Growing edibles in planters


Hi, due to space limitations, we can’t grow any vegetables/fruits/herbs in our yard. I heard there was a movement to create “edible” planters. We have planters at our front door that we change with the seasons. Can you help suggest how/what to grow in the planters that would be edible, but still attractive as front door planters (have height, colours, etc.). My home is south facing in Toronto with 16” planters. Thanks


You can grow just about any edible that will grow in the garden in a 16-inch container as long as you supply good soil, adequate water and drainage plus four to six hours of sunlight per day.

Good examples are green beans, hot pepper, and different varieties of lettuce, spinach, chard, green onions, chives, tomatoes and even strawberries.

For best success look for key variety descriptors such as compact, dwarf or pixie as these edibles have been bred for growing in small spaces. Some such as cucumbers, peas and beans will be good for training on a small trellis to give your design height. Also good for height are tomatoes and hot peppers or other small bushes producing berries.

You will need to water often, especially in hot, dry weather, maybe even twice a day.  Make sure you have adequate drainage in your pots. You may have to drill holes in the bottom of your planters or use liner pots with drainage holes. You have likely already dealt with this if you have been growing annuals in the planters in past years.

Use your imagination to design your container gardens. Don’t crowd them too much as vegetables need room for roots to grow and expand under the soil as well as above.  You could put a trellis in the centre or to the back of each pot or a tomato or hot pepper bush. Add lettuce or herbs such as basil, rosemary or parsley for texture and even add some edible flowers such as nasturtiums to trail down over the sides of your containers.  The possibilities are endless.

Good luck with this fun and healthy project.