Judging by the new vegetable varieties being offered this year, gardens are shrinking. More varieties are being marketed for patios, pots and raised beds. Everything from tiny eggplant to mini-squash and patio peas are in the catalogs for vegetable gardeners to consider this year.
Here are new varieties (or at least newish) that look especially tempting for this year’s garden.
Patio Pride pea. Described as “super early and super compact,” Patio Pride pea was named a 2017 All-American Selection. This pea was bred to be grown in a container. With a support, it will grow 18 to 24 inches tall and then begin to flower and set peas. Each plant is said to produce 30 pods, and the time from sowing seed to harvest is only 40 days, allowing gardeners to extend the season. These are sugar snap peas, with flavorful pods and peas.
Honeybaby butternut squash is another All-America Selection for 2017. It’s been around a year or so. It produces small butternuts that are perfect for one person to eat. Vines are much shorter than the typical 15-20 footers that butternuts produce, and they grow in a bushlike habit. Honeybaby is large for its size with a sweet squash flavor.
Mini Love watermelon. One last All-America Selection. This is a watermelon plant that grows only 3-by-3 feet and produces round, seeded fruits with excellent flavor. The melons weigh 7 to 9 pounds each, perfect for a small family. The plants also have great disease resistance.
Patio Baby eggplant produces tons of small eggplants on small plants. In our northern climate, these will ripen in 45 days, if planted as starts after the temperatures have warmed up. Eggplants, like tomatoes and other nightshade plants, will stop growing when the temperatures get to 50 degrees F or lower. Grow these in a large pot—18 inch diameter, one plant per pot—in a sunny spot, with a humus-rich soil. Like all container plants, you will need to water regularly.
Gladiator tomato is decidedly not small. A new hybrid offered by Burpee, Gladiator is a roma-style tomato, producing half-pound fruits on 5-foot-tall vines. Burpee describes the taste as “tangy” and “robust,” and recommends using Gladiator for salsa, ketchup and soups. Plant these as starts in late May or early June in a sunny location. You should be harvesting in 72 days.
What vegetables are you planning to grow this year?