One of the problems we all face in spring is that we eventually must limit what we can grow”‘”perhaps nowhere is this worse than inside greenhouses, where the space is confined by four walls. Seedlings have a shocking way of increasing exponentially in their needs–that tiny handful of seeds sprouts into a modest seed flat, then move in a fairly orderly fashion into small cells– but all of a sudden– once plants are ready to move into larger pots, space can disappear fast. And when they go outdoors, you may face new space constraints. So, let”‘””s take a look at some of the new space-conscious vegetable introductions available this spring.
Carrot “‘Round Romeo”‘”” forms petite, spherical roots that don”‘””t require deeply cultivated soil “‘”making them great for containers. Don”‘””t forget that root-crops like carrots and radishes are fun to plant with children; they love harvesting them!
Chard “‘Pot of Gold”‘”” Swiss chard has undergone some amazing transformations lately. Featuring lovely bright colors, many are deliciously mild in flavor too. This one stays compact; an excellent candidate for window boxes and smaller gardens, and its plentiful gold-stemmed leaves provide healthy, delicious eating late into fall.
Cucumber “‘Bush Slicer”‘”” bears 6-8″‘ long cucumbers in 55 days on disease resistant, dwarf bushes perfectly sized for small spaces and containers. If you”‘””re really cramped for space, consider growing cucumbers or tomatoes in the Topsy Turvy Upside-Down Planter,”‘ available from the National Gardening Association. (www.garden.org)
Eggplant “‘Little Prince”‘”” I grew this eggplant in large pots last year, and was completely charmed. An attractive, relatively compact plant with handsome felted leaves and lavender flowers, its abundant 4″‘ eggplants are a perfect size to split in half and throw on the grill.
Lettuce “‘Garden Babies”‘”” is a butterhead lettuce that forms cute little heads of tender green leaves, making them ideal for containers.
Scallion “‘Delicious Duo”‘”” combines two different scallion varieties, one purple and one green. In a small amount of space”‘”how about a window box?”‘”you can grow scallions to enjoy all summer, thinning as you harvest.
Tomato “‘Tomaccio”‘”” is an exciting new introduction I”‘””m trying in my sunniest window. Its being advertised as early-fruiting, with exceptionally sweet, cherry size tomatoes bred specifically for drying; harvest whole stems and just hand them up to dry ( inside your Hartley Botanic house would be ideal).
And don”‘””t forget that edible flowers, like nasturtiums, and culinary herbs, such as parsley, basil, and thyme can be tucked into small spaces around your vegetables. Just make sure to give them plenty of sun.