Whether you’re short on garden space, live in a city apartment, or only have a small deck or patio, you can make the most of container gardening to grow some delicious produce. In this article, we will be sharing ten of the most popular and easy-to-grow patio plants that you can eat.
This list will give you an idea of what might be best to grow in your situation, as some edibles are better suited to grow in pots and containers than others.
So let’s take a look!
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10 Easy-to-Grow Patio Plants that You Can Eat
Tomatoes are a popular choice for growing in pots on a patio or balcony. Not only are they easy to grow, but they can also be a whole lot of fun – especially once they start setting fruit. At this stage, you can watch the trusses of developing fruit grow bigger each day.
However, before choosing tomatoes for your patio garden, there are a few key things to consider. First, they need a large pot or container to grow in. Even if you choose a dwarf variety, the container will need to be at least 12 inches deep, but preferably deeper.
Second, you’ll need to provide staking or a tomato cage for support once the plants begin to grow bigger. Tomatoes grow fast, so it is best to add support at the time of planting. And third, tomatoes don’t like the cold, so you’ll need a warm sheltered spot that gets between 6 – 8 hours of full sun.
Herbs make another great choice for patio plants that you can eat. In addition to being edible, many herbs produce attractive flowers that will brighten up your outdoor space.
Once again, the size of the container you grow them in is important. Many smaller herbs don’t develop huge root systems, so you can get away with a pot between 6 to 8 inches deep. However, for larger herbs, you’ll need one that is around 12 inches deep. As a rule of thumb, choose a container based on the size of the fully mature plant.
Handy Tip: You can also combine multiple herbs in one pot or planter. Just remember to match them with ones that like the same growing conditions.
Some well-known herbs that grow well in pots are parsley, chives, basil, coriander, and mint. Others include sage, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, and rosemary.
3. Salad greens
Salad greens such as lettuce, baby spinach, and rocket thrive in containers and are super easy to grow. Adding these edibles to your patio garden also gives you the benefit of crisp salad leaves right at your doorstep whenever you need them.
Salad greens are best grown from seed. You can plant them in small pots, troughs, or planter boxes that hold a depth of at least 4 to 6 inches of potting mix.
For cut-and-come-again salads, you can either stick with loose-leaf lettuce varieties or experiment with mesclun salad blends. Salads grow best in partial sun, and the soil must be kept moist.
Strawberries are simply one of the best patio plants that you can eat. Not only are they delicious, but they also look great in your garden with their colorful flowers and fruit.
While these berries grow well in almost any container or planter box, they do best in a strawberry jar or planter. Strawberry planters are those tall urn-shaped pots with openings or pockets down the sides. They allow many plants to grow in one pot and make an attractive addition to your container garden.
Of course, once your strawberry plants begin to develop fruit, you’ll need to protect them from birds and pests such as slugs that will try to beat you to your tasty crop.
Beans are another easy-to-grow choice for pots or containers and require a sunny, sheltered position. There are two main types of beans to consider for this purpose: Bush beans and pole beans.
Bush or dwarf beans don’t need any support and grow up to two feet tall. They start producing pods ready for harvest in about six weeks, which is quicker than pole beans. However, they have a short growing season and have to be harvested almost all at once.
Pole or climbing beans grow up to eight feet tall and require a trellis or staking for support. They also grow bigger roots, so you’ll need a pot or planter box that holds a depth of 8 to 9 inches of soil. Pole beans take a little longer to start producing but have a longer growing season. And their bright flowers make an attractive feature.
Like beans, peas make an excellent addition to your patio garden or balcony. They are quick and easy to grow, and this is a good thing because you just can’t beat the taste of freshly picked peas!
You will need to provide some kind of support for them to grow up. But if you’re already considering growing beans, you could combine the two.
The three types of peas you can grow in pots are English peas, snow peas, and snap peas.
Peas have shallow roots, so you can use a pot or container that is 8 inches deep. You can also use troughs or rectangular planters, such as window boxes, and select one that is at least 20 inches wide.
There are many different types of peppers, from chili peppers to sweet bell-shaped peppers, and they make the perfect patio plant that you can eat. The key is to start them early in spring, so they have plenty of time to grow and produce during the summer.
Peppers need a warm, sunny spot in order to thrive. So if you live in an area that gets late frosts, start your plants off indoors in small pots, and transplant them outside into bigger pots once the weather warms up. They also need room for their roots to grow, so the ideal container size for most peppers is 9 to 12 inches wide and 12 to 17 inches deep.
Cucumbers are another fun plant for patio growing and can be successfully grown in pots. However, it is important to choose the right type to get the best results. The two main types are bush cucumbers and vining cucumbers.
If you don’t have much space, select a bush variety. These are more compact and grow up to three feet long. If you choose a vining type, remember that they like to spread, so they are best trained up a trellis or vertical wires.
Cucumbers need a large container for their roots to spread. Pick one that holds about 5 gallons of high-quality potting soil, and plant one plant per pot. Select a bright sunny spot for your plants and water them consistently as they don’t like to dry out.
9. Zucchini and summer squash
Zucchini and summer squash are easy to grow in containers and look great on a patio, deck, or balcony. They are fast growers and quick to harvest. Just one plant will provide an abundant harvest throughout the summer.
When deciding on which variety to grow, you’ll want to select a bush variety as these are more suitable for growing in pots. Squash and zucchini have large roots, so they need a big container to grow in. As with cucumbers, you can use a 5-gallon bucket for each plant. But if you can find a bigger container at least 12 inches deep, all the better.
Zucchini and summer squash are hungry plants, so you’ll need to feed and water them regularly if you want them to grow and produce well. Position the container in an area that gets at least 6 hours of full sun.
Lemons deserve a spot on our list of patio plants that you can eat. While they require a little more patience and effort to grow, they are well worth it for their fragrant flowers and soft yellow fruits. And they make an attractive feature too.
When growing a lemon tree in a pot, it is important to choose the right variety. The Meyer dwarf is an ideal choice because it doesn’t grow as big and can tolerate cooler climates. However, other varieties can also do well in pots, provided the pot is big enough.
In conclusion, we hope this list has given you some ideas and inspiration on the best edibles to grow in pots and containers. So if you’re short on garden space or only have a small balcony or patio, you can still enjoy the benefits of growing some of your own produce.
Steve is a passionate gardener and particularly loves growing vegetables. His interest was spurred at eight years old while helping his parents take care of their extensive yard, lawns, and vegetable garden. Over the years, his childhood interest grew into a lifelong passion. Read more »