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Aug 4, 2013 11:28 AM

Container veggies to plant now - inland OC, CA????

My best season ever of container heirloom tomatoes is ending and I'd like to plant something to enjoy in the fall. Very limited space; just 3 large pots (20 gallons?) Any squash that can grow upright on a tomato frame? What else? I'm looking for protein-ish veggies. Is eggplant a possible unity? My garden books are in a box lost in the garage. TIA

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  1. There is a small butternut squash that is only about 2 lbs you could try. If you want to try eggplant I think you would have better luck with the Japanese type. I grow potatoes in containers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BeefeaterRocks

      Picked up a couple of eggplant varieties and a zucchini plant. My trusted nurseryman (Laguna Hills Nursery) says they'll grow on tomato cages. Also trying a second tomato planting. Never worked before, but worth a try if it stays warm.

      1. re: BeefeaterRocks

        I'm inland San Diego county, so similar temps/conditions to the OP. Yes, I grow Japanese eggplant in containers, and they'll keep growing for a few more months.

      2. I'm in the IE so just a bit east of you and I'm doing another round of tomatoes, new zucchini and bean plants. My peppers and eggplants are still going full throttle but I don't know that you'd have enough time to get them well established before the weather changes since they're heat lovers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: weezieduzzit

          I went to my favorite nurseryman and am trying another round of tomatoes and also eggplant & zucchini. He's been a great resource for 25 years, so I'm hoping.

          Weather here can stay breather hot through October, so we may be OK. One of the eggplants fruited while still in the original container. Good start.

        2. i am familiar with your general area (PS to Riverside and Redlands, out to Costa Mesa, Balboa etc) - however, am in the Pac NW -

          i am curious whether you can grow Swiss Chard in your part of So Cal? (not in the summer in the IE, of course when it's smokin' hot - but what about in the winter?)

          it looks nice and is decorative - esp the one called Bright Lights - AND is very healthy nutritionally speaking for humans (and in my garden, deer ; ) - and all you do is snip off SOME the leaves and allow the root and stem to grow more leaves

          if you can grow spinach or lettuce in the cooler months - then chard would do well in a pot.

          re: squash - i don't know about growing anything but little zucchini in pots - i like zucchini and the flat yellow summer squash (kind of shaped like a daisy) because you can harvest at any stage in its growth - whereas the "winter storage" type squash, you have to wait for it to ripen fully (grow to its full size) before harvest. Up here, that's a limited to summer months only project.

          ... maybe in your treasure trove in your garage you have the "Bible" of western gardening - Sunset Garden Book - it's great - note that I believe it has its own zone numbering system that they have worked on for years - I like this book - make sure you're looking at the most up-dated version

          before you dive in to your garage, this is a handy tool - Sunset Plant Finder -

          8 Replies
          1. re: Georgia Strait

            Tomatoes are doing fine so far. It's been hotter than normal this year, so I'm hoping to get to eat some. Have one eggplant about 4" long and half a dozen zucchini flowers. So far so good.

            Hoping to be able to support the heavy veggies using plant tape in the tomato cages. Our veteran nurseryman says it should work.

            Re chard: I'm only trying this fall thing in a small way. Seemed to me that a leafy veg like that would need more room than an 18" wide pot to get enough to make it worthwhile.

            1. re: Midlife

              i realize you might have limited OVER-all space - but i'd certainly try some chard in a smallish (18" container) - the reason i say this is cuz it lasts a long time if you harvest carefully

              i look fwd to learning more about your gardening area - we really enjoy VFR (visit friends and rels) down there - desert to sea - such a lovely part of the world

              my dream has always been to visit the various test gardens - incl Sunset up in Menlo Park (near Stanford CA)

              1. re: Georgia Strait

                We are leading this home and it is low-maintenance landscaped, so almost zero planting area available without removing something (not desirable under the circumstances). I'd asked out 25+ year terrific nurseryman and he suggested what we've planted. I'm sure out Sunset books are around somewhere, but are old, though I can't think somethink line Chard would be time sensitive. May just look on line to see if I dare plant some from seed now and find one more pot.

              2. re: Midlife

                Midlife, when did you put in your tomatoes? I start in late March, so my harvest is long done. But, I have tons of 'maters in the freezer now.

                1. re: pine time

                  Last picked March planting in early August. It's been so warm that I decided to try a couple new plants in 4" pots. Our nurseryman said we should be able to get in a new crop in the same soil. Usually even the pots take a long time to start bearing fruit (ie 60-75 days or whatever that variety info says). This time I have some fruit starting after just 2 weeks. Maybe because it's been so warm here?

              3. re: Georgia Strait

                Chard grows like weeds here in the Inland Empiire. I've even planted Bright Lights in my front flower beds as a back border for height and color (as well as eating.)

                1. re: weezieduzzit

                  ... and the chard goes thru the summers in Riverside / Redlands?

                  maybe you have an irrigation system -

                  what variety of chard? (Bright Lights?)

                  i'm impressed! (and envious - i can hardly make a geranium or impatiens go all big and fancy looking up here near Vcvr BC ocean despite our long hours of light in summer - it's the short season and cool temps, I suppose

                  that said - when you hear about huge vegetables in Alaska (look up record for biggest cabbage etc) - it is amazing - the flower baskets and planters - i mean, they seem to grow overnight (well, I suppose they do considering it is sunny at night in Anchorage at solstice June 23 or so)

                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                    I wish I had an irrigation system! :) I hand water everything. How long chard (and kale,) lasts depends on the year. Many of my "fall" plants from last year lasted until June and early July this year but it is all of a sudden horribly hot and unbelievably humid so the garden has gone into maintenance mode and I've put the brakes on planting anything until at least the first of October. I've grown "Bright Lights" and and Italian heirloom variety that I don't remember the name of but I'm pretty sure I picked up the seeds on a whim at the drugstore.

                    We just had a great big freakish storm that downed trees all over the neighborhood and flooded the heck out of everything. That is VERY unusual for here. It's been 5 days and I haven't had to water yet, sticking my fingers in the soil is telling me I won't have to water for at least another 3 or 4 days.