Some easy-care veggies to try planting

Posted April 19, 2012, at 3:23 p.m.

It’s just about time to plant warm-season vegetables such as zucchini, squash, peppers and more.

And, let’s not forget, tomatoes — just the thing for homemade BLTs and salads this summer.

Remember, vegetables need organic-rich soil, sun most of the day, consistent moisture and well-draining soil.

Give them those basics and you’re good to grow.

If you’re curious about new, easy-care veggies, here are a few from Bonnie Plants you may want to consider. Many will grow nicely in large pots on porches, patios and balconies, a plus when you don’t have a traditional yard or garden.

Yummy Snacking Pepper

This snack-size petite sweet pepper is nearly seedless. It ripens from green to yellow to an eye-catching apricot-orange or red. Eat it like a banana; it also makes an impressive display when spread on a platter for a party and as an enticing healthy snack for kids. The plant is pretty, too, in a container, according to the company’s website.

Hansel Mini Eggplant

Hansel, a 2008 All America Selection, begins bearing clusters of three to six narrow fruits 55 days after setting plants in the garden, according to the company’s website. Cut the fingerling-size eggplants into round pieces and lightly saute them. If you don’t have room for a garden in the ground, these are perfect for containers.

Boston Pickling Cucumber

Small cucumbers usually yield big taste treats. This thin-skinned cuke bears continuously, producing crisp flesh that’s good for any pickling recipe, sweet or dill, according to the company’s website. Southerners like to slice little cukes thin, soak them in a light vinegar and water solution and season them with pepper and raw onion.

Lemon Cucumber

Described as “round and yellow,” this tennis-ball-size heirloom cucumber serves one or two people perfectly. The cuke doesn’t taste like lemon, just looks like one in color. The plant grows nicely in cooler weather, making it ideal for more northern climates. Besides slicing the cuke for salads, try hollowing it out for cold summer soup appetizers, suggests Bonnie Plants.

Tomatoes

Bonnie Plants offers 18 classifications of tomatoes, so it’s hard to just pick a couple favorites. Juliet is a staple, offering a great grape tomato that’s sweet and shaped like a miniature Roma tomato; it’s prolific, so give the plant plenty of room to spread and do its thing. Sweet n Neat cherry patio tomato is said to fit in the smallest of containers ever known for tomatoes; plant 1 per 10-inch container or plant 2 or more in a large pot, according to the company’s website. Sun Sugar is a yellow cherry tomato that’s good for salads or just in a bowl for snacking. Of course, old favorites Better Boy, Big Boy, Big Beef and Early Girl are still on the list and will probably always be there. After all, you can’t ever get too much of a good thing like homegrown tomatoes.

Meet many more veggies, herbs and flowers from Bonnie Plants and get tips on how to grow them at bonnieplants.com; you’ll find Bonnie Plants at major stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as independent garden centers and hardware stores.

Kathy is gardening columnist for the Daily Press, Newport News, Va.; email her at kvanmullekom@aol.com; follow her at roomandyard.com/diggin, Facebook.com/kathyvanmullekom, Pinterest.com/digginin and Twitter.com/diggindirt.

© 2012 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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