Tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers are three of the easiest vegetables I grow. This grouping features ‘Patio’ tomatoes, ‘Cubanelle’ peppers, and eggplant. Melampodium is tucked in along the edge. The tall blue columns allow maximum harvest in the smallest space.
‘Patio’ tomato: 1 plant from a 4” pot.
Eggplant: 1 plant from a 4” pot.
‘Cubanelle’ pepper: 1 plant from a 4” pot.
Melampodium: 18 plants from multipacks.
Light: Full sun, at least six hours per day.
Season: Spring through fall for most warmer areas. These plants take temperatures from about 40 degrees to the low 100’s and are equally happy in either extreme. Peppers and tomatoes bear fruit at temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees. Eggplant need 100 to 140 days of temperatures between 70 to 90 degrees.
Lifespan: Five to six months for the vegetables. The tomatoes will start to decline about two to three months after planting. Replace them with fresh plants at that time.
Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Repeat if the leaves look yellowish or washed-out, although the fertilizer should last from six to nine months.
Water: Water thoroughly if the plants show signs of wilt, or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip into the potting mix. I watered this one every day (after it was about a month old) in midsummer and every other day in cooler weather.
Troubleshooting: No problems at all.
Planting Plan: Easy. Simply plant a vegetable in the center of the pot, and plant melampodium along the front edge. Be sure to plant in good-quality potting mix, not garden soil, topsoil, or potting soil, which can kill your plants.
Containers: Found in independent garden centers.
Best Time to Pick: Be sure to check behind the leaves frequently because peppers and some tomatoes hide! The more you pick, the more the plants produce. They are ready to eat when they turn a sharp shade of red. The eggplants are ready when they have stopped growing and have a glossy skin.
This is an excerpt from Pamela Crawford’s book, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs, available through Amazon and other online booksellers.
Pamela Crawford, author of 12 gardening books, is considered one of the most accomplished container gardening experts in the country. In addition to designing gardens for over 1500 residences, her work has been featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens publications as well as in Southern Living, HGTV Magazine, Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, and in over 300 newspapers. As an expert in her field, she has appeared on the Fine Living Network, GardenSMART, gardenloverstv.com and numerous local tv shows.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
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