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Kitchen Gardening

Have a Small-Space Garden? Try Dwarf Vegetable Varieties

Some suggestions for smaller-than-usual vegetables

Small-size tomato plants are your best bet for containers. From behind bars, the neighbors have a great view of Bankemper's 'Tiny Tim' cherry tomatoes.
Photo/Illustration: Boyd Hagen

Depending on how small your garden space is, you’ll be able to grow many or any of vegetables in their regular size. Using vertical gardening techniques such as trellises or pruning will help you grow some traditional varieties. But keep your eyes open for miniature (dwarf) vegetable varieties that become available in your area.

By no means am I suggesting that dwarfs are the only types that can be grown in a small-space garden. In fact, if you want naturally compact snap beans, all you have to do is to look for the bush as opposed to the pole varieties. But planting some miniature or dwarf versions of these plants just might give you the room that you need to squeeze in more vegetables. I just happen to have handy some dwarf-sized vegetable suggestions.

Dwarf tomatoes

  • Early Girl Bush—4-inch fruit; 63 days to harvest
  • Better Bush Improved—4-inch fruit; 68 days to harvest
  • Small Fry—1-inch fruit; 72 days to harvest
  • Yellow Canary—1¼-inch fruit; 55 days to harvest
  • Red Robin—1½-inch fruit; 55 days to harvest
  • Tiny Tim—1-inch fruit; 45 days to harvest
  • Patio Bush—3-oz. fruit; 65 days to harvest
  • Cherry Gold—1-inch fruit; 45 days to harvest
  • Window Box Roma—2-to-2½-inch fruit; 70 day to harvest
  • Pixie Hybrid II—2-oz. fruit; 52 days to harvest

Dwarf cucumbers

  • Bush Pickle—4-inch fruit; 45 days to harvest
  • H-19 Little Leaf—7-inch fruit; 60 days to harvest
  • Bush Crop—6-to-8-inch fruit; 55 days to harvest
  • Spacemaster—7-to-8-inch fruit; 60 days to harvest
  • Salad Bush—8-inch fruit; 57 days to harvest

Dwarf peppers

  • Mirasol (hot)—3-inch fruit; 90 days to harvest
  • Jingle Bells (sweet)—1¼-to-2-inch fruit; 60 days to harvest
  • Bull Nose Bell (sweet)—2½-to-3½-inch fruit; 55 to 80 days to harvest
  • Albino—2¼-inch fruit; 75 to 80 days to harvest
  • Baby Belle—2-to-2½-inch fruit; 68 days to harvest

Dwarf pumpkin

  • Munchkin—3-to-4-inch fruit; 100 days to harvest
  • Baby Boo—2-to-3-inch (white) fruit; 95 days to harvest
  • Pumpkin Hooligan F1—3-to-4-inch fruit; 90 days to harvest
  • Mini Jack—2-to-3-inch fruit; 95 days to harvest
  • Lil Pump-Ke-Mon—5½-inch fruit; 100 days to harvest

Dwarf melons

  • Sugar Baby (watermelon)—6 to 10 pounds; 85 days to harvest
  • Minnesota Midget (cantaloupe)—1 to 2 pounds; 60 to 75 days to harvest
  • Golden Midget (watermelon)— 3 pounds; 70 days to harvest
  • Yellow Doll (watermelon)—7 pounds; 68 days to harvest

Dwarf summer squash

  • Gold Rush (zucchini)—8-inch fruit; 55 days to harvest
  • Peter Pan (scallop)—4-inch fruit; 49 days to harvest
  • Sunburst (scallop)—2-to-3-inch fruit; 60 days to harvest
  • Dwarf Summer Crookneck—10-inch fruit; 50 days to harvest

Dwarf eggplant

  • Fairy Tale—4-to-6-inch fruit; 63 days to harvest
  • Orlando—4-inch fruit; 60 days to harvest
  • Bambino (Baby Bell)—1-inch fruit; 50 to 60 days to harvest
  • Bride Asian—8-inch fruit; 75 days to harvest

Of course, there are so many more dwarf or miniature vegetable varieties out there. C’mon and add to the list—share with us your favorite mini-veggies!

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