Friday, December 14, 2012

Great little veggies for small spaces

Egyptian walking onion in a pot



Friday, December 7, 2012


It appears winter is here.  Before we know it, spring will be rolling back around!  Some seeds can be started 8-12 weeks before your first frost date.  This is January/February in our Zone 6 garden.   It will be here before you know it!

Winter is the time for dreaming of what you are going to plant and harvest next season.  I have already started getting seed catalogues!

If you are just starting out and have limited space, look for descriptions like “patio”, “compact”, “great for pots”, “container”, etc.  Here are some recommendations for your garden.

Greens-Pak choi or Toy Choy Pak Choi, arugula, leaf lettuce like Oak Leaf (for cut and come again harvests), Little Gem lettuce for whole heads, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale, Orach, Dazzle lettuce, Tennis Ball butterhead, Gala mache, Space Hybrid spinach.  The list goes on and on!

Onions-I grow Egyptian walking onions in a pot.  You can use the bulb for cooking and the tops as chives.  Chives and garlic chives are also great for small spaces or pots.

Beets-any.  I plant these around my pepper plants.

Carrots-get the short ones like Atlas and Parisian.

Celery surprisingly does very well in a pot by itself.  It loves water so I would keep it by itself.  Chard as well.  Chard comes in beautiful colors, too, so you can plant them in your flower bed as an ornamental that you get to snack on.

Cucumber-Bush Champion, Spacemaster, Rocky, Lemon.

Eggplant-All I have tried in a pot grows well.  For flavor, I think the White Egg does very well and does not get bitter in the hot days of summer.  Other small varieties include Fairy Tale, Gretel, Hansel, India Paint, and Thai Purple Blush hybrid.

A word about hybrids.  If you want to save seed, hybrids will not come back true to the “mother” plant.  You will want open pollinated or heirloom varieties for seed saving.  The strength of hybrids is that they have been bred to withstand different common diseases.

Green beans-go for pole beans and use a trellis so they grow up.  If you don’t like removing the “string” that some green beans have, look for “stringless.”  We discovered a new variety we really liked from a Dienger Farms-an Italian flat green bean.  I looked up Italian pole green beans and I found the variety Roma, Supermarconi, and the yellow Bean Marvel of Venice, Bean di Spagna Bianco.  May have to try one of these this year!  Produces right up until frost.  The great thing about beans is that they make nitrogen so they fertilize the soil.  I plant petunias in the same pot.

Pepper in pot with petunias
Peppers-I have found that hot peppers do great in pots.  I plant one pepper type per pot.  Sweet peppers, like Bell, do best in the ground.

Summer squash - Bush Zucchini, Lunar Eclipse/Sunburst, Piccolo, Small Wonder Spaghetti squash.

Winter squash-Acorn or butternut.  Plant where you are okay with them running on the ground or train them up a trellis.  You will get about 2 per vine.

Tomatoes-look for patio or container types.  Varieties like Balcony Patio Princess, Balcony, Tumbler, Lizzano, BushSteak, Tumbling Tom to name  a few.  Bush types are also great for small spaces-Early Girl Hybrid Bush, Big Boy Bush, Baxter’s Bush Cherry.

Couple of seed finding tips-you can do a seed search at Mother Earth News.  Here is the link:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/find-seeds-plants.aspx 
You can also get a listing of seed companies at Mother Earth News to see where they are located and what they sell (organic, biodynamic, heirloom, etc.).     

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