You Can Successfully Grow Herbs and Vegetables in a 12″ Pot
This is number four in our Planting Depth series. Once you get to planting in 12 inch containers, the possibilities are pretty much endless!
Anything that can hold soil and water is a good candidate for container gardening. Your choices are unlimited. Today I planted some potato starts in a laundry basket! Punch holes in the bottom for drainage and you have an instant 12 inch planter.
Look for wooden tubs, old riding boots, milk cans, hanging baskets and fancy ornamental pots. You can choose the size, shape and cost to fit your needs and desires.
12 inch pots can handle tall plantings like fruit trees and blueberries.
When planting in pots you need to follow a few simple rules.
- Make sure you use a light enough soil (not clay based)
- Water frequently – in the summer that will mean daily and on hot days it may mean twice a day
- Use organic fertilizer at least once a month
- Re-pot with new soil each year
Planting Depth – What Can You Grow in a 4″ Pot?
Planting Depth – What Can You Grow in a 6″ Pot?
Planting Depth – What Can You Grow in a 8″ Pot?
Typical Container Materials
- Plastic – Pro: Inexpensive, holds moisture. Con: break down over time in sunlight.
- Terracotta – Pro: good drainage, allows air movement to root zone. Con: dries out quickly, may crack in winter.
- Fiberglass – Pro: long-lasting, lightweight, and no evaporation from sides. Con: expensive.
- Metal – Pro: long-lasting, holds moisture. Con: Rusts (except aluminum).
- Wood – Pro: allows air movement. Con:Susceptible to rotting, loses moisture quickly.
What Can you Grow in a 12″ Container? A LOT!
Which Vegetables Grow Well in Pots?
Beans: Bush varieties like ‘Provider’ and ‘Derby’ are the best. You can try growing three or four of these plants in a 12-inch pot.
Beets: Any variety grows well in a pot, and smaller varieties like ‘Red Ace’ even grow well in smaller pots. Make sure your pot is big and deep enough (at least 12 inches); beets don’t like to be crowded. You should end up with about six plants in a 12-inch pot — more if you’re growing them for greens or will pick them as baby beets.
Carrots: Carrots are a perfect vegetable to grow in a pot. Start with baby varieties like ‘Little Fingers’, ‘Short ‘n Sweet’, or ‘Thumbelina’. If you water them diligently, you can get a bumper harvest in pots as shallow as 6 to 8 inches deep.
Cole crops — broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and so on: All the cole crops grow well in containers as long as your pots are big enough. You can try planting three or four plants in a half barrel.
Cucumbers: Plants dangling over the edges of a hanging pot are something to behold. Plant large-growing varieties in bigger pots and slip a sturdy wire cylinder into the outside edge of the pot for the plants to climb on.
Eggplant: An eggplant’s purple foliage and compact habit are perfect for any container that is at least 5 gallons. Plant one eggplant per 5-gallon pot. Push a small stake into the pot to support it.
Lettuce and other greens: Lettuce and greens may be the ultimate container vegetables. The size of your pot doesn’t really matter — just sprinkle some seeds in it, keep the soil moist, and then get out your salad bowl for a great harvest.
Melons: Some dwarf melons, like ‘Bush Sugar Baby’ watermelon, grow well in containers. Plant one to two plants in a big pot (at least 5 gallons) and let the vines sprawl over the edges, supporting the fruit if necessary. And don’t let up on water and fertilizer.
Onions: Green onions grow well in containers. Just buy a bag of sets, plant them 2- to 3-inches deep, and you’re in business. You can grow onions to full bulb size; just make sure that you use a big pot (preferably 5 gallons) and give them plenty of room to grow.
Peas: Go with dwarf pea varieties like ‘Green Arrow’ and ‘Maestro’, English peas, ‘Sugar Bon’ snap pea, or ‘Dwarf Grey Sugar’ snow pea. Any variety larger than that needs a trellis. Planting six plants in a 12-inch pot should be fine.
Peppers: You can grow any pepper variety in a pot, but the bigger the pot the better. A 5-gallon pot should hold one to two plants.