Grow tomatoes & eggplant in a small space, or try the hottest peppers in the world

Eggplant Patio Baby from AAS
Eggplant ‘Patio Baby’ can be grown in a container. Photo courtesy All-America Selections

by Connie Oswald Stofko

People often tell me they have no room to garden, but if you have room for a pot or hanging basket, you have room to garden. Gardening in containers counts as gardening!

Today the folks at Lockwood’s Greenhouses tell us about a smaller, compact version of eggplant that’s well suited to containers, as well as a cascading cherry tomato that you can grow in a hanging basket.

Then they tell us about bhut jolokia, the hottest pepper in the world.

You can get these plants at Lockwood’s, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.

Eggplant ‘Patio Baby’

‘Patio Baby’ is a smaller, compact version of eggplant that you can grow in a pot, said Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s.

Eggplant ‘Patio Baby’ was chosen as a 2014 Vegetable Award Winner by All-America Selections, an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties of plants.

‘Patio Baby’ is a very early and highly productive eggplant that will continue to produce fruit throughout the entire season. It gets deep purple, egg-shaped fruit that should be harvested at baby size, that is, two to three inches long.

While other eggplants have thorns on the leaves, ‘Patio Baby’ doesn’t. You won’t prick your fingers when harvesting them and you don’t have to worry about guests or small children getting a bad surprise.

Cherry tomato ‘Rapunzel’

Tomato Rapunzel from Vegetalis
Tomato ‘Rapunzel’ is a cascading plant that can be grown in a hanging basket. Photo courtesy Vegetalis

In the fairy story, Rapunzel had long, cascading hair, and you can see how this cherry tomato plant with the cascading trusses got its name. (A truss is  a group or cluster of smaller stems where flowers and fruit develop.)

Not only can you use this plant in patio pots, you can use it in a hanging basket, said Buchanan. That makes an interesting and attractive plant for your garden. You can also plant it in a bed and use a tomato cage, allowing the trusses to hang over the ribs of the cage.

You can get up to 40 tomatoes per truss. They won’t ripen all at the same time, so you can pick them over a period of time.

Read more about growing fruit bushes and even trees in containers.

The hottest pepper in the world

Pepper-Bhut Jolokia courtesy FrontalAgritech
You can grow bhut jolokia peppers, which have been declared the hottest peppers in the world by Guiness World Records. Photo courtesy Frontal Agritech

Lockwood’s carries one or two varieties of pepper in every heat category from mild to hot, said Jill Kisker, grower at Lockwood’s.

If you’re really daring, you could try bhut jolokia, named by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the hottest pepper on earth. (The pronunciations I’ve seen vary, but it’s something like “boot joe-LOW-kee-ah.”) Bhut jolokia is also called a ghost pepper.

But be careful; bhut jolokia is not just spicy, it’s dangerously hot. You have to wear gloves when handling this pepper. Don’t rub your eyes.

Yes, you have to take those precautions when handling many kinds of hot peppers, but these are seriousy hot.

Bhut jolokia is 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. On the Scoville scale, which measures the heat units of peppers, the Bhut jolokia rates more than 1 million units. Compare that to a jalapeno pepper, which is between 1,000 and 4,000 units.

Bonus tip: While you’re planning your vegetable garden, don’t limit yourself to annual plants. You can grow food on trees and shrubs that come back every year.

1 Comment on “Grow tomatoes & eggplant in a small space, or try the hottest peppers in the world

  1. Great way for fresh produce in a small place. I just got back from Lockwoods today. So many great looking plants.

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