Unless you’re determined to compete with Taber’s corn production, gardening in a pot can even be preferable to planting in the ground. “Containers are amazing for everyone,” says Donna Balzer, author of the bestselling book No Guff Vegetable Gardening and a regular expert-guest on CBC radio. “Many places in our yards aren’t ideal for growing, such as under trees with large root zones.” That, she says, can pose a problem even when a vegetable garden is 20 feet from the tree (“roots find a way,” she says, somewhat ominously). A pot, on the other hand, can be moved to an optimal growing location in the yard, expanding a garden’s real estate.
A container’s portability also makes it ideal for growing anything that needs a lot of heat — plants heat up more quickly in pots than in the ground — or has other special needs. If you’re trying to grow coralle fuchsia, for instance (and why wouldn’t you be?), you’ll need warmth and shade. “Fuchsias are so charming but they require a weird combination of conditions,” says Balzer. It’s a rare yard where such ideal ground is available exactly where you want it, but a pot full of fuchsia can be transported to its happiest place. Likewise, lowlight-thrivers such as hostas, begonias and astilbes can be planted in containers and placed under trees where they’ll thrive in the shade and remain out of reach of hungry slugs.