This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

seeds for a friend

I'm planning to put together some seeds and seedlings for a friend who has never grown any vegetables and wants to grow some with her young girls. I'm trying to think of fun but easy varieties. She has a roof top patio, so they will be container vegetables.

I'm thinking I'll get her some of those little peat pots that expand in water and some cucumber seeds. And I'm thinking I'll pot up some of my basil, thyme and tomato seedlings. I think maybe Sun Gold (cherry) will be a good variety, though I wondering if a patio tomato might be better.

I'd love to hear any suggestions!

pot and seeds for a friend



Blogger prue said...

Hi Kathy - that is such a lovely and kind idea!!! And great for furthering greeness. Being confined to container gardening myself I know that patio tomatoes, while good and bushy and perfect for a pot are not always the best bet. They taste like a regular tomato and put off one of my friends I gave them to (the work involved outweighed the taste) I've been able to grow pretty much any variety in a pot, and had no clue about gardening a year ago, so long as you get the hang of supporting them then anything can be grown. So go for taste (sungold is always a winner or whichever one you love) relatively high yield, highish disease resistance and fun.

March 18, 2009 9:43 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Thanks prue! I wonder if a Brandywine would work out. That's my favorite. Maybe a Sungold and a Brandywine.....

March 18, 2009 9:54 PM

Blogger Fiona said...

I've had mixed results with veggies, but herbs are a smash hit. And a mixed herb pot (last year: lemon verbena, rosemary, Greek oregano, sage, curly parsley, Italian Oregano, and lemon thyme) is both beautiful and super useful at dinner time. Little girls can make sachets in the fall, too.

I also grew nasturtiums last year in pots, and they were pretty and tasty. So that might be fun for the edges (spilling out next to tomatoes?). Chives are pretty, too, as an underplanting.

March 18, 2009 10:12 PM

Blogger Dan said...

You couldn't go wrong with one zucchini plant, some pole beans and a packet of Mesclun Mix Lettuce. The cucumber, tomatoes & herbs sound good too.

Prue certainly knows her patio gardening, she grew great looking tomatoes.

March 18, 2009 10:24 PM

Blogger Ruth said...

Here here for the lettuce and cucumbers, but you have to water the latter daily. I have also had wonderful luck growing morning glories in a pot and just letting them have at my patio railings. And they grow so fast, they're great for kids.

I just found your lovely blog and wanted to say hello!

March 18, 2009 10:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peat pots are a great idea. As for contents, I'd suggest mint and/or basil for herbs, and for veg, maybe swiss chard and radishes are something to consider - radishes because of the quick gratification, and swiss chard because its a "pick and come again" that can keep giving its goodness.

March 19, 2009 3:29 AM

Blogger Daphne said...

Unless you have some good support for the Sungold plant it probably isn't the best in a container, but you can't beat the ease of growing a Sungold. I would think they would grow best with a tall cage since they are such rampant growers. A patio tomato would be easier deal with, but wouldn't taste as good. If you have a hanging container Tumbling Toms might be nice too. I've never grown them before and don't know how easy of a tomato it is.

As to other things. If she likes tea, I'd do a kind of peppermint. Lemon balm is good for that too and also easy.

Mesclun is probably the best bang for the buck in space terms. You can harvest a lot of little greens from a pot and it costs so much in the supermarket. Though I would think it would be harder to grow than the others in pots.

Oh and take all my suggestions with a grain of salt. Container growing is not my forte.

March 19, 2009 7:53 AM

Blogger The Forge Village Farmer said...

Small eggplants, like prosperosa, do well in containers, as do okra, and those thumbelina carrots. Black Pearl chiles, tabasco, and other small chiles do well too. :)

March 19, 2009 8:02 AM

Blogger MLH said...

I had huge success last season with cucumbers in a growin' bag. There were vines all over my 2nd floor porch and more than enough cucumbers. I grew the Pearl variety from Park.

March 19, 2009 8:51 AM

Blogger Chiot's Run said...

I think some lettuce would be great. It's the perfect instant gratification veggies. It germinates quickly, grows quickly and you can harvest fairly quickly as well. It's also super easy to grow, not too many diseases or difficulties. This is what I always recommend beginners to start with, lettuce and a tomato plant in a pot.

March 19, 2009 9:48 AM

Anonymous Kelly said...

What a fun idea. Most peppers and eggplants are quite happy in pots. I don't think you can go wrong with tomatoes and herbs but I believe the sungolds are one of the more vigorous growers. A tall obelisk can be stuck in the container for any of the mentioned veggies, attractive and functional!

March 19, 2009 11:44 AM

Anonymous Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden said...

What a nice friend you are! We don't grow too much in pots so I can't give you many suggestions, but we have done bell peppers in pots successfully. If she gets a lot of sun on her patio, that might be a good one to add to the mix.

March 19, 2009 12:33 PM

Anonymous Caroline said...

I'm inspired to find some kids to give plants to now, too! :) I've done a bunch of experimenting with container gardening and have found that herbs, cherry tomatoes, hot pepper plants, and lettuce have the highest success rates. I remember loving to watch green beans grow as a kid (they come up so fast!), but I haven't had much luck with them in containers. Ditto with cucumbers, but they may have been the variety I got. As for herbs, I think basil and oregano and mint are a guaranteed hit. I used to LOVE when my mom would ask us to go grab some oregano because it meant pizza night. Chamomile flowers might also work well, too. They're attractive, and the girls can make tea out of them. Peter Rabbit drank chamomile tea, so maybe they'll like it, too...

March 19, 2009 2:28 PM

Blogger Ali H said...

I recently set my little sister up with her first edible balcony garden.

We went with:
A small herb collection (rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, chives & basil), window-boxes full of greens (two of leaf lettuce & one of mizuna & tatsoi, both excellent cut & come-again leaf brassicas), and a little chilli/hot pepper plant.

I deliberately stayed away from trying to give her a full veggie garden in her limited space- I figure the best way to hook her onto gardening was to give her things that would be easy to grow & constantly useful for flavour throughout the season, rather than things that might produce 2 or 3 fruit & then give up (I, or another obsessive gardener, might be willing to baby along an eggplant in a pot for those 2 or 3 fruit. My new-to-gardening sister, less so). So the chilli plant is good because it's compact & very prolific, the herbs are ones she cooks with all the time, and the leafy greens produce plenty for salads.

I figure if she enjoys this first year, then next year we can delve into the wonderful worlds of tomatoes & other trickier, more rewarding plants, but at this point I'm more interested in building her confidence by giving her plants she CAN look after, and that she WILL definitely use.

March 20, 2009 3:28 AM

Blogger kathy said...

All these great ideas! Thanks. I grew my cayenne chilis in pots last year and they did well. So that's good - I'll give her one each of a hot and a sweet seedling. And some lettuce and cucumber seeds, because she wants to do things from seeds. And I'll ask her if she wants to try a tomato with a big cage....

March 20, 2009 4:13 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

The tomato Juliet does really well in pots with occasional lapses in the water schedule...

March 20, 2009 10:52 PM

Blogger Jennifer said...

I just mailed out some seeds to a friend who's just getting into gardening too. Then I pointed him to your blog. :) I mailed him a couple of each thing we're planting this year (sans potatoes which aren't here yet anyway), It might be a bit much, but I wanted to get him and his kids into it and excited like us.

March 22, 2009 11:24 PM


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