As I walk around the neighborhood these days I see more and more edible garden beds popping up in parking strips, side yards and containers. With more time at home folks are taking their chances in the garden which is great to see!
Almost everyone I know gets inspired to grow a few tomato plants at this time of the year – and why not? Starter tomato plants are available in many stores around town and nothing beats a homegrown tomato!
But what about moving beyond the basics this year? Why not go out of your comfort zone and try something new?
Here are some ideas for other warm weather “fruiting” plants that will be ready to go into the garden in the next few weeks, once our evening temperatures reach above 50 degrees (mid May or early June).
Cucumbers are great to grow and can be very productive. Once the cucumber plants start producing they will continue to provide fruit until first frost. Pick them as soon as they get to the size that you like!
A few varietals I like are Marketmore and Patio Snacker.
Peppers are another plant that do well in pots and you can choose from sweet or hot peppers – depending on your taste buds.
Pepper varietals come in all the colors of the rainbow, so choose something that will brighten up your day! Shisito, Lunchbox, and Iko Iko are smaller plants that can be prolific producers.
Melons are a plant to try if you want a stretch goal! Look for varietals that do well in our short season. Smaller cantaloupe varieties will give you the best chance for a harvest. I have had success with the Minnesota Midget and Sugar Cube which produce melons the size of a softball.
These heat loving plants do well in containers. I like to use 5 gallon black pots to give their roots even more of boost when the sun warms the containers. This also allows you to move the plants around to keep them in the warmest spots as the summer and sunshine progresses.
For successful planting:
- Get a bag of potting soil and make sure to bury the roots deeply in the pot
- Add some compost around the sides of the plant to provide steady nutrition
- Water the plants deeply and continue for the first few days after you transplant
- Be sure to keep the soil moist as the summer moves along, and add more compost if you notice any yellowing of the leaves
- These vining plants will benefit from a cage or trellis to help support them so get that set up at the time that you plant.
- Put your pots near some flowers or push a few flower seeds into the same pot at the base of the plants to encourage pollination of the fruit. Nasturtiums are great for this!
If all of these plants seem like too much work and you don’t typically grow tomatoes then go for it this year! Pick up a cherry tomato or a small slicing tomato as they do best in our Seattle summers.Put that starter plant in a pot and get it in your sunniest space in the next couple of weeks! Here are a few more tomato tips to get you started!
If you are feeling ready to go “beyond the tomato” let me know and we can get you set up and Good to Grow in no time!