By High Mowing Seeds
Photographs courtesy of High Mowing Seeds
If you’re gardening in limited space and plan to grow only a few vegetables this year, these are the ones to choose. By planting in large 3-5 gallon containers, using good quality potting soil, watering regularly, and fertilizing monthly, you can easily harvest fresh greens, cucumbers, eggplants, summer squash, peppers and tomatoes all season long – and you only need six containers to do it. These varieties also do well in raised beds, for those growing in tight outdoor spaces.
Top 5 Vegetables for Containers
1. Redbor f1 kale is one of the best varieties for small spaces, with a compact habit and exceptionally high yields that will keep you "eating more kale" all summer! Just 24-26" tall at maturity, the diminutive plants put out new leaves at an impressive rate and are excellent for either baby or full sized leaves. Performs well in both heat and cold; an excellent variety for overwintering. 55 days (full size).
2. Boothby Blonde cucumbers thrive in containers, producing heavy yields of smaller-sized fruits. The 3-5” cukes have unusual creamy yellow skin and sweet, delicate flavor. This heirloom variety from Livermore, ME was recently recognized by the Slow Food Ark of Taste as a historic variety in need of preservation. 63 days.
3. Little Finger eggplant is a superb container variety with heavy yields of slender, petite 3-6” fruits. The dark purple skin of these serving-sized eggplants is thin and tender, and the flesh is silky and mildly sweet – delicious grilled. Our earliest eggplant is prolific and will keep producing all summer long. 60 days.
4. Benning's Green Tint summer squash is a bushy plant that produces abundant yields of light green patty-pan type fruits. The attractive saucer-shaped squashes have scalloped edges and are best harvested at 3-4” in diameter, when their flavor is nutty and sweet. Delicious grilled, or hollowed out and stuffed with your favorite filling. 52 days.
5. Purple Beauty peppers always steal the show with their beautiful glossy black skin and contrasting bright green flesh. The plants are sturdy and compact, with a heavy fruit set in the crown and on each branch for exceptional yields per plant. Widely-adapted to thrive in many different conditions. The 3-4” fruits are extremely early and have thick, juicy flesh. 55 days purple, 75 red.
Top 5 Tomatoes for Containers
Whether you're growing on a rooftop, porch, patio or fire escape, it’s essential to choose the right tomato varieties when growing in containers. The ideal varieties to choose are either determinate or semi-determinate – which means that they have a more concentrated fruit set and compact habit. It’s also best to look for varieties that start producing early – so you can get the most out of your containers – and those that are productive, reliable and disease-resistant.
Make sure your containers are big enough – 3-5 gallons is the minimum – and that they have holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage. Also keep in mind that semi-determinate (and sometimes even determinate) varieties will probably need a cage or stake to provide support once the plants are about 24” tall. With regular watering and monthly fertilizing, you can grow a bumper crop of tomatoes just about anywhere that gets at least six hours of sun.
1. Red Racer f1 tomato is an All-America Selections winner, favored by gardeners for its exceptionally early maturity and great tomato flavor. The 2-3" saladette-sized fruits offer big flavor in a little package. The plants are determinate, meaning that they will produce an early, heavy flush of flowers and fruit, and appreciate a trellis or support but don't require it. 57 days.
2. Moskvich is beloved for its impressively early yields of deep red, 4-6 ounce fruits with rich, luscious flavor. This Russian heirloom tolerates cool conditions and produces high quality, crack-resistant fruits that rival hybrids. A semi-determinate variety that will produce an early, heavy crop of fruit and continue producing all season. 60 days.
3. San Marzano produces heavy yields of classic processing tomatoes when trellised in a container. These 4-ounce fruits are juicy and plump with exceptionally rich flavor and crack-resistant skin. This indeterminate variety is a classic canning and freezing tomato. An excellent choice for preserving your summer harvests through the year! 80 days.
4. Marmalade f1 produces perfect large orange slicing tomatoes. The slightly flattened 8-10 ounce fruits are firm and unblemished – and just as sweet as red tomatoes! A unique variety bred by Dr. Brent Loy of the University of New Hampshire, produced on the High Mowing Seed farm and available exclusively from High Mowing. A semi-determinate variety that will produce an early, heavy crop of fruit and continue producing all season. Resistant to fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt. 78 days.
5. Indigo Rose offers the best of both worlds – an exotic edible fruit that grows on a beautiful ornamental plant. Clusters of six to eight firm, 2-ounce fruits ripen to jet black with red undersides and aromatic flavor. The plants are vigorous and disease-resistant with a compact habit and purple-tinged foliage that is absolutely stunning in ornamental plantings. Indigo tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin. A semi-determinate variety bred by Dr. Jim Myers at Oregon State University. 75-80 days.
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By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs
Photographs by Pamela Crawford
Pamela has written a great article about mixing herbs in containers. Herbs are natural companions with different textures for interest. The herb mix of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme offers lots of flavor from a small combination loaded with textural interest.
To learn more, click here .
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