Sunday, February 9, 2014

Surprising veggies that can be grown in pots

Zucchini and petunias in a pot

Sunday, February 9, 2014

There are so many new varieties out every year.  There are ones that are more resistant to disease.  Ones that have higher nutritional value.  Ones that produce more.  Ones that have improved taste.  Ones that are developed for their small size and big harvests for those of us who have limited space or just want to get more for the effort.  It is amazing what can now be grown in pots!

We hear a lot about Monsanto and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and crop breeding can seem a bad thing.  The difference between GMO’s and other types of crop breeding is that GMO’s bring in genetic material from other organisms in a lab, like bacteria and even viruses.  The plants are engineered so that they kill insects that try to eat it.

That is only one side of the plant breeding story.  There are many other natural, with a little help, breeding of crops today.  It can be as simple as saving of seeds from the best producer of last year.  There are also hybrids which take the best traits of two different parents into seeds.  These hybrids will not produce seed that you can reuse next year and get the same vegetable as the parent.

Heirlooms and open pollinated vegetables will produce “true” to seed.  The offspring will be like its parent.

Through the centuries, farmers have chosen the traits they like and have built on them from season to season.  This has given us Brandywine tomatoes, Vidalia onions and Jalape├▒o peppers.  Yum!

Today there is much interest in urban and small space gardening.  There are many new varieties every year.  Here are some I have run across that I had not expected:
Watermelon-Bush Sugar Baby, Sugar Pot
Basil-Summerlong
Blueberry-Top Hat
Bush Bean-Any
Cantaloupe-Honey Rock, Minnesota Midget
Pumpkin-Small Sugar
Corn-On Deck Sweet Corn
Cabbage-45 Day Golden Cross, Parel, Caraflex
Cilantro-Calypso is one of the most heat tolerant
Corn-On Deck Hybrid
Cucumbers-Bush Champion, Spacemaster, Salad Bush, Miniature White, Picklebush, Mexican Sour Gherkin, Patio Snacker
Eggplant-Patio Baby, Black Beauty
Kale-Dwarf Blue Curled Vates
Parsley-Single Italian, Extra Curled dwarf
Peas-Easy Peasy, Half Pint, Any bush types
Pepper-Any, hot peppers thrive in pots
Tomatoes-BushSteak, Patio Princess, Bush Early Girl, Tumbler, Bush Big Boy, Baxter’s Bush Cherry, Lizzano, Sweetheart of the Patio, Tumbling Tom Yellow, Bush Better Bush, Balcony, Fresh Salsa Hybrid (look for bush/patio/container types)
Carrots-Caracas, Short ‘n Sweet, Little Finger, Tonda di Parigi, Parisian, Thumbelina, Touchon, Parmex, Mignon (look for short types)
Radish-Cherry Belle
Zucchini-Bush Baby, Yellow Crookneck, Eight Ball, Cue Ball, Golden Delight, Anton, Patio Star, Giambo, Astia, Raven, Patio Star, Cosmos Hybrid (look for bush types versus vining types)


This is just a few of the many compact varieties available today to grow in small spaces and containers.  Just look for terms like "compact", "dwarf", "container" in the descriptors.  Many on line seed companies also have a section dedicated to container varieties.

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