Seed catalogs remind us that the best time to plan next year's vegetable garden is right after the holidays. Not only do the catalogs fill your mailbox, or inbox, at that time of year, but also thinking about a lush garden of vegetables and flowers is a great way to fight the post-holiday blues.
I note with pleasure that this year's catalog offers many new varieties of vegetables that are compact enough for container growing, something that is becoming every more popular in urban and suburban settings. When space is at a premium, a few large containers on a patio or balcony can produce a surprising amount of food. Besides a wide variety of herbs, lettuce and other greens are an excellent choice for containers.
Among the new cultivars that caught my eye in the Park Seed catalog:
Nasturtium 'Phoenix' is an interesting new selection with flame-like flowers in a variety of colors. Trailing nasturtiums are great "spillers" for a container herb and veggie garden.
Pak Choi 'Toy Choi' grows only 6 or 8 inches tall, perfect for a porch box or planter. Ready in 40 days, you can raise a crop before the weather warms up, getting double duty from the same container.
|Tomato Genuwine from Park Seed|
Carrot 'Atlas' produces roots somewhat like radishes. It would make a good companion, in fact, for 'Park's Beauty Blend' radishes.
Among warm season crops, I am anxious to try Eggplant 'Patio Baby,' which produces mini-eggplants on plants remaining under two feet tall.
Pepper 'Sweet Pickle' and its hot, spicy cousin 'Cayennette' would look great flanking an entryway in 16-inch pots.
Another intriguing trend that plant breeders seem to be following: crossing two heirloom vegetables to produce a new hybrid. A great example is 'Genuwine' (pictured) which is the offspring of Costoluto Genovese and Brandywine. Expect higher yields, hybrid vigor, and excellent flavor.
We'll have more suggestions from the catalogs as they keep rolling in.