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Dwarf and Miniature Vegetables for Containers


Container vegetable gardenMiniature, midget, and dwarf vegetables are good selections for container growing. True dwarf varieties at full maturity have edible parts that are smaller in size than ordinary vegetable varieties and cultivars. Miniatures, midgets, and dwarfs differ from vegetables that are sold as “baby” vegetables–those are generally full-sized cultivars picked before maturity. Baby corn, for example, is most often ordinary corn harvested early just as the silk emerges from the husks.

Dwarf and miniatures require little above soil growing space and are well suited for containers. But because the plants and fruits are smaller, these crops can not be expected to perform the kitchen duties or full-sized varieties. Consider dwarfs and midgets for side-dishes or stir-fries.

As for growing miniature vegetables, apart from spacing and often early harvest, normal growing practices apply. Miniature vegetables have the same soil, water, nutrient, and light requirements as ordinary varieties.

MINIATURE VEGETABLE VARIETY Days to harvest DESCRIPTION
 BEANS  Three to nine inches apart
 Dwarf Bees  80  18- to 24-inch runner
 Thorogreen  68  18-inch tall Lima
 BEETS  Two to 3 inches apart
 Burpee’s Gold Beet  55  1-inch diameter
 Galdiator  54  Golf-ball size
 Spinel  52  1½-inch round
 Chioggia  55  Italian heirloom
 CABBAGE  5 gallon container, 10″ apart
 Baby Head  72  2½-inch heads
 Modern Dwarf  65  4-inch heads
 CANTALOUPE  5 gallon container per plant
 Early Sugar Midget  60  Medium vine
 Midget Muskmelon  60  3-foot vines
 Minnesota Midget  63  4-inch melons
 Short ‘n Sweet  62  Bushy
 CARROTS  One to 2 inches apart
 Bunny Bite  65  1½ inch root
 Little Finger  65  Cylindrical
 Short ‘n Sweet  68  4-inch roots taper
 Thumbelina  60  Bite-size
 Tiny Sweet  65  3-inch roots
 CORN  5 gallon container, 3 plants per
 Baby Asian  65  4-5 inches ears
 Faribo Golden Midget  60  30-inch plants
 Golden Midget  60  2- to 3-foot stalks
 Golden Miniature  54  5-inch ears
 CUCUMBER  5 gallon container, 15″ apart
 Baby Cucumber  52  Bushy vine, early
 Bush Whopper  55  No runners
 Little Minnie  52  Bushes to 2 feet
 Midget  50  2-foot vines, early
 Patio Pik  55  Slicer for baskets
 Pot Luck  56  18- to 24-inch plant
 EGGPLANT  5 gallon container, 15″ apart
 Early Black Egg  65  5-inch fruit, tender
 Easter Egg  65  2-3 inches long
 Little Fingers  68  6- to 8-inch long fruit
 Morden Midget  65  Bush, earliest fruit
 Nagaoka New Kissin  65  4-inch fruit, early
 Ornamental White  60  Early, 2-inch fruits
 Purple Pickling  70  Tiny eggplants
 Slim Jim  65  Pickling, very small
 LETTUCE  Four to 10 inches apart
 Midget  55  Buttercrunch
 Sweet Midget Cos  60  5 inches tall, upright
 Tom Thumb  65  Tennis-ball size, Buttercrunch
 ONIONS  Two to three inches apart
 Barletta  70  Small, round pickling
 Quicksilver  70  Small pearl
 Silver Queen  70  Small pearl
 PEAS  Two inches apart
 American Wonder  61  12-inch plants, early
 Greater Progress  62  18-inch vine
 POTATOES  Six to 8 inches apart
 Ladyfinger  80  4- to 5-inches long
 PUMPKINS  5 gallon container per plant
 Jack-Be-Little  90  3 inches across
 Mini-Jack  90  3- to 4-inch fruit
 Wee-B-Little  85  2- to 4-inch fruit
 SQUASH-SUMMER  Twelve to 20 inches apart
 Benning’s Green Tint  50  Scallop squash
 Cousa  50  Lebanese, 4 inches long
 SQUASH-WINTER  Twelve to 20 inches apart
 Jersey Golden Acorn  50  Pick golf-ball sized, compact growth
 TOMATOES  5 gallon container per plant
 Droplet  65  Determinate, abundant
 Early Salad  45  6- to 8-inches
 Patio  70  15- to 30-inches, early
 Pixie  50  24-inch vine
 Presto  60  Long season, early
 Pretty Patio  70  30 inches tall, abundant
 Red Cushion  65  18 inches high, cherry
 Salad Top  50  18 inches high
 Small Fry  60  Heavy cropper, early
 Stoke’s Alaska  55  18-inch bush, early
 Tiny Tim  50  15-inch vine, early
 Toy Boy  60  2 feet tall, early
 Tumblin’ Tom  55  20- to 24-inch vine
 WATERMELON  5 gallon container, 12″ apart
 Burpee Sugar Bush  80  6-8 pounds
 Family Fun  88  Slightly oblong
 Golden Midget  65  8 inches round
 Lollipop  70  3-5 pounds
 Market Midget  69  3-5 pounds, sweet
 New Hampshire Midget  68  7 inches in diameter, short season
 Petite Sweet  65  8 pounds, extra sugar
 Sugar Baby  80  8 inches in diameter, sweet
 Sugar Ball  65  12-15 pounds, multi-fruit
 Sugar Doll  72  8-10 pounds, sweet
 Sugar Lumps  78  8-9 inches in diameter
 Yellow Doll  68  3-5 pounds
 You Sweet Thing  70  12-13 pounds, round, striped

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11 Comments

  1. Steve, thanks for this post since I’ve been researching more about mini-veggies lately. However, I have a quick question for you. I just finished reading “Growing Midget Vegetables at Home” by Grant and Gilmore and I’m waiting on “Gardening with the New Small Plants” by Allen; however, both of these books are a bit old. So, do you know of any more recent books that have been published on growing mini/midget/dwarf veggies? Thanks …

    • I would suggest checking books on container vegetable gardening; many list dwarf and miniature vegetable varieties. “Bountiful Container” by Rose McGee and Maggie Stuckey is good reading.

  2. I appreciate the information you provide here. I have a type of miniature insulated greenhouse that allows people to grow vegetables during off-growing season. It works beautifully growing organic produce and is a product that I am trying to get produced and marketed. These miniature varities of otherwise large varieties are what are needed for these units.

    Alan Millard

    • Many dwarf veggie varieties are available from seed growers–check online searching for the variety you want to grow. Some garden centers may carry dwarf varieties, but you may have to search a bit.

  3. Dear Sirs,
    My name is Pete Pond and I’m with Aeroponics Global Initiatives and we manufacture aeroponic growing equipment for the home grower all the way to large commercial greenhouse growers. In our home system we can put 30, 60, and up to 90 plant sites into a 24″ diameter space with its own centrally located water and nutrient system. In our commercial system we can put 30, 60, 90, and up to 120 plant sites again in a 24″ diameter space with it’s own centrally located water and nutrient system. The only difference between the home system and the commercial system, besides the number of plant sites, is that in the commercial system we connect the towers together. Each group of towers is called a section and has it’s own centrally located water and nutrient system. Say you want to harvest 900 heads of lettuce every week you would need 10 towers with 90 plant sites in each tower. Now if your growth cycle is 6 weeks you would need 6 sections. This way you can harvest and replant a section every week. Our system is perfect for mini-veggies, please visit our web site at http://www.agifarms.com. If you would like you can call me at (855) 514-1191 or you can email me at petep@agifarms.com. Thank you.
    Sincerely
    Pete Pond

    • One watermelon plant per 5-gallon container; a larger container — 7 or 10 gallons –would be better. The plant will draw all of its nutrients and moisture from the soil in the container–the more soil the better,

  4. I grow several varieties of bush beans, dwarf peas, and dwarf / micro tomatoes – none are mentioned here. Are these listed here very specific to an area? Some of mine are rather rare, but others are the most prominent on seed sites in North America.

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