Bush Vegetable Plants: Using Bush Vegetables For Urban Gardens
Gardening of any ilk is good for the soul, body and often the pocketbook. Not everyone has a large veggie garden plot; in fact, more and more of us live in space saving condos, apartments, or micro-homes with little room for a garden. For just this reason, if you peruse any gardening catalog, you will find the words miniature and dwarf featured prominently and touted as perfect for the urban gardener.
But, did you know that there are many bush vegetables suitable for urban gardens? What are bush vegetables and which bush vegetable plants work for a small garden? Read on to learn more.
What are Bush Vegetables?
Fear not; if you have a balcony, stoop, or access to the roof that has six to eight hours of sun, you too can have fresh herbs and vegetables. There are many dwarf varieties available or you can vertically grow many vegetables — or you can plant bush varieties. But just what are bush type vegetables?
Bushes, sometimes called shrubs, are woody multiple stemmed plants that are low growing. Some vegetables are available growing either along vining habits or as bush type vegetables. Bush varieties of vegetables are perfect for small garden spaces.
Bush Varieties of Vegetables
There are a number of common vegetables that are available in bush type varieties.
Beans are a perfect example of a veggie that either grows along a vine or as a bush vegetable plant. Beans have been cultivated for more than 7,000 years and, as such, are one of the most popular and common vegetables grown – be it pole or bush type. They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They are available in a variety of colors, from yellow to green to purple, as well as in a variety of pod sizes. Bush beans are suitable for harvest as shell beans, snap beans or dry beans.
Squash also grows on both vine and bush plants. Summer squash grows on bush plants and is harvested before the rind hardens. There are a myriad of varieties of summer squash to choose from. These include:
- Constricted neck squash
- Scallop squash
Lately, increasing numbers of hybrids have expanded the summer squash options even further, giving any number of bush squash vegetable choices for the urban gardener.
Peppers are also grown on bushes. Native to Central and South America, peppers are of two camps: sweet or hot. As with summer squash, there is a dizzying amount of varieties to choose from with a range of colors, flavors and shapes. Almost any variety of pepper plant will work in an urban setting.
Cucumber plants can also be grown in both vining and bush types. In fact, there are now many bush or compact varieties of cucumbers available that are ideal for growing in a limited space, with many of these requiring only 2 to 3 square feet (.2-.3 sq. m.) per plant. They are even good choices for growing in containers.
Popular bush cucumbers include:
- Bush Champion
- Bush Crop
- Parks Bush Whopper
- Pickle Bush
- Pot Luck
- Salad Bush
Lastly, I’m just going to sneak this one in — tomatoes. Okay, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit, but a lot of people think of them as veggies, so I include them here. Besides, what is a self-respecting gardener to do but grow tomatoes? These contradictions grow from large bushes, almost trees, to smaller cherry tomato varieties. Some good compact tomato varieties for urban settings include:
- Basket Pak
- Container Choice
- Husky Gold
- Husky Red
- Patio VF
- Red Cherry
- Sweet 100
- Tumbling Tom
- Yellow Canary
- Yellow Pear
And there are many more than what is listed here. Here again, the choices are endless and there is no doubt at least one (if you can choose just one!) suited to a small planting space.
19 Vegetable Garden Plans & Layout Ideas That Will Inspire You
Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.
Are you ready to plant your garden, but are feeling a little unsure of how to lay it out?
Well, it seems everyone faces that dilemma each year. The reason is that there are so many different ways to layout your garden.
Then you have to consider what your goal for your vegetable garden is. Do you want it to give some produce but also care about aesthetics? Are you more interested in getting the most produce possible from your garden?
After you decide what your primary goal for your vegetable garden is, then scroll through the vegetable garden plans I’ve gathered from all over the internet and see which options work the best for you.
Small-Space Vegetable Gardens
Make room on your fire escape or pot up some tomato plants—you can grow delicious fruits and veggies even if you don't have much space.
Small-Space Vegetable Gardens by Andrea Bellamy
Author Andrea Bellamy offers up plenty of small-space edible garden solutions in Small-Space Vegetable Gardens.
You could say small is big—and it’s getting bigger.
We’ve been seeing a trend toward smaller gardens in recent years and the trend just keeps growing. It’s being fueled by changes in our lifestyles and even by where we live.
Some of us make our homes in cities or apartments, where the only patch of sunshine is on a balcony or windowsill. Others live in suburbia, where the lots are barely big enough for kids and pets and a postage-stamp plot of grass, so the eggplants and peppers get crowded out. More of us are simply too busy to manage a big garden.
But even if your time or space is limited, Andrea Bellamy, a garden columnist who writes the popular blog Heavy Petal, doesn’t want you to give up on your green thumb.
Bellamy is an urban, organic gardener who lives in Canada and her book, Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots , aims to teach us how to grow fresh, healthy foods even if we don’t have a lot of room.
Her book is filled with space-saving ideas. Maybe you can turn that wide strip of grass between your sidewalk and the street into a bed of lettuce and other greens. Or how about talking to your employer into letting the staff tend a shared garden to lower stress and get some exercise?
Photos in the book encourage looking around to find unusual containers you can press into service, like an old canoe. Bellamy shares a picture of beans climbing a section of wooden fence and recommends trellises so you can grow cucumbers, melons and more vertically, lifting them above and away from competing plants and freeing up more ground space.
She also gives the basics on training figs, plums and other fruits into espaliered forms, although you'll need to look elsewhere for detailed information on this technique.
While Bellamy describes how to make a raised bed, gardeners with creaky knees or bad backs might wish she'd included instructions on adding legs to the bed, so they could reach in without bending over. Wheeled beds can also be rolled around on a deck or other flat surface, so gardeners who have too much shade in their limited space can chase the sun.
I wish more design diagrams had been included. When you're tucking veggies into a small but visible spot, like your front yard, it's nice to have an eye-pleasing combination of colors and textures. Even when I'm growing edible I want my garden to look good, but sometimes I could use some help.
Bellamy makes some important points. Successful small-space gardening isn't just about planting in containers, raised beds or whatever nooks and niches you can find. It's also vital to make the most of what you have. She explains how to improve and amend your soil and combat weeds and pests to maximize your harvest.
She also encourages growing cut-and-come-again crops—like kale—and planting in succession so fast-maturing crops like radishes are replaced with beans so space isn't wasted after the root crops are pulled.
In the back of the book, Bellamy includes a list of edibles from A to Z, giving the basic cultural requirements for plants that range from apples to zucchini. Beginning gardeners will find the list handy and helpful. Seasoned pros will find ideas in each chapter for increasing their harvest, no matter how limited their space.
Urban Vegetable Garden Ideas
Square foot garden
Even if you may think that this is a really small space for a garden, you have no idea how many foods you can grow there. Square foot gardening consists of 4×4 boxes placed on the ground. You should use high-quality soil for your small garden. Then, you should divide it into square-foot sections, making sure you have enough space between plants. In this way, you will make sure they have enough room to grow. Hence, you will be able to fit all the vegetables you want in a small garden.
Self-watering grow box
This is the perfect solution for those who may not be really responsible with their plants, and they may forget to water them. If you want a small garden with the minimum effort and space, then this is the solution for you. In this way, you will get your homegrown products by using a small self-watering system. After you set up the system, you only have to put water in the reservoir. Therefore, the plant will be able to retrieve the water it needs through its roots.
One-pot vegetable garden
This is one of the simplest urban vegetable garden ideas. Developing a one-pot vegetable garden is a simple solution, using a small place. All you have to do is to drill a few drainage holes in a galvanized water trough. Next, you have to add soil and plant complementary groups of plants. You can plant tomatoes together with chives, jalapenos, and basil.
A gutter garden is extremely useful in case you do not have enough space to spare. When space-saving is a problem, then you could use this urban vegetable garden idea. Furthermore, besides occupying less space, it also looks amazing. You will not have to worry about wild animals or bugs because this system keeps plants off the ground, in the sun.
If you are careful when watering the plants, you will make sure that the ground along the foundation and the house siding will not get wet. You can try to make it greener using salvaged gutters.
Developing your own vertical garden out of recyclable materials or some pieces of wood is even better.
Vertical gardening with salvaged materials
This system works wonders, but if you want a personalized garden, you should know that you can get as creative as you want. Furthermore, you can also use salvaged materials and learn how to recycle. You can make vertical raised growing boxes. Some gardeners love to use mismatched wood when building a vertical garden. It could look amazing and you will also spare some good money if you do it yourself from some pieces of wood you have kept around the house.
WeeTree wall of plants
This method of developing a garden full of flowers and plants will not only reveal your creative side, but it will color your entire house. Besides that, you can also use a WeeTree wall of plants to hide an ugly wall or to shade a building. Other gardeners also use it to grow food instead of plants. This system will allow you to grow row after row of ornamentals, vegetables, and herbs, even if you already have a postage stamp-sized yard.
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Easy access salad box
Some may really like gardening, and they think that they could be dedicated gardeners if it weren’t all about bending over and over to reach the plants. Well, here is your solution. No one said that your garden needs to be at the level of the ground. You could develop raised beds on platforms or table legs. A ‘Small Space Salad Box’ by Sunset may be just what you are looking for.
If you want to create it yourself, you will need some tools, glue, some 1x4s, and a redwood planter box. The attractive waist-high garden would look incredible, and it will be useful especially if you have back problems.
Woolly pocket planter bags
This is an innovative way to grow your favorite veggies or ornamental plants. Vertical gardening looks more like art. You should use the Woolly Pocket planter bags which are made of breathable recycled wool planter bags. Hence, they will keep your wall dry. However, at the same time, the planter bags keep moisture inside for the plants. Your new green wall will work well with any type of wall surface.
Shoe organizer garden
This option is similar to woolly pockets but is even cheaper than the previous method. Your canvas shoe organizer can be more useful than you have ever thought, helping you grow your plants. You should keep it off the wall using strips of wood. The innovative system works in the same way, but it excludes the wicking properties. Hence, you will have to frequently water it.
3. Raised Bed Perennial Polyculture Layout
Even if you are sticking to raised beds, you don’t have to have a traditional annual fruit and vegetable garden at all. Instead, you can create perennial raised beds with perennial herbs, flowers and vegetables.
While you may need to alter your diet a little, a perennial vegetable garden could be a great solution, and provide you with plenty of food for you and your household.
From the top left bed down and round:
In the image above, you could switch out the plants described for each of the raised beds with perennial plant options.
At the heart of a 4×4 bed, you could place a fruiting bush. For example, you could choose currant bushes, gooseberries, or create a tipi to support cane fruits like raspberries. On the sunnier side of each bush or tipi, you could plant strawberries, along with perennial Mediterranean herbs. You can also fill several more of your raised beds with perennial brassicas, perennial alliums and a range of non-traditional leafy greens. You could also grow rhubarb, globe and Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, and more.
For example, from the top left bed down and round:
Bed One: Raspberries tipi, with strawberries, and a range of aromatic herbs.
Two: Gooseberry bush, with mint, chives, thyme and lavender.
Three: Currant bush, with sorrel, herbs, strawberries.
Four: Perennial kale/ cabbages with elephant garlic, walking onions, bunching onions and other perennial alliums .
Five: Asparagus, Globe and Jerusalem artichokes, with parsley and other herbs.
Six: Another currant bush with sorrel and other leafy greens, strawberries and herbs.
Seven: Gooseberry or other berry bearing bush with underplanting, or rhubarb.
Eight: Thornless blackberry or more raspberries of different varieties, plus companions.
Perennial flowering plants can also be planted throughout.
Bear in mind that when you grow perennial plants, these will remain in place and should provide food not just for one season, but over several.
10 Best Vegetables and Fruits to Grow If You Don’t Have Big Backyard
MorningChores Staff is a team of writers and editors who collaborate to create articles. If the article you are reading is authored by MorningChores Staff, it means multiple people contributed on it.
You can easily start your own sustainable garden in small spaces such as your backyard, a balcony or a patio.
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, there are plenty of plants that will thrive in small boxes or pots.
One of the rules of thumb for small spaces is to choose plants that grow vertically. Growing a sustainable garden doesn’t cost a lot either. You can reuse items like pantyhose and drink cups to keep your plants thriving.
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables which can grow in a small space. They can be tossed in salads, mashed into a sauce or eaten straight off the vine.
Tomatoes also come in a variety of sizes.
You can grow small tomato cherries as hanging tomato plants or larger tomatoes vertically in a container. Cherry tomatoes grow extremely fast—which means you don’t need to wait for months to yield a good crop in your own backyard.
The only downside? It can be challenging to plant tomatoes.
Technically tomato is a fruit since it has seeds that grow from the ovary of the plant.
Lettuce is another veggie that grows fast.
You can yield a crop of lettuce in only 45 days.
Lettuce grows best in a container garden, but you can even grow it indoors. The best way to grow lettuce to ensure it’s ready by spring is to start your seeds indoors in February.
By the time the last frost has passed in March or April, you can go ahead and move your lettuce outdoors. Flashy Trout Back lettuce is great for early months.
Stick with a heartier romaine for summer months. In the autumn, Winter Density can withstand the early chill in the months of September and October.
Man cannot survive on herbs alone. Yet they are so tasty in everything from salads to eggs to casseroles.
Herbs are one of the easiest plants to grow, and you can grow them inside in the winter or outside from spring through autumn. You can maximize space by planting herbs with your edible flowers (see below).
The best way to select herbs for your garden is according to your own preferences and tastes. Basil is extremely hearty and very easy to grow.
Chives, parsley and cilantro are also great for small spaces.
4. Pole Beans
Many beans can easily take over your garden, so it’s best to keep them separate from your other plants.
Vertical plants take up the least amount of space, so pole beans are a great choice for small gardens. Trinofo Violeto pole beans have a dual purpose they’re tasty in salads and side dishes, and they look beautiful in the garden.
Choose plants that have dual purposes in small gardens to maximize space. You can even can beans in the summer to enjoy throughout the winter.
Eggplant is one of the most popular veggies for a small garden. These beautiful vegetables are perfect for heartier meals.
You can use eggplants as a meat replacement in rice and pasta dishes.
Oriental eggplants have a slender shape and grow well in pots—which means you can grow them inside throughout the winter. Add them to hearty stews, or sauté them as a side dish, and be inspired with more eggplant recipes.
In the summer, you can easily transfer these beautiful vegetables to your outdoor garden.
Chard is another leafy green that is equally beautiful and nutritious. Plus, chard grows like a weed and is therefore well suited to small spaces.
Cut a few leaves from the mother plant, and more leaves will grow back.
This is one of the best veggies to grow in a small garden because this plant actually grows more fruitfully in tight spaces. Use chard in place of lettuce (just tenderize the leaves by squeezing them, and chop them into small pieces), or add to a stew or soup for a hearty meal.
Chard is easy to grow from a starter, so don’t opt for the seeds unless you’re familiar with proper spacing.
Radishes are one of the smallest veggies, but they are very hearty and super flavorful. Use radishes in salads or stews. You can also eat raw radishes with a little butter or oil.
You can grow radishes inside or outside.
Root vegetables are extremely easy to grow and are very hearty throughout all seasons. Grow inside of a one-gallon planter. Radishes grow very fast, so you can expect a harvest at least once a month.
Grow several pots simultaneously to ensure plenty of crunchy snacks throughout the year.
Grow lemons in a small planter in your home or in your backyard.
Plant lemon trees in your yard if you live in a warm climate. You can keep lemon trees in your home if you have plenty of light. Small trees that thrive inside include Meyers lemon trees.
You’ll need to keep your soil moist and your trees in direct sunlight for around eight hours a day.
9. Edible Flowers
Add a little pizzazze to your salads by growing edible flowers. These flowers pull their weight since they add tons of flavor to meals and beauty to your backyard and kitchen.
You can grow edible flowers in small spaces such as your kitchen, a hanging basket, a window box garden and in your backyard. Plant them early in the spring, and they will thrive throughout the summer.
Here’s a delicious list of edible flowers.
Avocados (though technically a fruit) are one of the easiest edibles to grow.
You can plant avocados in your kitchen with a leftover seed from a store bought avocado. You can plant them in a small space in your vegetable garden if you live in a warmer climate. This green beauties grow to the size of a baseball, so they don’t take up a lot of room.
(Handy tip: The easiest way you can germinate an avocado pit is by throwing it in your vermicomposting.)
They taste delicious in salads and in homemade guacamole.
And they have plenty of healthy nutrients and tons of good fats.
Which one are you going to plant in small spaces?
Less is more when it comes to sustainable living, making it possible for you to garden in small spaces.
Stick with plants that yield your favorite flavors. Or choose veggies you’ve never tried before.
It’s fun to check out new recipes and find uses for veggies you’re not familiar with. Luckily, many plant seeds cost under a dollar, so you won’t break the bank if a particular veggie does not grow.
Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Containers
As with ornamental container gardening, vegetable container gardening is a way to control the soil, sun, and growing conditions of your edible plants. It also allows squeezing edible gardening into the smallest spaces, by putting them on your patio, front steps, and along the house and driveway. Virtually any fruit, vegetable, or herb can be grown in a container if the container is large enough for it.
Herbs and greens can grow in small pots or hanging baskets fruiting plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers work best starting at 5-gallon containers—or go larger, of course. The larger the pot, the more soil you can fit in there, and the less often you'll have to water (daily or every other day instead of twice a day). The material the pot is made of, and its color also affects how quickly it dries out. Clay pots lose moisture faster, and black pots retain more heat.
You can even find soil specifically balanced for vegetable container gardening with slow-release fertilizer already in it for the most absolute no-fuss garden.