Shallow soil container gardening*


Please name some vegetables I could grow in a shallow (5-6″) container garden. The soil is good, it’s a sunny location, ample water, but it’s not deep and I can’t change this. Are there any vegetables — aside from various lettuces and spinach? What about onions? radishes? small potatoes?


Unfortunately, your situation will not lend itself to growing root vegetables or onions and potatoes, as you suggest.  A depth of 5-6″ is way too shallow to support the growth of such plants. Most vegetables require a depth of at least 8-12″ and a capacity of 2-5 gallons. Potatoes particularly need plenty of space to grow. Plants with deep roots will be stunted and unhealthy if they don’t have adequate space.  It sounds like your containers will not meet this requirement so it probably is best if you stick to plants such as spinach and lettuce that are shallow rooted.  You might just get away with growing globe shaped radish.  To add variety try growing green onions, Swiss chard,  kale and peas.  Remember “green” vegetables are good for you.

Many gardeners like to grow herbs in containers. Try your hand at growing herbs like basil, parsley, mint and sage. Herbs grow very well in pots and can be used to enhance the flavour of food.  You can raise herbs from seed or buy small plants from the garden centre. You may be interested in our Gardening Guide on: Growing Herbs