Container gardening with gourmet vegetables means we can all enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of our labor come harvest time. There is nothing quite like a homegrown tomato fresh off the plant, is there?
It doesn’t matter where you live – in a studio apartment in the city with a small balcony or a patio home in the suburbs. You can still have an awesome gourmet vegetable garden – in containers. You might even choose to have a container garden on your back deck even if you live on a farm. Much easier to maintain, and contain (as anyone who has grown fall squash can contest). You can experiment with your containers to match your style – they don’t have to be traditional. Get creative. You can design your little oasis garden to be a major part of your living space – add a few cool lights and who knows they’re sitting in the vegetable garden?
Colorful Gourmet Veggies for Container Gardening
And boy, oh boy, there are some exotic vegetable seeds to be had out there today. Red carrots, striped beets, blue tomatoes. No peas and mashed potatoes for this crowd. Although fresh peas are one of the easiest crops to grow and one of the first to appear. So get ready to begin planting – the time is here to begin your container gardening in earnest.
Never mind the purple, orange and lime green cauliflowers you can grow, check out this Romanesco variety, also sold (just to confuse the issue) as Romanesco Broccoli. While it does look like a modern hybrid – from outer space – it dates back to 16th century Italy. The taste is much milder and sweeter than either broccoli or cauliflower. You cook it the same way – either steamed or baked with garlic and olive oil (our favorite). And you’ll sure impress your dinner guests. You can buy the seeds at Johnny’s Seed Store.
You can get carrots in almost every color of the rainbow. Renee’s Garden Seeds carries a large selection of unusual and colorful vegetable seeds. It’s easy enough to grow root vegetables in a container garden, you’ll see a photo further down illustrating the method.
Blue Jade Corn from Tradewinds is a most unusual color. It’s not impossible to grow corn in a container garden, although it’s not common. A container as large as a half whiskey barrel would do the trick.
Striped beets are so much fun to serve. People aren’t sure what to make of them. And when you confess that you grew them yourself? They won’t believe you. Renee’s Garden Seeds has a large selection.
But why stop at striped? The beet world is much more than striped. Yellow, white, you name it. These are a simple vegetable to grow, with shallow roots. And they’re a super-food, too. From Park Seeds.
Chard is very easy to grow using container gardening. With shallow roots and a relatively short growing time, you can plant multiple seasons. It doesn’t like the heat, however, so keep it to spring and fall crops. You can plant a winter container garden in the south, and even when it gets a bit cooler at night, your chards (and lettuces) will thrive. Renee’s Garden Seeds.
You Say Tomato
Tomatoes come in many colors today – red, orange, yellow, green, black. Nothing beats a fresh tomato, just picked from the vine or bush. Plant a few different colors – and make a gourmet rainbow tomato salad come September.
This Indigo Rose tomato is clearly purple. And looks just like a plum. This one is a real conversation starter on the dinner plate. Source
But the best tomato of all for small spaces has to be the Rapunzel tomato. Perfect for container. Just perfect. And aptly named, don’t you think? Rapunzels cascading vines will produce up to 40 cherry tomatoes each. You can buy seeds at Totally Tomato.
White Eggplant? Yellow Radishes? What’s Going On?
We’ve got purple tomatoes. Why not white eggplant? This would make a very interesting ratatouille, wouldn’t it? Get them over at Park Seeds.
If spicy food appeals, how about some crazy colored cayenne peppers for your container garden? Again from Park Seeds – they have a great selection over there.
Are these rainbow radishes just the coolest thing? It’s the Park’s Beauty Blend.
Can I Grow Root Vegetables in a Container?
You certainly can. The new potatoes above were grown in a 5-gallon bucket, a product of container gardening. You do need a larger container for root vegetables but imagine having freshly plucked new potatoes with your dinner.
Which Container Style Suits Your Needs?
Which kind of containers appeals to you? How much space do you have? Is a vertical garden in your future? Will you also use the space for entertaining? All important questions to ask before you begin your gardening adventure. Half whiskey barrels are great for larger crops.
With all the small spaces we live in today, vertical gardening is on the rise. And bottle tower gardening is one of the more popular methods of getting a great harvest. It’s simple – each layer of plastic bottle has a plant. Watch the how to video at YouTube.
Then there’s deck rail gardening – kind of like window boxes for vegetables. Good for shallow root veggies like lettuce.
This is a great way to grow lettuce using containers. It’s got short roots, and it doesn’t weigh very much at all. This would work on any wall that gets sun. But remember – lettuce, like chard, doesn’t tolerate heat well. So time your harvest for late spring and fall. It won’t grow in the height of the hot season. No matter where you are. Source
This vertical box design makes a great container garden for shallow root veggies and herbs. Source
We’re collecting photos of gourmet gardens. If you have one, consider uploading your photos and description to show off your own design!