Mother Earth Living

Compact Vegetable Varieties and Dwarf Fruit Trees

If you’re gardening in limited space, look for vegetable varieties listed as “compact” or dwarf fruit trees.
By Roger Doiron
July/August 2013
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Compact "Mohawk" peppers
Photo By GAP

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The amount of space a particular crop occupies can vary greatly from one variety to another. If you’re gardening in limited space, look for vegetable varieties listed as “compact” or, in the case of fruit trees, “dwarf.” The varieties below can be found at Pinetree Garden Seeds, which specializes in meeting the needs of small-space gardeners. For more on making the most of a small garden, read the original article, Small-Space Gardening: Grow More in Less Space.

• 'Alibi' Cucumber. You’ll need an alibi to convince your family you didn’t eat every fruit yourself from this productive short-vine variety. Matures in 50 days.

• 'Bush Delicata' Squash. If you want to plant squash in a tiny space, 'Bush Delicata' is a good choice. This heirloom only spreads 4 to 6 feet, and you can save its seeds for the next year.

• 'Compatto' Dill. It may not grow taller than 20 inches, but 'Compatto' delivers the dill taste you want for pickles and salads.

• 'Green Tiger' Zucchini. This stout, bushy variety produces brilliant, 6- to 8-inch fruits with glossy, dark green skin and pale stripes.

• 'Mohawk' Pepper. Picture 'Mohawk's' 4- to 5-inch-long, brightly colored bell peppers spilling over your deck railing or window box.

• 'Ophelia' Eggplant. This one is perfect for the patio. The eggplants are small—a little more than 2 ounces each—and grow in clusters like tomatoes do.

• 'Temptation' Strawberry. Compact, vigorous growth makes 'Temptation' well-suited for hanging baskets, grow bags and short-season climates.

• 'Totem' Tomato. Growing no taller than 2 feet and requiring no staking, 'Totem' offers big tomato taste in a small package.

• 'Tumbling Tom' Tomato. 'Tumbling Tom' yields lots of beautiful, bright red cherry tomatoes. Perfect for hanging baskets, as the tomatoes really do tumble over the edges.

Roger Doiron is founder of Kitchen Gardeners International.

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