Have you ever grown dwarf plants? There are many seeds on the market to try out now, with more showing up yearly. If people show an interest, they become viable for seed companies to stock, instead of being hard to find.
They can be grown in pots, 5 gallon buckets, hydroponic systems, and in raised beds where space counts.
Many dwarf types can be started in late winter, getting an early start to the growing season, while their tall cousins take their sweet time growing. It lets you eat more densely. That is another bonus for small plants. You can grow the plants very close to each other, so a higher output of food.
(On the floor are a number of micro tomato plants growing, where’d they stay until late summer.)
There are many reasons to delve into growing dwarf versions of produce:
- Need to grow indoors (apartment/condo) living.
- Growing on a patio.
- Limited growing space – small backyard of raised beds for example.
- Growing in a greenhouse for year round production.
- Growing in a hydroponic system inside.
- Square-foot gardening is a snap.
Red Robin Tomato (these seeds will show up in stores soon!) We have grown these robust mini tomato plants for the past 3 years. They are heavy producers of full size cherry tomatoes.
Spoon Tomato. An ultra tiny tomato, the size of a green pea! Yes, kids will love it.
Orange Hat Tomato. These are tiny plants, topping out at 9″. These can be grown in patio boxes easily!
Forgotten Heirlooms is a small seed company that specializes in dwarf tomato plants. Like MANY. I grew quite a few in the summer of 2021. What’s neat is the packages of seeds are not big, so you don’t feel overwhelmed that you are buying too many types.
Dwarf Siberian Kale here and here. Unlike regular kale, this tops out at 16″ or so. It’s quick growing, and you can cut and grow multiple times. I find the leaves to be so much more tender. It’s one of the few kales I like eating.
Tiny Bok Choy. Bok Choy can grow quite large, and in early season can bolt to seed and bitterness if we get a hot spell. The dwarf version allows quick growing and harvesting. It’s also perfect for soups!
Little Gem Lettuce. A tiny romaine lettuce that is super crisp. Great for early season growing.
Mixed Mesclun Lettuce Mix. While not necessarily dwarf, you can cut early and keep growing, and they can be used for microgreens.
Kelvedon Wonder Garden Pea. I have grown this one multiple times. While the pole peas are taking their sweet time to grow their long plants, these are putting on food. They can flop over, but really do produce heavily. You can easily have 2 crops come and go before the pole versions are even doing one. And they are a great late summer planting, sow around August 1st for early fall peas.
Sugar Daddy Snap Peas. These are semi-dwarf at 24″.
Sugar Bon Snap Peas. 12″ to 24″ high, these work well in square-foot beds.
Bush Green Peas. Just look for bush, and under 24″ high.
Dwarf Tamarillo. I have not grown this yet, but hope to try it out.
Dwarf Lemon Cilantro. Cilantro loves to bolt to seed as soon at it sense any heat approaching, but often that’s right when the plant is finally close to being grown enough to harvest. Grow a dwarf version and you may well be harvesting in time.
Butterbush Butternut Squash. While not what most think of dwarf, for squash this is. It takes up a lot less space, where most butternut loves to sprawl.
Henderson’s Bush Lima Bean. Bush beans are a good use of space. They produce a lot, but don’t take the time of pole beans.
Bush Beans. Many of Ed Hume’s green/purple/yellow beans are bush. They grow well in square-foot beds and even pots. Nice production and the beans don’t take long to grow.
Biquinho Yellow Pepper. A 24″ dwarf hot pepper plant.
Radishes. Most types are naturally small, making a great container crop. Just avoid Japanese types that grow super long (these are for breaking up hard soil and feeding pigs with).
Microgreens. You can grow these in a window sill, in a flat container. Cut and enjoy, in a very short time. You can grow them over and over in the cold months inside.
Garlic. Short on space? You can grow garlic, both soft and hard neck, in any container that has depth.
Ozette Potatoes. No, they are not a dwarf, but compared to many other potato types, these grow very well in 5 gallon buckets and are delicious.
I hope this gets you thinking about new things to grow.