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Begin a Container Garden! (part one)

May 28, 2010

Container Gardening: Pre-planting

Site Analysis

Before you begin planning your container garden be sure that you receive enough sunlight on your porch/ patio to grow vegetables.  Most vegetable, especially those that produce edible fruit such as peppers and tomatoes, require a lot of light.  Root crops can tolerate some shade, while leafy vegetables would do well with shade.  At least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight are needed by most plants for optimal growth. 


Plant List

Think about what vegetables you like to eat.  Almost any vegetable can be grown in a container, with enough space and care, but some vegetables adapt to container culture better than others.  The following is a list of recommended vegetables to get you started.    






Chinese cabbage



Green onion









Swiss chard




Plant Varieties

Once you have decided on which vegetables you want to grow, it’s important to know that different varieties of these vegetables will be better suited for growth in a container than others. 

A few tips:

1. Search through good seed catalogs for suggestions of vegetables for growth in containers. 

  • High Mowing Organic Seeds specialize in only organic seeds.  The catalog is available on-line and a site search of “container” will show 12 vegetables recommended for container growing.  Visit their website at Locally, High Mowing seeds can be purchased at The Shop at Phipps and the East End Food Co-op.    
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds offer over 300 varieties of organic seeds.  Johnny’s catalog is available on-line and is coded with suggestions for vegetables that grow well in containers.  Visit Johnny’s at
  • Burpee has an on-line catalog with 12 varieties of vegetables recommended for container use including varieties of tomatoes, peppers, basil and eggplant.  Burpee also offers some organic seeds and products.  For more information, visit

2. Use the chart of Suggested Vegetable Varieties for the Midwest and decide which variety you would like to grow.  Locate and order seeds for these certain varieties.  (This may be more difficult and may require purchasing seeds from multiple sources!)  

Begin a Container Garden (part 2).

For inspiration check out the container garden at Phipps!

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