Above-ground vegetables are perfect if you don’t have enough root space. They are the answer to rocky soil or shallow containers.
To avoid any confusion, by above-ground vegetables, we mean vegetables that grow their edible, intended-for-harvest parts above the ground. These parts could be leaves, buds, shoots, flowers and fruits growing on vines and flowers. Because these parts grow above the ground, above-ground vegetables don’t need much root space.
The exact opposite would be root (aka underground) vegetables. They include potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes etc. With these root vegetables, the edible, intended-for-harvest parts grow underground. Therefore, they need more root space than their above-ground counterparts.
However, it is not just about root space. Above-ground vegetables are generally easy to grow and harvest. Some of them also provide continuous harvest. Most importantly, these qualities don’t affect their nutritional value, taste and flavour.
So here is a short list of vegetables that grow above ground. We have also added some growing tips and other helpful details.
Artichoke is more than just an above-ground vegetable because the root is also useful. As a matter of fact, you can find a use for every part of an artichoke plant. However, most people grow it mainly for the above-ground parts. Plus, that is why it made it to this list.
Either way, your artichokes will be ready for harvest within 85 to 100 days. Just make sure the soil is fertile, moist, and well-drained. Also, plant in partial shade and add mulch. Start sowing in April or March.
Fair warning- asparagus requires a lot of patience. They take about three years to mature. However, once they do, you can harvest continuously (multiple times per week) for many years. The health benefits are also incredible. Asparagus helps with blood pressure, digestion and weight loss issues.
Sow in March and ensure the soil is fertile and well-drained.
Apart from protein, here are two reasons to consider growing beans. Reason one, they also provide dietary fibre and antioxidants. Reason two, they can improve your garden soil through nitrogen fixation.
To grow beans, you need nutrient-rich, well-drained and warm soil. You will also need support structures for the vines to climb. Your plant should be ready for harvest in 50-60 days.
Broccoli prefers cool weather and a hearty supply of sunlight. The soil should be slightly acidic, fertile and well-drained. You can add compost to increase fertility.
Sow anytime from March to June and expect your harvest in just 50 to 60 days. Harvest the heads closer to the middle first to encourage your broccoli plant to grow sideways.
Cauliflower is a cool-weather and sun-loving vegetable. We recommend sowing between March and May and ensuring the soil is fertile and well-drained. You can add compost before planting and fertiliser once a month.
Your cauliflower crops will be ready for harvest in 3 to 5 months.
With cucumber, growing is easy if you can meet the soil requirements. Thankfully, it is not over the top. Just ensure that the soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter. You can also add mulch to keep the soil warm and a support structure for the vines. Then prepare for harvest in 50 to 70 days.
Sow cucumber between mid-February and April.
With lettuce, the key is to avoid too much sun and keep the soil cool and moist. You can sow the seeds between late March and Late July. They will be ready for harvest in 3 to 4 weeks. However, this could be longer or shorter, depending on the variety.
Once your lettuce plants are ready, harvest the outer leaves first. Those usually mature faster than the ones closer to the centre.
You can make so many awesome dishes with Okra, also known as ladyfingers. Additionally, they contain a host of nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants, fibre and more.
Okras need 50 to 65 days to reach maturity. Sow in the summer. They love warm weather. They also love warm, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic soil.
Like beans, peas are good sources of protein and antioxidants. They also engage in nitrogen fixation and need support structures for the vines to climb.
You can start sowing between March and June. Ensure peas get full sunlight, frequent watering and fertile soil. Expect harvest in 60 days.
Here is a vegetable that ensures you will never have a bland meal. Let’s not forget the nutritional benefits too. Another advantage of peppers is their compactness, which allows for growing in planters.
Sow between mid-February and late March and expect harvest in 60 to 90 days. Ensure your peppers get enough sunlight and keep the soil warm and fertile.
Pumpkin is a warm-weather vegetable. Sow between late May and early June. Allow a distance of 3 to 5 feet between seeds and ensure your pumpkins get enough sunlight daily. With time, you will also have to add support for the vines.
Your pumpkins will be ready for harvest in 90 to 120 days. Do note that they will need a lot of care and attention in the beginning.
Let’s round up our list with a vegetable that doesn’t need much introduction, tomatoes. There is something you should know, though. Tomatoes need a moderately high level of attention, especially in the beginning and after flowering. So take great care to protect your potatoes from pests and diareses.
Start by ensuring that they get enough sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil. Add compost and mulch in the beginning and fertiliser once a month. The best time to grow Tomatoes is from February to April. Your tomatoes will need 60 to 100 days to mature enough for harvest.
Without a doubt, vegetables that grow above ground often do better on shallow grounds. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t need a good growing medium to ensure a good harvest. All plants prefer a fertile and hospitable soil or potting mix. So do your best to provide that.
Start with the following.
- Add compost to the soil
- Water frequently
- Use a potting mix
- Loose the soil before planting
- Remove weeds, especially before planting