Question about home growing

Joined Feb 6, 2004
Hey guys,

I wanted your advice on growing your own herbs and vegetables at home. I live in a neighborhood where my backyard and even the back of the house don't really get direct sunlight, besides the fact that there isn't any room for a garden. That being said the only place that I see as feasible for growing is inside. What's my best route? Hydroponics? I'm not looking into doing anything huge, just to be able to have some fresh stuff that I grew myself. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
What about the front yard? Most herbs don't need the huge amounts of direct sun that peppers and tomatoes do, but they do need some. However you don't need actual garden space to grow loads of veggies and herbs. Container gardening is great for a number of reasons, one of which is you can grow your plants where the sun is. And if you have a garden with heavy, clay soil, potting soil gives you guaranteed good drainage. You do need to feed the plants more often though.
Although I have some bedding space, I'm growing some tomatoes, peppers, kale, lettuces, basil, Italian parsley, marjoram, thyme, sage, dill, chives, mint, garlic, purslane, and cilantro in pots. They give me more space to work with and let me take advantage of where the sun actually shines.

If you are interested, a great book on container food gardening is: The Bountiful Container by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey.
Joined Feb 6, 2004

I wish I could use my front yard, but I don't have one. The pots are an interesting idea though. What kind of pots are you using, how many, are they on shelves? That kind of stuff. How is the care for them also? I know you said they get fed more often than other plants. It sounds like you have a great herb/veg garden, something along the lines of what I'd like to get going once it gets a little warmer.
Joined Jul 3, 2002
Hi Tim,

Different plants require different pots. Their root development needs determine the depth. Tomatoes can do OK in as little as a 5 gal. pot, but I'm using 15 gal. pots and they are definitely happier. Herbs can do fine in much smaller containers. The book I recommended goes over all of that.
Use potting soil (which isn't soil at all) rather than garden dirt. I add compost (you can make your own or buy it bagged). Feeding again depends on the plant. Some like regular fertilizer, others don't. But nutrients (especially Nitrogen) wash away faster in pots than beds.
What are you thinking of growing?
Joined Feb 6, 2004
Hey Emily,

I am mostly interested in getting an herb garden going, but the thought of homegrown tomatoes and other veggies is very tempting. I want to be able to use the herbs in my cooking, but also to have another project to keep me busy around the house.
Joined Dec 28, 2003
I do a two tier pot that the local nursury sells with herbs in the top pot and baby lettuces and baby chard in the bottom for salads. It works okay with a wide pot about 6 to 8 inches deep. The deeper the better especially for tomatoes. My sweet 100 cherry tomatoes are the only ones I've really gotten to thrive in a pot by the front door of the apartment with a partial day of sun. The lettuces and some herbs do okay with a little more shade. Love the words in your signature! I agree wholeheartedly!
Joined Feb 19, 2004
Hi Tim,I have grown herbs and veggies indoors with natural light. I have hanging pots in all the winows of mixed herbs and grow cherry tomatoes in the same way. I also have all the sills filled with herbs in the windows with light. It doesn't have to be direct, best is morning sun. It gives a nice look the the windows as well as fresh produce all year round.
Joined Dec 30, 1999

Depending on how much you want to grow, you may consider shelving. That way you can have a central location and set up grow lights (quite inexpensive). Hydroponics is certainly an option as well.

Technically, you can grow anything in a container. Since you are looking for smaller root systems for space efficiency, here is a list of vegetables for container gardening:

You can grow many cultivars of vegetables in containers and they don't have to be miniature because they have shallow root systems...

Vegetables for Container Gardening

Beans: Bush Romano, Bush Blue Lake, Tender Crop, Royal Burgundy, Henderson Bush, Jackson, Wonder Bush, Topcrop, Greencrop, Contender, (Pole) Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, Bush Romano, Bush Blue Lake, Tender Crop, Lima: Henderson Bush, Jackson, Wonder Bush

Beets: Little Egypt, Early Red Ball, Asgrow Wonder,’ ‘Detroit Dark Red,’ ‘Greentop Bunching,’ ‘Monoking Burgundy, Red Ace, Little Egypt, Early Red Ball, Early Wonder, Detroit Dark Red, Boltardy, Burpee Golden

Broccoli: Green Comet, DeCicco, Green Comet, DeCicco, Spartan, Italian Green Sprouting

Brussels Sprouts: Jade Cross, Long Island Improved

Cabbage: Dwarf Morden, Red Ace, Early Jersey Wakefield, Dwarf Modern, Red Ace, Early Jersey Wakefield, Little Leaguer, Earliana, Copenhagen Market, Ruby Ball Hybrid, Red Head Hybrid

Carrot: Short & Sweet, Danvers Half Long, Tiny Sweet, Royal Chantenay,’ ‘Red Cored Chantenay,’ ‘Long Type Chantenay,’ ‘Danvers 126’ and ‘Orlando Gold, Baby Finger Nantes, Goldenhart, Little Finger, Royal or Red Cored Chantenay, Ox Hart, Baby Finger

Chinese Cabbage: Michihili, Burpee Hybrid, Michihili, Burpee Hybrid

Cucumbers:Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Crispy, Salty, Patio Pik, Spacemaster, Pot Luck, Bush Whopper, Bush Champion, Burpee Hybrid, Salad Bush, Parks Burpless Bush, Burpless Early Pik, Patio Pik, Spacemaster, Pot Luck

Edible Flowers

Garlic Most Varieties

Green Onions:Beltsville Bunching, Crysal Wax, Evergreen Bunching


Lettuce:Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, Romaine, Dark Green Boston, Ruby, Bibb, Green Ice, Red Sails, Lolla Rosa, Buttercrunch, Nevada, Bibb, Parris Island Cos, Salad Bowl, Slobolt, Tendercrisp, Black-Seeded Simpson and Oakleaf, mustard cress, Salad Bowl, Ruby, Grand Rapids, Oak Leaf, Buttercrunch, Dark Green Boston, Little Gem, Bibb

Onions: White Sweet Spanish, Yellow Sweet Spanish

Parsley:Evergreen, Moss Curled

Radishes: Champion,’ ‘Red Prince,’ ‘Scarlet Globe, Cherriette, White Icicle,’ ‘Chinese Winter, April Cross, ‘Easter Egg, Red Flame, Cherry Belle, Icicle, Cherry Belle, Icicle, Champion, Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, (White) Icicle

Spinach: Dark Green Bloomsdale

Peppers:Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, Canape, (Hot) Red Cherry, Jalapeno
Eggplant:Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom, Slim Jim, Ichiban, Slim Jim, Ichiban, Black Beauty, Modern Midget, Mission Bell, Small Ruffled Red, Thai Green, Bambino, Sweet Banana, Yolo Wonder, Long Red Cayenne, Sweet Banana, Valencia (Hybrid), Jackpot (Hybrid), Camelot, Jalapeno, Red Chili, Giant Thai, Super Cayenne II, Sweet Banana, Yolo Wonder, Long Red Cayenne, Bell Boy, Keystone Resistant, California Wonder, New Ace, Red Cherry, Long Red Cayenne, Jalapeno, Thai Hot

Squash:Dixie, Gold Neck, Early Prolific Straightneck, (Green) Zucco, Diplomat, Senator, Scallopini, Baby Crookneck, Creamy, Golden Nugget, Gold Rush, Zucchini (most varieties)

Tomatoes: Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Sweet 100 Patio, Burpee's Pixie, Toy Boy, Early Girl, Better Boy VFN, Agriset 761, Better Boy, Celebrity, Colonia, Mountain Fresh, Mountain Gold, Mountain Spring, Park’s Improved Whopper, Sunbeam, Solar Set, Sanibel, Captiva, Sunleaper, Suncrest, Sunrise, Sunpride, Terrific, Cherry Grande, Mountain Belle, Small Fry, Sweet 100, Peto Hybrid 882, Plum Dandy, Tropic, Caruso, Laura, Jumbo, Tropic, Vendor, Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Sweet 100, Patio, Burpee's Pixie, Toy Boy, Early Girl, Better Boy VFN, Pixie, Red Robin, Sugar Lump, Tumblin' Tom (hanging baskets), Patio, Pixie, Tiny Tim, Saladette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Tumbling Tom, Small Fry
Joined Feb 6, 2004
WOW!! I want to thank all of you guys that responded to my question. You all have given me a plethora (bonus word) of ideas. I have a good idea of what I'd like to do now. I'll let you know what I finally come up with. I can't say it enough, you all have been awesome!
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