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I live in a condo complex in zone 8a, and I can have potted plants on a patio area.

What I'm planning on growing: Tomatoes, Peppers

What I'd like to grow as well: peas, green beans, strawberries.

Potential plants that sound like fun: Carrots, spinach, lettuce.

In this USDA zone, is it possible to grow these plants. If not, are there any recommendations on what plants can be grown?

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    Is your question about growing peas and beans or about growing strawberries? – Niall C. Feb 24 '15 at 20:20
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    Hello and welcome to the site! As it stands, your question is a bit muddled and doesn't match the title. Perhaps you could clarify: what you would like to grow? – Stephie Feb 24 '15 at 20:33
  • @NiallC. Could it be both? I'm more trying to get info on container gardening and what can be grown. – CBredlow Feb 24 '15 at 20:33
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    Great soil, greater drainage, watering deeply only when dry, a little fertilizer...you should be able to grow peas...beans, strawberries with incredible results! Easy to provide support...peas especially need support...you will get a far better crop than without. Doesn't have to be huge, just wire/string to get them off the ground and to be layered to take the best advantage of the sun. Actually going vertical will help you get the most crop! – stormy Feb 24 '15 at 20:52
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Let me give you my experiences on container gardening. It is by no means complete and you will always have to consider the plants' demands on sun, water and nutrition, container gardening is not much different from "regular" gardening in these aspects.

  • Strawberries are very easy to grow in window boxes.
    We have been doing this for years now. What I like best is that there is usually no trouble with slugs and not having to bend down to harvest is definitively a plus. There are breeds with rather decorative flowers (white to dark pink) on the market that pair well with other blooms.

  • Not all beans need support but if your heart is set on runner beans, you can make a "teepee" by pushing a stake in each of multiple pots and tying at the top. Did this as a kids project on a balcony and it worked. Be sure to have rather large pots and perhaps place a large stone in each as this construction can become quite top-heavy - and choose a place sheltered from wind.

  • Peas can be grown in pots, too, use either a small teepee like described above in a large pot or a large window box with a strip of mesh fencing (they come in quite decorative designs) or a few strips of wire propped up in it.

  • All short-term veggies are good, typical beginner plants would also be radish or spinach, salads greens/lettuce, but not during the hot summer months, because lettuce hast difficulties germinating in hot wheather and the plants will often bolt or start to flower which makes the leaves tougher and more bitter; better harvest as babyleaf in summer. Everything "Baby-..." or "Mini-..." is worth looking into. There are often varieties that have been especially breed for container gardening. Check with your local gardening store or online.

  • Think visual appeal, too. Swiss chard for example comes in "neutral" green or in bright colors. There is no rule that veggies and flowers don't mix. Think three-dimentional: A climber like runner beans will have plenty of room at the base of the pot... Think outside the box (or "pot", in this case), be creative with what you choose as planter, especially if it is only for one summer. I assume you will be using your patio as well?

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The answer is yes, you can grow all these things as potted plants in zone 8a. Carrots however may not grow as well, since you are trying to grow a taproot to eat. You may wish to consider larger than ordinary container with vertical walls so the carrots don't grow up to the sides of the pot. I am not sure how much carrot produce you will be able to produce in a patio, but it would be an interesting experiment. Perhaps you could try parsley instead, which is a carrot, but one you eat the top rather than the root. With enough parsley plantings you could have a sustainable tabouli farm for yourself :)

  • Actually, parsley is not a carrot. Same family though. :P For containers, Paris market carrot is probably the direction I would turn. – J. Musser Feb 25 '15 at 11:25
  • well that's like saying chimpanzees and humans are not apes because an "ape" is a species species, however Ape is also the common vernacular name of the family "The great apes" which includes, us, chimps, bonobos AND actual apes and the proper name for all of us is homonid. Same with Carrots and Apiums (the type genus of Apiaceae). Calling them all carrots is the same as calling all homonids apes despite homo sapiens being the type species. It's just common vernacular. – Escoce Feb 25 '15 at 17:15
  • It isn't common vernacular where I'm from - which is fine with me as it's incorrect. – J. Musser Feb 25 '15 at 18:14

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