Beans are one of the big eye catchers on our balcony this summer; as you’ll soon see we can’t get enough of them. Below we’ve captured some of our favorites of the fruits and veggies in the Better Ways test garden this summer. We hope they will inspire you to think about how much food can be grown in a relatively small space. The options for small containers and what to put in them are endless. This is just the tip of the iceberg. What do you think you would like to grow?
If nothing else, it’s at least a good break from the work day. (Click photos to enlarge for scratch and sniff.)
We chose alpine variety strawberries to plant in small containers. The berries may be small in stature, but what they lack in size they make up for with big flavor. They’re a good choice where space is limited because they tend to be steady producers throughout the whole season, where other varieties drop off after early summer.We love stepping out onto the back porch to pick a few for oatmeal in the mornings.
Reaching towards the sky these bold beans aren’t afraid to dance in the breeze…
An endorsement from a local fan…
Mixed greens from earlier this spring include 2 varieties of lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard.
We started 3 varieties of pole beans in Tater Towers with closed bottoms (Tower Tot) on our back deck, fashioning stands from left over wood and a pyramid of bamboo and twine to climb. We chose to use 2 levels instead of 1 to help protect the beans from the dogs. Despite efforts to knock them over they are doing splendidly. Admittedly, there wasn’t a plan when we put them in, but Mrs. G is a compulsive seed buyer so they had to go somewhere. Now they’re producing like crazy! Everyone is getting beans for Christmas.
I love to watch how pole beans climb. Ever-reaching delicate limbs intertwine as they stretch skyward, giving way to puckered petals and slender fruit. For something so fragile and fleeting, they exhibit such strength and endurance. People should be more like beans, they are the most romantic of things.
And speaking of cute, we’re growing these little fellas for the first time this year. They aren’t growing in a Tower Tot, but they certainly would be a good match. Mexican Sour Gherkins. They’re as big around as your pinky finger and pop with a fresh hint of lemon in your mouth. They are also a great garnish for gin cocktails.
Of course no garden would be complete without potatoes. This spring we placed 2 sets of towers on our driveway and they’ve done very well, as you can see below. It’s almost harvest time and we can barely wait!