Bush Vegetable Plants: Using Bush Vegetables For Urban Gardens

Multiple Potted Bush Vegetables Growing On Balcony
balcolny garden
(Image credit: ChiccoDodiFC)

Gardening of any ilk is good for the soul, body, and often the pocketbook. Not everyone has a large veggie garden plot; in fact, more and more of us live in space saving condos, apartments, or micro-homes with little room for a garden. For just this reason, if you peruse any gardening catalog, you will find the words miniature and dwarf featured prominently and touted as perfect for the urban gardener. However, did you know that there are many bush vegetables suitable for urban gardens? What are bush vegetables and which bush vegetable plants work for a small garden? Read on to learn more.

What are Bush Vegetables?

Fear not; if you have a balcony, stoop, or access to the roof that has six to eight hours of sun, you too can have fresh herbs and vegetables. There are many dwarf varieties available, or you can vertically grow many vegetables-- or you can plant bush varieties. Just what are bush type vegetables though? Bushes, sometimes called shrubs, are woody, multiple stemmed plants that are low growing. Some vegetables are available growing either along vining habits or as bush type vegetables. Bush varieties of vegetables are perfect for small garden spaces.

Bush Varieties of Vegetables

There are a number of common vegetables that are available in bush type varieties.


Beans are a perfect example of a veggie that either grows along a vine or as a bush vegetable plant. Beans have been cultivated for more than 7,000 years and, as such, are one of the most popular and common vegetables grown-- be it pole or bush type. They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They are available in a variety of colors, from yellow to green to purple, as well as in a variety of pod sizes. Bush beans are suitable for harvest as shell beans, snap beans, or dry beans.


Squash also grows on both vine and bush plants. Summer squash grows on bush plants and is harvested before the rind hardens. There is a myriad of varieties of summer squash to choose from. These include:

Lately, increasing numbers of hybrids have expanded the summer squash options even further, giving any number of bush squash vegetable choices for the urban gardener.


Peppers are also grown on bushes. Native to Central and South America, peppers are of two camps: sweet or hot. As with summer squash, there is a dizzying number of varieties to choose from with a range of colors, flavors, and shapes. Almost any variety of pepper plant will work in an urban setting.


Cucumber plants can also be grown in both vining and bush types. In fact, there are now many bush or compact varieties of cucumbers available that are ideal for growing in a limited space, with many of these requiring only 2 to 3 square feet (.2-.3 sq. cm.) per plant. They are even good choices for growing in containers. Popular bush cucumbers include:

  • Bush Champion
  • Bush Crop
  • Parks Bush Whopper
  • Pickalot
  • Pickle Bush
  • Pot Luck
  • Salad Bush
  • Spacemaster


Lastly, I'm just going to sneak this one in-- tomatoes. Okay, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit, but a lot of people think of them as veggies, so I include them here. Besides, what is a self-respecting gardener to do but grow tomatoes? These contradictions grow from large bushes, almost trees, to smaller cherry tomato varieties. Some good compact tomato varieties for urban settings include:

  • Basket Pak
  • Container Choice
  • Husky Gold
  • Husky Red
  • Patio VF
  • Pixie
  • Red Cherry
  • Rutgers
  • Sundrop
  • Sweet 100
  • Tumbling Tom
  • Whippersnapper
  • Yellow Canary
  • Yellow Pear

There are many more than what is listed here. Again, the choices are endless and there is no doubt at least one (if you can choose just one!) suited to a small planting space.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.