Planning your kitchen garden - what grows in containers?

Date posted: 14 May 2014

Here on the Gardening Tips Blog, we want to share some insights into how you can plan and grow productive, rewarding kitchen gardens. There are a number of factors to consider, ranging from choice of plants to types of containers, and these decisions will be governed by your palate and the positioning and size of your available gardening area.

Grow things you like

The best advice for anybody planning a kitchen garden is to choose plants they will enjoy eating that enjoy being grown in containers, pots or small plots. This is important because all gardens require some care and will be hard to maintain your motivation tending a chilli plant if you don’t like chillies yourself! In this series, we will focus on plants that can be grown in containers and pots, as this approach will have the widest appeal. So let’s look at the options from which you can choose your favourites.


When it comes to growing vegetables in pots and containers, we are in luck because most of them adapt very well to confined conditions. However, to get the most from your small space, choose high yielding or high value crops that produce abundant output.

We suggest choosing between:

  • tomato
  • capsicum
  • eggplant
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • bush marrow
  • zucchini
  • pumpkin
  • rhubarb
  • most leafy greens
  • carrot

You should be able to make a selection from that list to benefit your kitchen.


It is rare for a kitchen gardener to overlook herbs. Herbs add colour, flavour and nutrients to meals and the aroma produced when cooking them will reward your for the weeks and months of preparation and maintenance you will have applied to your crop. All herbs can be grown in pots, including the Bay Tree. However, it is prudent to grow perennials, like mint, separately while grouping annuals, like basil and coriander, together in one large pot. For your herb garden, you will be looking for a sunny spot close to the kitchen door.


If you think herbs are rewarding for kitchen gardeners, then fruits are the jewels in the crown. Luckily many fruits grow well in pots and containers, particularly those with compact root systems. The odd ones out include many of the stone fruits and pear trees on pear roots because they quickly outgrow containers making the enterprise unviable.

Some of our suggestions for fruits in your kitchen garden include:

  • dwarf peach and nectarine
  • apples on dwarfing root stocks
  • pear on quince rootstock
  • quince
  • loquat
  • passionfruit
  • brambles
  • berries
  • citrus on trifoliata or ‘Flying Dragon’ rootstock
  • avocado
  • olive
  • pomegranete
  • cherry
  • guava
  • feijoa
  • fig
  • mulberry

I bet you could taste them as you read through the list!

So, take a look through the lists and create your short list or wish list for kitchen garden candidates. Next time, we’ll look at container selection.

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