Container Vegetable Gardening: What to grow
A surprising number and variety of food crops can be successfully grown indoors, so it is not worth wasting effort on those which cannot develop efficiently in containers. Unsuitable vegetables include root crops such asand , which need considerable depth below ground, and plants of the brassica family – such as cabbages and Brussels sprouts – which need a broad area above the . Cooking are also excluded from this method of cultivation, though you can grow salad onions plentifully in all seasons.
It is important not only to select the right types of vegetables, but also to select the varieties best suited to indoor growing. Not all garden vegetables will adapt to indoor conditions but new cultivars are being developed all the time, including dwarf plants which produce excellent crops but are intended for growing in restricted space.
The vegetables described individually in later sections of this site have been proved suitable for indoor cultivation through my own experience of growing them; the size and the flavour of each crop are all you would wish from fresh home-grown produce. I have recommended the named cultivars which I have found particularly successful. This is not to say these are the only types which you could grow indoors; cultivation of plants, like all things, has developed to some extent through trial and error. If you find these named cultivars are not available when you need them, study seed catalogues carefully to find varieties of comparable size and growing requirements. Seed suppliers often indicate plants suitable for containers and for indoor growing, and may be prepared to give advice as to the best choices. Some garden cultivars do prove adaptable, however, so it is worth experimenting with small sowings if you have enough space and the enthusiasm to risk a failure.
Having considered what you can grow, think carefully about what you want to grow. There is great fascination in watching a plant develop, flower and produce its fruit, and the less familiar varieties may represent a challenge, but do not be tempted to grow things that you will not eat. It is best to grow what you know you will use, in quantities that you can use while they are still fresh. Make a list of the vegetables that you cook with most frequently, and your preferences among the salad crops. Eliminate those which cannot be grown in the indoor garden and plan your container growing by reference to this list. Check container sizes and light requirements of the individual plants, so that you can estimate the area they will occupy.
Obtain a good selection of seed catalogues from reputable growers -you can find addresses in the advertisement sections of weekly or monthly gardening magazines – which provide descriptions and colour photographs of the vegetables, as well as much useful advice on growing. Mail order service is usually highly efficient, so you can order your full range of seeds and will not have to wait long before you can start cultivation. If you have a well-stocked garden centre locally, you will also find a number of the recommended varieties among the pre-packaged seeds on sale there.