The most recession proof gardening is growing fruits and vegetables. Last year, gardeners already were demonstrating that by the increased purchases of vegetable seeds and plants providing fresh edibles for the family dinner table.
Growing Vegetables in Containers
Whether a person new to gardening or a seasoned well tried gardener, growing fruit and vegetables is possible by everyone. The number of vegetable plants with new cultivars able to be grown in small gardens or containers increases each year. Combined with the increased variety and sizes of containers available to gardeners, it is clear container gardeners have nothing standing in their way when it comes to vegetable gardening.
Gardeners should expect to see new plants and pots out after the new-year. Here is a sample, All-America Selections three out of the four winners, for 2009, are vegetables.
All-American Selections Winners for 2009
Another eggplant, a melon and a squash are vegetable award winners for 2009. Gardeners should consider these vegetables to start or expand spring gardens. Check other All-America Selections for ideas to add herbs and edible flowers into a vegetable garden, too.
‘Gretel’ is an eggplant that has white petite fruit that hangs on a small plant. Each eggplant fruit grows three to four inches long, have an elongated shape and are sweet tasting with few seeds.
The ‘Gretel’ plant will grow to approximately 36” to 52” tall with a spread of 2’ to 3’. Eggplant grows best during the warm time of a growing season. This eggplant can be harvested a short 55 days from transplanting.
The distinctive appearance and the longer than usual storage ability, makes melon ‘Lambkin’ a cultivar worth considering. However, it is the melon fruit, easily able to grow in containers, that is the best reason. The oval shaped melon weighs two to four pounds, has white sweet flesh and a thin rind. This long storing melon is why it has also been called the Christmas melon.
The plant is a fast growing vine reaching 6’. The fruit will ripen 65 to 75 days after transplanting.
Squash ‘Honey Bear’
A plant that yields three to five fruit per plant, this acorn squash has a sweet flavor. The fruit has the same dark green, oval and ribbed appearance, weighing approximately one pound each.
The plant is less susceptible to powdery mildew and tolerates summers that have cool moist temperatures. The busy plant grows 2’ to 3’ tall.
Vegetable Planting Tips and Ideas
Grow each of these vegetables in a large container, at least 16 inches deep. Eggplant, melon and squash are best grown in full sun, prepackaged potting soil and watered well. In each container, a small annual herb, edible or scented flowering plant cascading over the edge will complete the garden.
A native of Wisconsin, Chris now makes her home in zone 5 of central Ohio. She is a member of Garden Writers Association and Perennial Plant Association. More of Chris' garden musings may be seen at http://flowergardens.suite101.com or visit her profile on the Mulch.