Need to plan your garden? In this article we’ll look at 19 vegetables that grow above ground.
Many of these are good options for container gardens too…perfect for a patio when you don’t have enough soil to grow underground veggies like root veggies. But some of them are just a little too big for containers.
Let’s get into these above ground vegetables.
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Table of Contents
- 1 List of 19 Vegetables that Grow Above Ground
- 1.1 1) Eggplants (aka Brinjal)
- 1.2 2) Tomatoes
- 1.3 3) Peppers
- 1.4 4) Beans
- 1.5 5) Peas
- 1.6 6) Green Onions
- 1.7 7) Pumpkins
- 1.8 8) Squash
- 1.9 9) Okra
- 1.10 10) Cucumber
- 1.11 11) Corn (aka Maize)
- 1.12 12) Lettuce
- 1.13 13) Spinach
- 1.14 14) Kale
- 1.15 15) Broccoli
- 1.16 16) Cauliflower
- 1.17 17) Cabbage
- 1.18 18) Brussels sprouts
- 1.19 19) Collard Greens
- 1.20 Basil (herb)
- 1.21 Mint (herb)
List of 19 Vegetables that Grow Above Ground
Have a scan through the list of vegetables that grow above ground and see which ones interest you, and which ones you can grow at your home.
1) Eggplants (aka Brinjal)
This egg-shaped fleshy vegetable with its purple skin is a part of the nightshade family like tomatoes and peppers.
They are eaten cooked and can be made into tasty dinners like “Eggplant Parmesan.” (YUM!)
You can get tomato plants that produce fruit in a variety of sizes (from cherry tomatoes up to big, plump beefsteak tomatoes), and you can get tomatoes in different colors too such as reds, yellow and green tomatoes.
- Determinant tomatoes produce all their fruit within a short period of time (within about 2 weeks), so pretty much all the tomatoes are produced at once. (Reference)
- Indeterminant variety of tomatoes means it doesn’t produce all its tomatoes at the same time…the tomato production is spaced throughout the growing season. Indeterminant tomatoes tend to be taller, vine-growing tomato plants. (Reference)
Home grown tomatoes can taste amazing! And they can be eaten raw in salads, cooked on pizzas, or used to make tomato sauces and salsa.
They can work well in large container gardens on a sunny patio, or in a raised garden bed.
Peppers are popular vegetables that grow above ground.
You can grow sweet peppers – like bell peppers – or hot & spicy varieties like jalapeno peppers or chili peppers.
- Peppers love the heat and warm soil, so they are perfect for the summer growing season
- Sweet peppers such bell peppers but can be tricky to grow…but the results can be very rewarding
- Peppers can work well in raised garden beds or in container gardens on a patio or balcony
There are LOTS of varieties of beans available.
There are a “bush style beans” or “pole beans” (climbing) varieties.
- The bush beans can work well in most raised garden beds
- A climbing bean variety can grow tall, so you’ll want to have a trellis or other support system for these vigorous plants to climb up
- Green Beans – usually produce all their crop at once…so may want to stagger plantings to continue to get beans throughout the growing season.
Peas are an easy to grow, above ground vegetable that can work well in a regular garden or in a raised garden bed if you can support their tall growth with a trellis.
They are legumes and have beneficial bacteria in the root nodules that can fix nitrogen into a useable form, so they’ll help improve the soil for other vegetables in a crop rotation.
Peas like temperatures in the 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit range, so make sure you plant them soon enough in the growing season to ensure they won’t get too hot.
6) Green Onions
Unlike yellow onions – where the bulbs grow under ground – the green stalk of the green onion is the above ground portion of the plant…this is the part we eat.
These can be grown in a raised garden bed, or in a container garden.
These large gourd vegetables take about 3-4 months to grow and require lots of space…so they are not a good option for raised garden beds.
But if you want to make your own pumpkin pie and carve a jack o’ lantern from a pumpkin you grew yourself, look into growing one of these above ground vegetables.
Squash need space to grow because they can get big…and can spread out across your garden.
For these reasons, they don’t make the best vegetables for a small area. (Unless you build a trellis structure around and above the plants to make use of 3-dimensional space.)
There are lots of varieties of squash such as acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash.
Okra is an easy to grow, above ground vegetable that will continue to produce the edible okra pods throughout the summer if you keep picking the harvestable vegetable as it is produced.
- Okra is good to eat cooked
- May be called Lady’s fingers or Bhindi depending on where you live
Cucumber is another above ground vegetable and it is delicious eaten raw, or can be pickled to make…as you guessed it… pickles!
11) Corn (aka Maize)
This tall vertical-growing vegetable takes about 3-4 months to produce yummy ears of corn.
Corn likes warm weather so it’s a great summertime crop.
There are lots of different varieties of lettuce such as iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red-leafed lettuce and lots more.
Because there are so many kinds, you can find a variety of lettuce to suit different peoples’ tastes and preferences.
These above ground vegetables grow well in cooler weather and don’t do well when it gets too hot or sunny.
They can be planted in containers, but the soil in a container can heat up faster than the soil in your yard, so ensure the container doesn’t get too hot.
You could look into getting a “breathable” container pot such as a Smart Pot.
You can grow spinach in large container pots or in a raised garden.
Most varieties of spinach do not like the hot sun or too much heat so you may want to grow it in the cooler shoulder seasons around summer.
Kale is a dark-green leafy, above ground vegetable that grows well in raised garden beds and even in container pots on a patio. Kale is a hardy plant and will even grow into winter in many locations.
Broccoli is a popular and nutritious vegetable that grows above ground and can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried.
It can even be grown in a container, but you need to choose a container large enough to sustain it.
A 15 gallon container should work for you. And having a container that can “breathe” will ensure the soil stays cooler because broccoli likes cool weather (45-75 degrees Fahrenheit). It will bolt in temperatures above 75-degrees F.
A 15 gallon Smart Pot aeration container is a good choice for growing broccoli in a container.
Cauliflower is another nutritious above ground vegetable that can eaten cooked or raw.
Cauliflower is a good low-carb substitute for rice, and the good news is that you can even grow it in large containers on your balcony or patio.
There are a variety of Cabbages out there…and these above ground vegetables can be used in lots of different recipes.
Cabbage needs fertile soil with compost amendments, and it doesn’t like it too hot.
So plant cabbage in your garden early enough to ensure the head will mature while it is still cool outside.
18) Brussels sprouts
These festive favorites (or perhaps not so favorite) are grown above ground. This plant has large leafy green leaves and the Brussels sprouts themselves are side shoots that grow in between the leaves of the plant.
So the taller you can grow the plant, the more leaves it’ll have thus the more Brussels sprouts it’ll have.
- Takes a long time to grow and harvest this above ground vegetable (can be 3-4 months)
- Because of its large size, it isn’t suited for container gardens
19) Collard Greens
You can grow collards in a container pots and in raised garden beds in addition to a standard garden.
- Collards are a cabbage, but a loose leaf variety instead of the tightly-packed leaves of other cabbage heads.
- The dark greens leaves – the collard greens – are popular in a variety of cooking styles including Southern cooking in the Southern USA, and there are lots of collard greens recipes for you to try.
Basil is a herb, but often goes hand-in-hand in our gardens with vegetables. And when used in recipes it can add a delightful Mediterranean charm to our food.
This herb likes the heat so make sure you give this little sundog the heat and sun it needs.
Mint is another herb, not a vegetable, but it can be found growing in many gardens. In fact, if you’re not careful it will be growing even where you don’t want it too. It can be quite aggressive: so grow it in a contained area where it can’t spread.
This perennial herb can be grown in the partial shade, and works well in containers on a shady patio.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 19 vegetables that grow above ground.
Will you try growing some of these in your garden next year? Or perhaps in pots on your balcony or patio?
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