container sizes for growing vegetables small medium large explained edenmakers blog

Container Sizes For Growing Vegetables: Ask Shirley Garden Questions

by / 3 Comments / 3013 View / February 4, 2015

Growing vegetables in containers makes growing food accessible to most people, even those without a yard.

I answered gardening questions from viewers of the Home & Family show on the Hallmark channel recently in my "Ask Shirley" gardening segment.

Teresa Martin of Oklahoma wrote:

I've seen container gardening and want to know how much dirt do you need to grow veggies?
Does it matter? What can you grow in containers?



You can grow lots of vegetables and herbs in containers!


Healthy and prolific vegetable plants need the proper soil, sun exposure, water, and nutrients.

When you grow vegetables in a container, I would add that they need the appropriate space for roots to spread and take up nutrients and water.

Planted in the ground, plant roots are able to spread as much as needed but they are confined in a container.


Here's an example of what you can grow in a small, medium, and large container.




Vegetables for Small Containers (8-10 inches)


I made containers for herbs from white plastic microwave bowls from the Dollar Store: just poke a drain hole!


You can grow most annual, non-woody herbs in a small, 8 to 10-inch container.

This includes basil, cilantro, thyme, lettuce, and other leafy greens.

Mint doesn't really need a deep container as much as it needs a container with a wide surface area for its creeping roots.


The soil in small containers tends to dry quickly, so check it frequently.

Plastic containers retain moisture longer than terra cotta pots.




There are plenty of "compact" variety vegetable plants that have been developed that grow well in a medium-sized container.

You can grow a single broccoli, cauliflower, compact cucumber, small shishito peppers, or multiple leafy greens in a 14 to 18" diameter container.



"Patio Baby" is a compact growing eggplant variety.




Large containers can house a single, indeterminate tomato with support cage, an artichoke plant, squash, or any large growing vegetable.



Plant a strawberry patch in a large container with enough space to run!


If your vegetable needs a trellis, install at planting time or you risk injuring the plant roots when you add it later to the container!




If you haven't visited my Foodie Gardener blog,  please subscribe to it for information about how to grow food with style!


Read answers to other "Ask Shirley Gardening Questions."

3 Comment

  1. Can you please tell me what brand of soil (in your opinion) is best for growing tomatoes or cucumbers in large containers outside? Last year I used Miracle grow and seemed to have a lot of gnats. I also have had problems with rot spots on my tomatoes.  I was told it needed calcium. Any ideas?

  2. HI Colleen,

    Thanks for commenting. The orange planters that hang from the rail are Greenbo containers.
    See more at

  3. I really like the bright orange container that appears on the Container sizes for growing vegetables page of Eden Makers blog. Can you tell me the brand name?  Thanks!

Your Commment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin