What are the Best Edibles for Sunny Patio Containers?

“What is the best produce to plant in containers on a large patio that gets a lot of sun?” Question from Jennifer of Telford, Pennsylvania.

Answer: The key to choosing great vegetables, herbs, and fruits for container gardening is selecting compact varieties and/or planting in containers that are large enough to support your vegetables through the season. Then it’s all about getting your potting soil, fertilizer and watering regime right. I suggest you read our useful article “Succeed with Container Vegetable Gardening“. It covers everything you will need to know to grow a bountiful container vegetable garden, in addition to plant suggestions. But, I’ve added a few more below.

Compact Vegetables and Herbs

The article suggests: “Smaller is generally better when it comes to plant size. When growing in containers, compact varieties are better suited to pot culture. Determinate, or non-vining bush tomatoes, are better than full-vining indeterminate types. Pick classic bush tomato varieties like the red slicers, ‘Mountain Merit‘ and ‘Celebrity‘, both AAS winners.

Other great bushy veggies (that are typically large vines) include little cucumbers, such as ‘Bush Pickle‘, and space-saving squash, such as the small butternut ‘Butterbush‘ and zucchini ‘Fordhook‘.”

Of course, compact peppers, lettuces, bush peas, carrots, and beets are easily grown in pots as well as many compact herbs.

Compact Fruits

Several melons are short-vined, making them perfect for containers. A good cantaloupe to try is the very compact ‘Minnesota Midget‘, and ‘Bush Sugar Baby‘ is a short-vined watermelon suited to container culture. ‘Little Baby Flower‘ is another somewhat compact watermelon that I grew in a pot last season with great success

You may also consider tiny bush fruits, like the super dwarf blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries offered by Bushel & Berry. If your patio is large, you can even set aside some big pots for dwarf fruit trees. Click here to learn more about growing dwarf apples, and click here to learn more about growing dwarf patio peaches.

I hope this helps!

Happy edible container gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist