Grow a beautiful and bountiful container vegetable garden on your patio by following a few of my design tips.

With careful planning, you won’t have to choose whether your small patio is used for growing food or for relaxing and entertaining.

vegetable garden on deck using containers designed by shirley bovshow


You can do both!

I presented on this very subject on the Home & Family show recently where I appear as the garden design expert!


Have you watched “Home & Family” on the Hallmark Channel?



Follow these basic rules to grow a successful container vegetable garden.

1. Select a sunny spot

  • You will need 6- 8 hours of full sun exposure to grow vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants.
  • 4-6 hours is satisfactory for most herbs, lettuces and greens.


Metal trough used as container for vegetable garden cucumbers tomato herbs Foodie Gardener blog

Buy a stainless steel trough, add drain holes and use as a garden container


2.  Use the right containers

When it comes to container size for growing vegetables, bigger is better!

Select a container that’s at least 18 inches in diameter for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and add a support cage at planting time.

We used troughs measuring 4-feet by 2-feet wide and 12-inches deep on the show and it held two large vegetable plants and an assortment of greens and herbs.

The troughs were placed in the sunniest position on the deck and I staggered the height of the troughs behind each other.



patio with container vegetable garden and entertaining sitting area foodie gardener

By elevating each trough slightly more than the trough in front of it,  it had access to the sun without being blocked.


Herbs and lettuces grow well in containers 8 inches and larger although you can get away with smaller ones.

I found a stackable planter at the dollar store for a dollar each.


stackable planters filled with burpee home garden herbs foodie gardener

Take a look at this adorable stacked herb planter placed on a table.

It was only $3 dollars!



Other details to consider:

Choose a lightweight container over a heavy clay pot.

Clay pots are attractive but dry the soil faster by wicking moisture away from it.

Choose containers that complement your outdoor style and color palette.

super sauce tomato variety by burpee home gardens with large tomatoes container on casters foodie gardener

Use plant caddies  that have casters so you can move your large containers around your patio or deck as needed.

Portable container gardens are practical and allow freedom of movement.



 3. Select the right vegetable plant variety

Look for vegetable varieties that are labeled “compact” or “dwarf,” that are developed for container growing.

Burpee Home Gardens has developed a line of compact growing vegetables that I used in the patio garden seen in these photos.


cherry tomatoes growing in metal trough with salad greens foodie gardener


Select smaller tomatoes such as “cherry” tomatoes  over huge beefsteak varieties, and opt for “determinate” tomatoes versus “indeterminate” tomatoes which can grow over 10 feet tall!


Cute cucumber by burpee home gardens compact bush full size cucumber foodie gardener


The “Cute Cucumber” from Burpee Home Gardens is a small plant but the cucumbers are full-sized!

Look for “bush” cucumbers and bush beans instead of vining ones.

Tuck in herbs such as thyme, oregano and basil with your vegetables to maximize use of space.




4. Water regularly or add drip irrigation

Soil in containers dry faster than in the ground so if you can’t water on consistent basis, add a drip irrigation line.

Keep your soil moist but never over-water your plants or allow your soil to remain soggy.

Over-watering  is #1 killer of plants!

5. Fertilize your plants regularly

Container plants need a steady supply of nutrients during their growing period.



burpee home gardens gardner and bloome tomato vegetable herb fertilizer foodie gardener


Use an all-purpose, organic vegetable fertilizer and feed according to the instruction schedule.

Container plants depend on you for food since they can’t tap into a deep source of nutrition with their limited soil.

6. Arrange your vegetable containers with style!

Who says that you can’t use your vegetable plants as ornamental decor on your patio?

Vegetable plants are beautiful when they are in flower and when they are in fruit.

Place a stylish planter full of your favorite herbs on your outdoor coffee table.



shirley bovshow container vegetable garden with tomatoes cucumbers burpee home gardens grow vegetables on your patio home and family

Foodie Gardener, Shirley Bovshow


I swear that your friends who are not “into” gardening will find your patio vegetable garden irresistible!

Your patio will smell delicious, look appetizing and you’ll be very proud of your bounty!



Enjoy a closeup view of the vegetables in our patio container garden!



I'm known as "EdenMaker," as well as a "Foodie Gardener" on the web, but you can call me "Shirley" anytime!When I'm not eating or growing my own food, I'm busy designing gardens and producing garden TV shows!When it's time to cook, I ask my family, "What country do you want to visit tonight?"Thank God for WeightWatchers, most of my fruits and veggies are "0-Points." Some of you know what I'm talking about!

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.