Since the weather is warmer and snow is melting, I’ve started thinking about my container garden for this year. If you want to grow vegetables, this is the time to start planning it if you’re planting from seeds. Most of my crops are greens that will be direct-seeded in the boxes in the beginning of May (I’m in Montreal, so it can’t be any earlier than that). Still, the tomatoes and basil will be started indoors, so I’ll have to do it in a week or two at most if I want decent plants in May. So, here is the list of varieties I plan to grow this year :
Will be growing in pots (12″ wide and more, I still have a few to buy)
- Tumbling Tom Red (Mr. Fothergill’s Container Gardens at Canadian Tire) : A red cherry tomato plant made for containers. First try with this variety, but the packets says that the tomatoes will be sweet and juicy.
- Tomato Riesentraube (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) : A indeterminate sweet cherry tomato plant with large clusters of 1 oz fruits. I had one planted in the box last year and I thought it would be way too cramped, but I was able to get a few tomatoes even in those harsh conditions. Looking forward to trying this one in a proper pot this year.
- Cheeseman’s Tomato (The Cottage Gardener) : An early indeterminate cherry tomato plant that produces tons of tiny teardrop-shaped tomatoes, or so it says on the web site. This is new for this year, so I have no idea how well it will work.
- Courgette Midnight F1 (Mr. Fothergill’s Container Gardens at Canadian Tire) : A compact zucchini plant made for containers, first try this year.
- Cucumber Delikatesse (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) : According to the packet the cucumbers will be 10″ long and pale green with crisp flesh and thin skin. I consider this my first try, I tried in the box last year but they were really too cramped and the vines stopped growing after a few inches. I have my doubts about cucumbers since I had trouble keeping a store-brought plant properly watered last year, but freshly picked cucumbers are really good. I have a 10″ pot left that’s a bit too small for the other plants so I’m going to try again. This time, I’ll add a tomato cage so the vines can climb and mulch so I don’t have to water as often. I’m also considering moving it to a more shaded spot if I have too much trouble.
- Pea Super Sugar Snap (Burpee at Zellers) : Sugar snap peas, with edible pods and full-sized peas. I’m going to try to grow them in a spot that’s in the shade for most of the afternoon in wide flower planters. This is a real experiment, I really don’t know how this will work out, I’m not even sure how I’ll stake them yet…
In the three flat boxes (thanks dad!) :
Some of last year’s seedlings in a flat box
- Lettuce Grand Rapids (Dollarama) : An early variety of loose-leaved light green lettuce. Pretty mild, it’s nice to mix with other greens in a salad, or alone with a zesty salad dressing. This worked well last year so it’s coming back.
- Mustard Tendergreen (part of the Burpee mesclun sweet salad mix at Zellers) : Earlier than the lettuce and very productive, it tastes a bit like spinach , with a little mustard aftertaste. Good in salads or stir-fried and a good alternative for spinach since my spinach never grew past an inch or two last year. It overtook every other green in the mesclun mix, so I saved some seeds to plant it alone this year.
- Lettuce Catalogna (Mr. Fothergill’s Italian Vegetables at Canadian Tire) : The packet claims that this is an early lettuce with crisp leaves and good bolting resistance. New for this year.
- Arugula (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) : Standard arugula, with the usual peppery taste, it’s nice to mix with other greens in a salad. Worked decently next year but I had a very small patch, so I’ll plant more and see how it goes.
- Radish Saxa II (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) : Pretty standard early radishes that grew well last year, I’ll be planting some in front of the greens rows. When they’re picked, I’ll probably start new rows of greens if the older ones look too tired at the time.
Herbs in smaller dollar store pots (7 1/2″ wide) :
- Chives (store-bought plant): I had a plant last year, so I’m hoping it will grow back.
- Cilantro (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) : It grew decently last year, but I’ll have to stake them better since they grow pretty tall for the small container. I loved the taste too, so I may grow two pots.
- Parsley Moss Curled (Dollarama) : It’s indoor right now, so I’ll just take it back outside. It took a while to get started from seeds but it’s going strong now.
- Mint : I’ve had it for a few years and put it through a lot of hardships, but it’s still growing. It’s indoor right now, I’ll repot it and put it back outside.
- Oregano (store-bought plant) : This one pretty much died at the end of the season last year after producing many tasty leaves. I’ll probably just buy a new plant.
- Fine Verde Basil (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds): A cute small-leaved basil that grows in a compact ball shape with the classic basil taste. Was pretty productive too so it’s coming back this year.
Good but not for this year :
- Tonga Di Parigi carrots (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) Produces small 1″ long carrots perfect for a container. I was only able to start picking up carrots in September last year, so I would rather use the space for radishes or greens, but they were delicious when freshly picked.
What are you going to grow on your balcony this year?