Compact Plants for Patio Gardeners

Are you short on gardening space? Consider growing these pint-sized hybrids bred for edible success when planted in compact containers.

| April/May 2020

Photo by Adobe Stock/PIXATERRA

New cultivars of compact edible plants are released onto the market every year. An increasing number of gardeners have growing space that’s limited to a small area, such as a patio garden, a raised bed, or containers. Because of this, plant breeders and seed companies have dedicated much effort toward increasing the number of pint-sized fruits, veggies, and herbs available to home gardeners, while also paying careful attention to flavor, disease resistance, and productivity.

All the plants on the following list require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight per day, so select a planting site that receives plenty of sun. You’ll also want to avoid a location near large, established trees with extensive root systems that may out-compete your veggies. (Obviously, this won’t be a factor if you’re growing in containers.) Having your garden near a water source is helpful too, as lugging a hose a great distance is a chore.

Photo by Jessica Walliser

The following edible plant profiles are designed to help you determine which petite cultivars are best for your small-scale garden. Though there are many more choices not included on this list, these particular selections have performed well in my own garden over the years. In other words, these cultivars aren’t just cutie-pie plants that are fun to look at; they’re also resistant to common plant pathogens, easy to grow, high yielding, and delicious.

‘Little SnapPea Crunch’ Sugar Snap Pea

(Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon)

Mature dimensions: 28 to 32 inches tall, and 8 to 12 inches wide.

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