We have previously blogged on the delights of container gardening and it has become so popular, we thought we would give you an update. Here is an all new list of varieties that work well in small spaces. The varieties we chose this year not only provide delicious edibles, they also look lovely and will brighten up small spaces.
'Lolla Rossa' lettuce has beautiful magenta leaves with tiny frills. This loose leaf lettuce has a mild flavor and soft leaves. It is easy to grow.
Seed Savers Lettuce Mixture contains eight different varieties and will create a beautiful bouquet of green, red, and speckled leaves. These loose leaf varieties can be harvested multiple times.
Arugula adds a peppery bite to sandwiches and salads. It grows quickly and can be replanted multiple times each growing season. These cool weather varieties should be planted in the Spring or Fall and are high in Vitamin C.
‘Bull's Blood’ beet This variety of beet has red-purple leaves that can add to a mixed container of edible flowers, lettuce, and herbs. Grow it for both the leaves and roots - both are edible! The juice from the beets is used to make the only red food coloring allowed by Swedish law. Deliciously sweet.
‘Rhubarb Red’ Swiss chard is sometimes grown as an ornamental, but its tender, dark red stalks are not to be missed in a saute or soup. If you want to eat it fresh it is better to harvest it when the stalks are under three inches.
‘Bushy’ cucumber has a short season and vines that grow to five feet long. It needs a very large container and can be trained to climb a trellis. This Russian variety was introduced to American gardeners by Seed Savers Exchange in 1992. The compact nature of the plant made it perfect for small gardens grown at the dachas, or second homes, of Moscow residents.
‘Candlelight’ is a medium hot pepper that grows in beautiful clusters that ripen from green to yellow to orange to brilliant red.The bushy plants measure less than 16" tall.
‘Chinese Ornamental’ These tiny peppers grow to only a ½ inch long. The plant produces vast numbers of hot fruits that hold for weeks on the plants, providing a beautiful display.
‘Joe's Round’ can go in a smaller pot than most other peppers. These very hot peppers grow in clusters of ¾ inch round fruits. This pepper is from the Sestito family of Troy, New York. They passed the seeds to Dr. Carolyn Male, a long time member of Seed Savers Exchange, who donated it to us.
Tomatoes often do well in containers, especially determinate varieties.
‘Silvery Fir Tree’ is one of our favorites for container growing. This bright red Russian variety has silvery-gray, carrot-like foliage. The 24 inch plants produce heavy crops of round, slightly flattened 3-3½ inch fruits and can even be grown in hanging baskets!
'Cherry Roma' was introduced to SSE in 1999 by Meilie Moy-Hodnett of Maryland. It has a spicy sweet flavor and is delicious fresh or dried.
Lots of herbs look great in containers and they are great for feeding pollinators! Here are just a few to try:
‘Globe’ or ‘Greek’ basil grow into a 12-18 inch globe with thin leaves.
Chives have an oniony flavor and both the foliage and pink flowers are edible.
Thyme has tiny green leaves on woody stems and the plants are only 6-12 inches tall.
Marjoram grows to 12-24 inches and is great in herb blends.
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization located in Decorah, Iowa, with a mission to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.