How to Grow Baby Vegetables

Overview

Baby vegetables not only look adorable on the plate, they contain all the nutrition of their full-sized counterparts, according to Texas A&M University. While some baby vegetables are merely full-sized varieties harvested very young, some are special varieties of popular vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, squash and beets.

Step 1

Prepare the soil by digging down 6 to 8 inches or building a raised bed and filling it with soil 6 to 8 inches deep. Though baby vegetables themselves are smaller than standard vegetables, the plants themselves, with the exception of root crops, are full-sized, so a garden of baby vegetables will require as much space as a garden of full-sized vegetables.

Step 2

Plant varieties of vegetables that will yield small, or "baby," produce. Choose miniature varieties such as Parmex or Little Finger carrots, Baby Head cabbage, Little Ball beets or Jolly Elf tomatoes. Plant the seeds according to the directions on the package.

Step 3

Plant regular varieties of corn, lettuce and squash. Harvest these vegetables while they are still young and small in order to have baby vegetables for your table.

Step 4

Mulch the plants once the seeds have sprouted. Mulching conserves water and discourages weeds, which can rob plants of needed nutrients. University of Minnesota horticulturalists recommend mulching with a layer of compost 2 to 4 inches deep. The thick layer of compost will smother weeds while adding nutrients to the soil.

Step 5

Harvest the vegetables as soon as they reach the desired size. Baby vegetables reach maturity much faster than their full-size counterparts and will mature beyond the baby stage quickly, so monitor the plants closely. Harvest new vegetables every day during the growing season to avoid letting the vegetables mature past the point of peak flavor and desired size.

Step 6

Eat the harvested vegetables within three days of harvest. Store in the refrigerator if you can't eat them the day they're picked. According to the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center, baby vegetables don't keep as long as full-size varieties.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid overcooking baby vegetables.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Mulch

References

  • Texas A&M: Baby Vegetables
  • Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center: Specialty Vegetables
  • University of Minnesota: Composting and Mulching

Who Can Help

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Specialty Vegetables
Keywords: grow baby vegetables, grow miniature vegetables, grow specialty vegetables

About this Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University. Before turning to freelancing full time, Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.