6 Root Vegetables You Can Grow in Containers - Backyard Boss
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6 Root Vegetables You Can Grow in Containers

No matter what time of year you want to garden, growing in containers is a convenient, low-maintenance option. Though containers are ideal for a number of herbs and lots of vegetables, root vegetables grow well in pots since it is easy to control the climate. On top of that, sustaining nutrient levels for growth and harvesting are much simpler.

While root vegetables need plenty of space to grow, large containers or buckets do the trick. Not sure where to start? Learn all about the best root vegetables to grow in containers, along with tools you’ll need and a short breakdown of the step-by-step directions.


Photo series about growing potatoes in containers on balcony, patio or terrace: 8. Harvest the potatoes by carefully separating them from the soil.
Image credits: Agenturfotografin via Shutterstock

Container gardening is a great option for growing winter potatoes. Taters generally prefer temperatures around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but the tubers grow in soil temperatures of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so they are ideal for fall and winter planting. To grow potatoes in a container, you’ll need a large bucket, bag, or container with drainage holes.

Place the container in a sunny spot (or install grow lights if necessary) where they’ll get six to eight hours of light a day and fill the container three quarters of the way with sandy, loamy soil. Add your seed potatoes, cover them in soil, and continue to water and hill them. Once the leaves begin to yellow, stop watering and harvest the spuds a week later!

Pro Tip: Potatoes are a plentiful harvest so trying growing this crop from itself! Growing potatoes from potatoes is a great way to reuse those kitchen scraps.


Onion with sprout planting in room. Sprouted onion bulb on windowsill in winter. Green onion growing at home. Selective focus
Image credits: MarinaTr via Shutterstock

For easy, year-round access to one of the most commonly used vegetables, grow your onions in containers! With that said, they are a cool weather crop, so it is best to plant them in early spring. If you’re just growing scallions, you can use a gallon sized container, but a 5-gallon container that is six inches deep with drainage is best for growing mature onions.

Place the container in a location that receives 12 hours of sunlight per day and fill with a light, soilless planting mix. Plant your onion seeds or sets (small onions for planting) three inches apart, and one inch deep with just the tips poking out the soil.

Keep the soil moist with one inch of water per week and nitrogen fertilize twice a month. When the foliage begins to turn yellow, the onions are ready for harvesting in about a week!


close up of radish in ground
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Radishes are incredibly easy to grow, making them the perfect option for a low-maintenance container plant. They are cool weather crops, so it is best to plant in either spring or fall. The plants thrive in small spaces and have shallow roots, so a container of any size will work.

Fill the container with well-draining potting soil and a bit of compost and plant your seeds about a half inch deep. Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist. Check on them regularly and harvest when the roots are less than an inch in diameter. Summer radishes generally need three to six weeks to grow to maturity, while winter radishes need between 10 and 12 weeks.


Freshly harvested carrots
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When growing carrots in containers, you need a container that is about 12 inches wide and deep. Pick your favorite variety and in about three to five months you’ll have a constant supply.

Plant in fertile, well-draining soil and water regularly to keep the soil moist. One the stalks are about three inches in height you can use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to give them a boost.

Harvest the carrots when their growing period ends and store them in the fridge, freezer, or cans.


growing garlic planted in a peat container
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Garlic is another root veggie ideal for growing in a container because you can easily control the soil quality and drainage, two things essential to the health of the plant.

Start by filling a large container with high quality potting mix and then insert your garlic cloves into the soil with the pointy side facing up. Place each clove about 3 inches apart.

Keep the garlic in at least six hours of sun each day and regularly check the soil to ensure it is moist. After about nine months, the leaves should begin to turn brown and it will be time to harvest your garlic. You can harvest garlic when it is immature (titled “wet” garlic) and use it immediately, but mature garlic stores for longer.


Beets on a window sill
Image credits: Jill Wellington via Pixabay

If you want to grow beets in containers, you’ll need a large pot that is about 10 to 12 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. It is best to plant in spring after the last predicted frost and continue planting every three or four weeks until the end of summer for a continuous harvest. Fill the pot with high quality potting soil mixed with well balanced fertilizer.

Then, plant the beet seeds about an inch apart and cover with a half inch of soil. Water regularly to keep the soil moist, and once you see seedlings develop, water only when the top inch of soil is dry. Thin the beets, keeping only the strongest seedlings about 1 to 3 inches apart. You can still eat the beets you removed.

Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, add more fertilizer and follow with water. Harvest the beets when they are about 1.5 inches in diameter but do not allow them to become larger than 3 inches as this changes the flavor.

Rooting For You!

No matter the season, you can easily grow these root vegetables in containers. And since root vegetables generally take a few months to reach maturity, you’ll free up garden space for other crops! With the right patience and tools, you’ll be harvesting scrumptious veggies in no time.

Do you have any tips for growing root vegetables in containers? Share in the comments below!