Container gardens
Gardening Methods,  Plant

Easy Small Space Garden Ideas for Your Porch

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Container gardening is a great option for planting seeds that take up less space, grow faster and are easy to companion plant. How to plant vegetable seeds for a container garden is for the most part the same as in-ground methods.

Short on space? Start your small space patio container garden with these 10 easy to grow vegetable seeds

Below we will explore a few added benefits and drawbacks. 

Article points overview:

  1. Porch gardens
  2. Which seeds grow fast
  3. Planting seeds in pots
  4. What vegetables grow well together in containers 
  5. Which vegetables grow well in pots 
  6. Easy vegetables plants to grow in pots 
  7. What is the easiest vegetable to grow

Porch Gardens offer the perfect place to add an edible garden or privacy fence that isn’t permanent!

Porch gardens are often thought of as just for flowers, but throw that thinking to the wind and get wild! Grow peas or cucumbers on a trellis to provide shade instead of ivy. Or, try adding some bushy plants like beans or basil to make a edible privacy garden.

But when you add container gardening and porches together, you get a beautiful marriage of practical and beautiful!

Container gardening offers the ability to harvest fresh vegetables even if space is limited, a great option when a porch garden is what you have room for. Many seed varieties have been developed to take up less space, produce higher yields and even be open to sharing their space. 

Planting seeds in pots has a few benefits compared to direct planting

Starting seeds directly in pots can solve two issues making it a great time and energy alternative.

The first problem container gardening solves is the transplanting shock that young seedling undergo when being moved from indoors to their permeant outside home. Tender roots are broken while being pulled or convinced to let go of their seed tray. Even the most gentle hand struggles with delicately removing seedlings.

The second problem that can be avoided with planting seeds in pots is covering for temperature protection can so much easier than large in ground beds. Pots can be grouped together, covered with a sheet, shower curtain or individual plastic bags to keep cold from killing tender sprouts.

Planting in pots also means you can move around your containers for the best sun exposure. Sun loving or shade lovers are accommodated and return the favor with healthier plants.

The actual process of planting seeds in pots is no different than planting in ground. Check the back of the seed packet for depth and spacing. If you purchase container friendly seeds plant spacing is already adjusted on the packet to allow for closer spacing. You can always plant a few extra, let them sprout and thin out the less healthy sprouts.

Actually planting seeds will be something the seed packet lists for depth and spacing. There are far too many seeds out there to list individual depth and spacing.

A general rule of thumb: Plant seeds twice as deep and the seed is wide. So ½ seeds like zucchini needs to be planted 1 inch.

Tiny seeds like lettuce can be sprinkled on the soil and combed over with your hand. This will mix seeds with soil without planting too deep. 

Knowing which seeds grow fast can keep kids interested in growing a garden

Let’s face it, we all LOVE the seed planting part but we tend to loose interest as time goes by. Watering, fertilizing and weeding can leave you pretty “over” the whole garden planting thing.

So, in order to avoid gardener burnout, plant seeds that will grow rather quickly so you can harvest sooner. You could even mix it up and incorporate seeds that have several different maturity dates. This is called succession planting- where you stagger your harvest to avoid an over abundance of produce.

My friends over at Seeds Now have a great selection of seeds that grow fast in their category “fast growing seeds”. If you use this link it will take you right to their page. 

Top 10 fast growing vegetable seeds list: 

  • Lettuce
  • spinach
  • radish
  • summer squash
  • early tomatoes
  • peas
  • green beans
  • cucumber
  • zucchini
  • beets

These are seeds that can be ready in 45-60 days, that is harvest can begin in less than 2 months. These are the beginner gardener or space challenged gardeners go-to list!

check out my friends over at SeedsNow for their mature in under 45 days section for seeds. Here’s the link to SeedsNow website so they know I sent ya.

What is easiest vegetable to grow? 

Easy seeds are those that germinate quickly, require little mothering and still produce. Sounds to good to be true? Well it’s actually possible!

If all seeds were hard to grow, it would be hard to get newbie gardeners hooked. So do yourself a favor and try these easy-peasy veggies that can are happy to require little of you to get started.

See what I did there with PEA-sy? Okay I’ll beet it. I mean stop.

Remember when you were in elementary school and did a science experiment to start a seed and log the process?

The hands on experiment where you put a wet napkin in a hard under the kitchen sink. Every few days you would go check on the pea or bean seed to log the progress.

Turns out the reason your teacher chose a pea or bean seed is because they are one of the easiest seeds to sprout and grow!

The easiest seeds are generally chosen to ensure a successful germination and growth to peak children’s interest in how their food is grown. If kids can do it, then believe me, you can!

Easy seeds can include:

  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas

Vegetable seeds that grow well together in containers offer support and deter enemies

Many ask what vegetables grow well in containers but the simple answer is any vegetable! Anything can be planted in a container so long as ample space for roots, proper lighting and water routines are provided. Some vegetables benefit more from containers like the tomato.

Some vegetables will benefit more when grown in a container versus the ground. Tomatoes are commonly known for being targeted by bugs and disease.

Growing tomatoes in containers will keep soil born diseases out of your garden and save you a lot of headache! Bugs may still find your plants, such as the greenhorn worm which is the offspring of a grey moth. Mother moths lay her eggs on tomatoes leaves and hatchlings eat the tender leaves. It may sound like a sweet, natural process you would love to watch. But anyone that dealt with the green hornworm will tell you they wreck havoc on your garden overnight! Tomatoes can he planted with basil, which creates a symbiosis of companion plant benefits. The tomatoes is protected by the aroma of basil from many bugs, and the basil is given.

Fun fact: basil and tomatoes are great companions in the garden and kitchen. If you are new to companion planting a simple way to remember compatible container partners is to ask yourself, do they pair well in kitchen?

 Still want some direction on comparison planting? Aromatic plants like garlic, basil and onions can off putting for beans and tender plants. But can be helpful in small doses for tomatoes. Try these pairs to get started. 

Ready to get started? Here is a Garden Journal to help track of your progress and how your garden is doing through the season!

Check out my Etsy shop “The Exchange for Green” to find this planner and more!

Here are the top companion plant pairs for a container garden

Companion planting means growing two plants that offer protection or some level of benefits to one or both plants. This process is nature is also called symbiosis.

Plants that are prone to bugs or disease are often paired with a companion that repels bugs or aid in growth. Below is a list of the top container companion plants that will keep plants healthy and repel bugs naturally.

  • Tomato + Marigolds + Basil
  • Peas + Garlic
  • Beans + cucumber
  • Lettuce + carrots
  • Peppers + Tomatoes
  • Swiss Chard + Onion/Garlic

 If you want more on identifying and treatment you can read more here.

Easiest vegetable plants to grow in pots for a patio garden market that is conveniently close to you!

The best vegetables to grow in pots are the ones that are hardest to grow due to clay or sandy soil types. But don’t feel limited to seed varieties that specify for container gardening.

Yes, some seeds are modified to produce high yields in less space. However, any ole packet of seeds can be used so long as you adapt to the needs of your plant.

Here are some common easy container plants

  • Tomatoes
  • Mint or tender herbs 
  • Root crops like beets and carrots
  • Peppers- especially bush types
  • Leafy greens like: lettuce, swiss chard and spinach 
  • Vining plants like peas and cucumbers
  • Beans – bush or vine
  • Strawberries

As mentioned before, any vegetable seed can be adapted to container life. so long as adequate accommodations are given. Vining plants like peas and cucumbers would need a trellis to grow up, as would pole beans.

You could make a simple tri-pod with small limbs or PVC pipe and plant seeds in containers with the tripod “legs”. This is a wonderful idea to not only grow some healthy veggies but also create a shaded hide-out for kids or a bench.

If you grouped pots together and gave them a trellis it could become a shaded area for you or create a wall for privacy if you live in an apartment and only have porch room. 

Types of containers for a potted garden are easier to find than you think

Anything will do! The more creative the better! This is an excellent opportunity to repurpose the water can that now leaks. Or fill in old basket that are pas their prime but still offer sentimental memories.

Looking to reduce your trashpile? See what container gems can be found.

  • Tins can be painted, grouped and used for a lettuce bed.
  • Cut 2-liter bottles down and paint. Or leave clear to see root systems!
  • Stack old broken bricks and create a raised bed for vining plants to trail over.
  • 5 gallon buckets
  • Containers
  • Recycled items like baskets, wooden crates, tea kettles or mailboxes
  • Rubber tires
  • Garden towers with stacked pots like this roll around garden tower
  • Upcycles jeans! Yes, that right. Tie the ends of worn out jeans and fill with dirt them sit them around. It’s a thing now 🙂
  • Fish tanks. These can be any size and offer a great up close look at root systems.
  • Grow bags

Let’s take a closer look at some containers and whether they are good for your garden location. Space can be precious but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh vegetables in your patio garden.

Plastic plant pots

The most common because of the array of options they offer in size and color. These include 5-gallon buckets, storage containers, traditional flower pots or repurposed plastic milk jugs.

Pro: large selection, easy to clean and usually cheap making it a budget friendly option. Self-watering options to collect excessive water to give plants a drink slowly throughout the hot days.

Cons: heavy pots are hard to move and break on the rim easily when trying to relocate. Plastic tends to get hotter making watering more frequently a must. Become brittle and sun bleached with time.

Grow bags

Growing in popularity because options because they are made from canvas, offering a more eye pleasing design. You can grab this set of 8 Combo Set of Grow Bags for under $30 that comes with 4 regular and 4 bags with windows for potatoes or other root crops.

Pro: non-permanent garden solution for renters, apartments or even porch gardens! A much cuter design that has windows/roll up doors for easy access to root crops.

Cons: moving can be tricky when the bags are bigger/heavy to avoid plants being disturbed.

Recycled or repurposed plant pots

The cheapest route and a great opportunity for creativity! Literally anything that can hold some soil can be used. Old tea pots, pans. Fish tanks work great as greenhouses when turned upside down or just as is. Rubber tires can be stacked, painted and used for potatoes or as garden towers. Really the sky is the limit!

Pros: using what you’ve got to keep your budget happy AND the environment.

Cons: may be hard to find something you can (or are willing) to turn into a garden pot. Space may be limited to this “junk” may not be laying around.

As you can see, container gardening shouldn’t feel limited with options for seeds or pots. Look at planting your garden as a creative way to showcase what bins, boxes or containers you have to home a new plant.

Remember container gardening solves space issues, provides a variety of fast growing plant options and is perfect for any gardening level. 

I would love to see what crazy or cute containers you have used to home a flower or vegetable plant. Show me what you’ve got in the comments below 🙂

Still need some convincing to start a garden? Try this article for 5 reasons to start a container garden to sway your mind!

One Comment

  • Laura

    Now I’m looking for something I already have around the house to plant my seeds in. I did plant flowers in a white tea pot and haven’t found it since we moved. I’ll be looking for that too now. Thank you for the inspiration!

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