Unusual Vegetables for Small Gardens

by Seasonal Wisdom on April 7, 2014

Post image for Unusual Vegetables for Small Gardens

Whether it’s their small sizes or strange colors, these four unusual vegetables for small gardens – and all gardens really – will make you smile.

These four rare foods have performed well over the years in Seasonal Wisdom’s gardens.  So, if you’re looking for something special to grow in your own kitchen garden this season, check them out…

Tom Thumb peas only grow 8 inches tall, making them unusual vegetables for small gardens.Tom Thumb Pea

This English heirloom pea was introduced to the United States around 1850. A true dwarf, this plant grows only 8 inches high, making it ideal for small spaces and container gardens. Tom Thumb pea doesn’t need a trellis or support like most peas.  Plus, it’s awfully cute and may just encourage kids of all ages to eat more vegetables.

Direct sow this pea early in the growing season for a spring harvest, or in summer for a fall harvest. Tom Thumb grows best in cool weather, and can withstand hard frosts down to 20 degrees F. This pea ripens in 50 – 55 days.

Although this rare heirloom pea may be small, the harvests are surprisingly big.  Set a pot in a sunny spot in your backyard and help keep this historic variety alive.

Find Seeds: Seed Savers Exchange

Astia zucchini are unusual vegetables for small gardens, because they grow well in containers.Astia Zucchini

Summer squashes are more compact plants than winter squashes and pumpkins. But they still get rather big. That’s where Astia zucchini shines. These F1 hybrid vegetables thrive in small spaces. I had a chance to test these unusual vegetables for small gardens when Renee’s Garden Seeds sent me free seeds a few years ago.

Astia zucchini has a non-rambling, compact shape that grew well in my raised bed, but would do equally well in large containers on a sunny patio. The glossy green fruit ripen in about 48 days. Give this edible a rich, well draining garden soil in full sun (at least six hours daily) for best results.

The small zucchini plant is quite productive, so don’t be surprised if you’re sharing big harvests with neighbors and friends this summer.

Find Seeds: Renee’s Garden Seeds

Blue Jade Corn is one of the only sweet corns to grow in containers, making them unusual vegetables for small gardens.Blue Jade Corn

Blue Jade corn isn’t just a beautiful blue corn. This heirloom is also one of the only sweet corns that will grow in a container.

The seed label claimed Blue Jade corn grows about 3 feet tall. But I direct sowed seeds into a 3×3 foot raised bed, and they grew nearly 5 feet tall.  I guess they liked it there.

Still, if you always wanted to grow corn and didn’t have the space, these are great vegetables for small gardens. This unusual corn ripens in 70-80 days. So, it’s faster than many other varieties too.

Find Seeds: Seed Savers Exchange

Window box roma tomatoes are unusual vegetables for small gardens. Window Box Roma Tomatoes

This delicious hybrid dwarf tomato grows in small containers, hanging planters and even window boxes. The red paste-type tomatoes ripen in about 70 days, and work well for cooking and sauces.

These unusual vegetables for small gardens are easy to grow in a full-sun location. They’re even resistant to tomato verticillium wilt, fusarium and nematode diseases (VFN).

I’ve grown this variety two years in a row with good results. Both years, my plants started as transplants from my independent garden center. There are a few companies selling seeds on the Internet, although I’ve never used their services before. If you give them a try, let me know how it goes!

Find Seeds:


Reimer Seeds


More Small Garden Tips

Can’t get enough? See more dwarf tomatoes and other small vegetable garden tips here.

These French heirloom carrots grow in small spaces and heavy soils.

What unusual vegetables are you growing this year?


Nancy Wallace April 11, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Wonderful finds for folks who have limited spaces. Beautiful AND delicious!

Seasonal Wisdom April 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Thanks, Nancy. I find many edibles have a nice ornamental quality. Good garden-fresh food is beautiful. 😉

Luca Samson July 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

This is really interesting.

I’d love to grow some easy to manage vegetables in my small garden, I think it will add some life and colour to it, not to mention the tasty treats at the end!

Greg August 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

How does the blue corn taste?

Seasonal Wisdom August 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

Very good, Greg!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: