Gardeners' Corner

Since it’s seed catalog season, talk to me about your gardens! What are your favorite vegetable or flower varieties? What are you trying for the first time this year? What has worked really well (or not worked) for you in the past?
If you’re a new gardener or just thinking of getting started, come ask for tips!


Here’s a look at some of my tomatoes from the height of last year’s harvest. These are Better Boys, White Tomesol, San Marzano, Roma, Sungold, Sakura, Yellow Pear and Sweet Million. (And a few Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers in the background.)


I live in a 2nd floor apartment with the balcony and all windows pointing northwest, so there’s not much I can grow, but I try every year! :laughing:

Last summer, I had a fair amount of success with cherry tomatoes and Serrano peppers. The cucumber plants flowered and produced big leaves, but no cucumbers. The jalapeños did only so-so, and I try to do herbs constantly (basil, chives, parsley, and cilantro most recently) though they tend to die with the first stretch of hot/humid weather.

Wish I had more space and better sun angles and actual dirt to plant in, but I do what I can!

Not sure what I want to do this year…probably roll with tomatoes and peppers again…any suggestions for veg and herbs that do well in containers?


I haven’t gardened in a while but my absolute favorite is the pineapple tomato. (Named for the color, not the flavor)

Size of a grapefruit, very little space/water/seed inside. The perfect tomato


I’ve grown everything you listed in containers with great success except cukes. I’ve also grown at least a half dozen variety of peppers. They seem to do really well in containers. I have no morning sun to speak of, so I get the issue.

I have had little/no success with squash, pumpkins and watermelon. :man_shrugging:

Drill or punch holes if you don’t have them in your containers. I used 5 gal pails for everything except the herbs which I grow in flower pots.

I grow my herbs along with strawberries on the back porch which a maple shades. They pretty much get no direct light. No issues with heat or humidity despite the midwestern fug that descends every summer.

I also use fertilizers. One for tomatoes and another for everything else applied as needed.

It seems your biggest challenge sounds like sun, which you can supplement with an led grow light for the morning hours. If can’t supplement the light, give the veggies you enjoy the best exposure.

Good luck and Hi-keeba!


I really should try a pineapple tomato again. I grew one years ago and only got a couple of fruit on the plant, but my garden wasn’t nearly up to speed yet.


They look like tobraintoes.


I do think tomatoes and peppers will give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to gardening in containers. Lots of other things WOULD grow OK in containers, given the right conditions — leafy greens, carrots, radishes — but generally need more volume than one to four plants to be very worthwhile, whereas one tomato plant can give you a lot of tomatoes. And things like squash or melons or cucumbers, in the best-case scenario, will turn into big vines and take over what little space you have.

I’ll always recommend sungold cherry tomatoes, because they’re tough plants, they produce a LOT of fruit, and the tomatoes are really sweet and flavorful. Even in my worst gardening year, when I barely had time to do anything, the sungold plant produced like gangbusters.

I’ve usually had good luck with jalapenos, but this year, when just about everything else in the garden did great, my jalapeno plants were just mediocre. So maybe try again with those, just in case you also had an off year with them. (If they still don’t do well, you can always move on next season.)

If any of your containers are outside, it’s a good idea to have a pot of flowers along to help attract pollinators. I’ve found borage, bee balm and coneflowers are all great for that. The latter two are perennials and the first self-seeds like crazy (I bought borage seeds ONCE in 2013 and have had it popping up in my garden ever since.)


Well, I’ve ordered two blueberry bushes, and I’m about to order some raised beds to plant them in this spring. So we’ll see if I can add them to my fruit varieties. I have a nice patch of strawberries, and a cherry tree that seems to produce a good crop about once every three years. There are also volunteer blackberry canes under the pine tree in the back corner of my yard, which my kids love to raid in the summer.

I’m also going to give cucumbers a try again. I had good luck with them when I lived in Georgia, but I tried planting some here in Ohio a few years ago only to have them all succumb to disease (I’m not sure if it was powdery mildew or something else).


Well, I went to the garden center today. The
Bonnie Plant delivery guy happened to be there at the same time and asked if I wanted some advice. Heck yes!!

And then, as I was leaving, he said, “Hey, want some cauliflower?” He gave me some plants for free!!

So let’s see how overly ambitious I am this year. Planting will commence after lunch.


Nice! I see tomatoes and peppers; which varieties did you get?

It’s still too early here for me to put my tomatoes and peppers in the ground; there are lows in the 30s predicted for a couple of days midweek, so I’ll probably have to wait at least until next weekend. But I planted onions and my blueberry bushes yesterday, and cleaned out my strawberry patch.

Good luck with the cauliflower! I tried it once but couldn’t keep the bugs out of it and decided it wasn’t worth to try again.


Stopwatch started.

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Thanks! We had luck with cherry tomatoes last year, so we’re going to go again with the same equipment and variety. We have serrano, jalapeño, Anaheim, and poblano peppers, and then the cauliflower from sprouted plants, then we’ve got basil, parsley, and spinach all coming from seeds, hopefully.

Container gardening is fun! Ish!

Very jealous of your blueberries.

Updated picture:


(Sigh) … Onions …

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Here’s a quick look at some of the things I have going:

Two new blueberry bushes.

My old strawberry patch, freshly cleaned out.

And one bed of early veggies — radishes, arugula, spinach and snap peas.


9 hours! That’s the longest green peppers to sigh delay in MSTory!



Spinach sprouts everywhere!! And I have to run to the garden center today for a pot for the marigolds. Tell me to to buy anything else while I’m there!!



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Pairing basil with your tomato plants helps keep certain bugs off of them, so I definitely recommend a few basil plants.

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I have a garden bed with lots of strawberries planted by the previous residents. I was thinking of planting my veggies around the strawberries, and as much as possible, leave them to grow. Is this advisable or should I try to transplant the strawberries? Or just dig up the lot and start new?

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