Container ready and vividly colored edibles and exotic fruit dominate this year’s new plants. These five fruits and vegetables from the 2014 All-Seasons Garden Guide are ideal for the patio or even an apartment balcony.
New Pot- and Palate-Pleasing Edibles
1. ‘Sweet Lifeberry’ goji berry is an antioxidant-packed ancient berry from China that thrives in Zones 5 to 9. Purple flowers cover creeping vines in the spring, before brilliant red berries blanket the plants. For container cultivation, stake three to five strong canes and cut off the remainders. These berries are exceptionally sweet when ripened on the plant. No pruning is needed, and the plants are disease-resistant. Dubbed the “superfruit” because of the multitude of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids they contain, goji berries can be eaten out of hand, made into smoothies, or dried like raisins.
2. ‘Pomegranate Crunch’ lettuce is a color sensation and perfect for containers and as edible edging in flower beds. The mini-romaine/butterhead cross features small, dense heads with cherry leaves and light green hearts dusted with red. Color graduates smoothly from the outer leaves to the heart, creating stunning contrast. You’ll be picking these fast-growing, crunchy heads 45 days after seeds sprout.
3. Red, orange, and yellow “Hungarian Cheese’ peppers are tidy plants, about 28 inches tall, that produce quickly, about 60 days after being set out as transplants. Seed packets are an equal mix of the three pepper colors. Thick-walled, flat, and fluted, these sweet peppers are great for stuffing and eating out of hand. If you have a hefty harvest, don’t worry: They store for 2 weeks or more in the refrigerator. Keep peppers picked for continual production, especially in containers.
4. The ‘Tom Thumb’ pea is an old variety from the 1850s that is new again, thanks to the interest in container gardening. A true miniature that grows to only 12 inches tall, it’s a natural for pots. You’ll be picking plenty of full-size pea pods 50 days after sowing. Most peas can withstand a chill; this one can tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees F.
5. ‘Pineapple’ alpine strawberries produce a multitude of plump, 1-inch-long, pointed yellow berries with the distinct taste and fragrance of pineapples and roses. The mounding plants are rugged and easy to grow, even from seed, and do not set runners. Alpine strawberries bear during their first season, and plants grow larger every year. Use them as edible edging for flower beds.
For more edibles, you can purchase the 2014 All-Seasons Garden Guide here!