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How big should a container be for growing vegetables?

I planted some tomatoes in the spring time, in some 10 inch pots. They grew, but remained pretty small. I was told it was because the pot was way too small. Now I want to plant some broccoli, cauliflower, and romaine lettuce. How big of containers should I have? I live in an apartment complex, and only have a small porch! Would five gallon buckets work? Also, I was wanting to grow some radishes. If I got a long rectangular box, about 10 inches deep, 10 inches wide, and 30 inches long, would it be big enough? Radishes interest me because they are so quick to mature. Thanks!


  1. Five gallon buckets would work for the bigger plants - like tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, etc. (Don't forget drainage holes!) Lettuce and radishes you can plant in small pots, or window boxes that are shallow - as they don't have deep roots.
  2. Hello--------I am a Certified Master Gardener. There is a book about "Square Foot Gardening" you may be interested in. Five-gallon containers will work for broccoli & cauliflower, as long as you put only ONE plant per container. Romaine lettuce needs mostly shade, and can be put in windowboxes. Your idea for the radishes is a good one-----GO FOR IT! Obtain a package of OSMOCOTE general purpose fertilizer and apply according to package instructions. It is the best on the market. I have used OSMOCOTE on my plants since 1986. I sincerely hope this helps. PAMELA J.
  3. The radish project sounds doable; the cole crops and romaine will need more growing space than that... 5 gallon buckets may be about right (10 gallons for tomatoes, unless you grow the patio sort). Have you considered growing by setting seedlings through a bag of potting soil? Just lay the bag down flat (2 cu ft is a good size) and poke a few drainage holes on the underside. Cut slits in the top through which you can poke seedlings, and a slightly bigger slit to insert a "funnel" for watering (the individual sized bottled water bottles are great for this... just cut off the bottom and you've got an instant funnel. And no weeding!
  4. A lot of our garden was in containers this year due to some construction in our yard. Five gallon buckets are the minimum size for tomatoes and other heavy feeders such as broccoli. We tossed some left over broccoli plants in a five gallon bucket, four to be exact, and they grew OK but didn't flower very well, so we didn't get any yield from these plants. What you are proposing for the radishes should work fine. Visit our website for more container gardening information at- http://www.gardening-at-the-crossroads.com/container-gardening.html Good Luck and Happy Gardening from Cathy and Neal!