What to plant in large pots?

MDutton(6a)February 25, 2013

Hello! Let me start off by saying that I am a long-time lurker, first time poster. I planted my first container/balcony garden last year, and am currently planning for this year's garden. This forum has been hugely helpful, and I've gained a lot of knowledge by searching the forums. :)

My husband brought home two large "cast stone" (?) pots from Sam's Club this weekend... If I've calculated correctly, they hold about 18 gallons each.

Last year, I attempted to grow indeterminate tomato plants in 5 gallon buckets... We harvested about 6 decent tomatoes. I'm fairly certain the pots were entirely too small for indeterminate tomatoes, and our summer was just too darn hot.

This year, I'd like to try tomatoes again, in these 18-ish gallon pots. Can I plant an indeterminate in these? Or should I stick with a determinate? If I plant a determinate, should I plant just one per 18 gallon pot? Or could I perhaps plant two in one pot? Or perhaps some tomatoes and basil in one pot?

What other things could I plant in these large pots? I'd like to try some zucchini or eggplant, but I'm not sure what size pot would be right. I'd hate to plant something small in such a large pot... As I am growing on the balcony, I'd like to be as efficient as possible with the space I have.

Any other suggestions for container vegetable gardening are welcomed with open arms!

Thanks in advance for your help!


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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Malaya: if you're right about the size -- about 18 gallons -- you could grow one tomato, either indeterminate or determinate; two eggplants; or two to four peppers, depending on how large they grow. I grow one indeterminate heirloom beefsteak tomato each in 20- and 25-gallon pots. They will need a hefty cage or staking system.

The most important consideration is that the pots must have good drainage and the potting mix you use must drain well.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Indeterminate tomatoes love a lot of space so large tubs would be good for them. 5 gallon pots are good for smaller dwarf determinates.

Check out this thread for pepper container size:

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:43AM
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Many thanks, Ohiofem! That definitely puts things into perspective. I'm fairly certain 18 gallons is correct... My husband says closer to 15 to be on the safe side.

Do you have any recommendations for zucchini in containers? I know that "bigger is better" in most cases, but perhaps you've had luck with a certain size. I've heard 5 gallon buckets "work", but from what I've read, it seems like they wouldn't be wide enough to support the plant.

I am also currently reading through old posts on the forum re: potting mixes, particularly A's 5-1-1 mix. I'm a little intimidated, but I think I'll give it a shot. I'm hoping it will be more cost-effective than bagged mixes. As soon as the snow melts here in Kansas City, I'm going to put in some calls and see if I can find the materials. Not sure how I'm going to mix the quantity I need in our apartment... My husband has already told me the bathtub is off-limits. ;-)

pretty.gurl, Thanks for the suggestions! I'll be checking out that link for peppers... I didn't have luck with them last year, but I'm on a mission to try again!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

The last time I grew zucchinis, they were in the ground. The plants were so huge and the zucchinis so numerous, I felt like it was the plant from the Little Shop of Horrors. Just the thought of zucchinis still makes me queasy. So, I don't know, but I would guess they need big pots.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:22PM
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