieties to try: compact bell peppers, or fun specialty varieties such as habanero (or mild habanero), Thai peppers, or Italian frying peppers.
Tomatoes need space!
You can grow tomatoes in container. The single most important imperative for growing tomatoes in pots: pots need to be large, at least 20 litres. For detailed information on soil, varieties, and care, see our article Growing Tomatoes in Containers at ezfromseed.org.
Asian vegetables are tasty, and attractive too.
Asian greens, such tatsoi, mizuna, and red mustard, are fast growing and tasty. Sprinkle seed about 2.5cm apart and cover with soil. Harvest individual plants or cut the leaves as
baby greens. Seed bok choy in a large container and thin to 15cm or more, depending on the variety. Add the thinnings to your salad.
Plant containers with lettuce; follow up with flowers Lettuce is the ultimate container vegetable—easy from seed, fast growing, and delicious. Sow lettuce seeds about 2.5cm apart and cut baby greens when they are about 10cm high, or thin to 15cm or more to allow them space to grow into big beautiful heads. When your lettuce has run its course, sow pollinator-friendly flower seeds, such as nasturtiums, dwarf cosmos, or zinnias, in their place.
Home Garden Seed Association