If you think you can’t grow your own food because you live in the city, don’t have a yard or have a serious lack of space — prepare to have your mind blown. Thanks to container gardening, it’s possible for urbanites and apartment-dwellers to take part in the grow-your-own-food movement — even when space is at a premium. But gardening in containers goes way beyond cherry tomatoes and coffee cans filled with herbs. From a bountiful harvest of strawberries to guacamole-ready avocados, here are 10 surprising crops you can grow at home — no garden required!
Yes, you can grow your own guacamole maker’s right in your own home. Since avocado trees can grow up to 80 feet in height, for your indoor or container garden, look for dwarf varieties. You could also try starting your own avocado plant with a pit, but Gardening Know How cautions, “A plant produced from a seed is less likely to produce fruit, but it will make a lovely tree.” They also recommend using a stake to keep the avocado tree straight and its main stem sturdy. And when the tree outgrows its pot, transplant it to a larger container.
To find out more about indoor avocado plant care, visit Gardening Know How.
Fresh strawberries right at home is a dream come true with the proper lighting and soil. In fact, the strawberry plant is perfect for planting in something like a hanging basket because it doesn’t require a lot of space and it grows just as well in a container as it would in the ground. Ever-bearing varieties produce fruit in the summer and again in early fall.
Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, fiber, and alpha and beta carotenes. And, it’s not only the root that’s edible, you can also eat the fern-like foliage. Carrots grow best in light, sandy soils and full sun.
Growing cucumbers indoors can ensure you have a never-ending supply of cucumbers. They do need plenty of water and full sun to ensure they are healthy. Also, look for varieties that are better for containers. According to Grow It Organically, “although most varieties of cucumbers grow well in containers (as long as they’re at least 5-gallon size!), bush cucumber varieties are bred for compact vines, and are less rangy on decks and in small-space gardens.”
5. Green beans
Green beans are a yummy, healthy and easy veggie to grow in a container. When purchasing your seeds, remember there are two main plant types. There are beans that grow as vines (usually referred to as pole beans) and bush beans. For indoors, the bush beans will take up less room and do better in containers. Another consideration is lighting — green beans need at least six hours of sunlight every day. If that’s not an option in your space, a grow light would work as well.
6. Salad greens
Salad greens are probably the easiest and quickest to grow in your small space. Gardener’s Supply Company says that a sunny window is the best spot to put your salad greens container garden, preferably a south-facing window. The company sells a Mobile Salad Garden cart that is practical and adorable. It’s on wheels so you could even roll it out onto a deck or balcony.
7. Garlic greens
Growing garlic plants indoors is an easy and delicious way to have a healthy ingredient at your fingertips. The garlic greens taste like scallions but with an added garlic flavor. You can use them in any recipe that calls for garlic or scallions.
From Rodale’s Organic Life: “To grow tasty garlic plants, all you need is a 4-inch pot (or a quart yogurt container with some drain holes poked in the bottom), a small bag of organic potting soil, and a saucer or tray to set the pot on to catch drips.”
There are few flavors as delicious as freshly picked peas. My girls love to eat them raw from the pods, so having a fresh supply year-round would be a dream. And fortunately, it’s possible — the Empress of Dirt discovered how well peas grow indoors by accident.
9. Jalapeno peppers
The best peppers to grow in containers are smaller chili peppers, which is perfect for anyone wanting to add a little spice to your recipes. They grow well indoors and will produce fruit for more than five years if tended correctly.
Radishes are super easy to grow, quick to sprout and ready to eat in only four to five weeks. The site Quarto Knows recommends when selecting a container for growing your radishes, chose a “narrow, rectangular pot to mimic the way that radishes would grow in the field. They need to be at least a few inches apart for adequate growth, so putting them in a long container will create a nice row that’s also visually appealing.”