Want to grow your own fruit and vegetables but think you don’t have space – well think again! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a garden big enough to include a dedicated fruit and vegetable patch as any space you have – whatever size – offers the potential to grow your own food.
All you need to do is decide what you’d like to grow, mix in a little imagination, the right growing conditions and some innovative solutions and in no time at all you can turn any space – from a barren balcony to a compact courtyard – into a productive patch!
You can choose pots and containers to suit your garden style but don’t limit yourself as the possibilities include…
A great way to maximise space by taking your fruit and veg vertical – and suitable for tumbling tomatoes, alpine strawberries, compact herbs such as parsley, thyme and mint, cucumber, peppers and chillies – or even a few pea or bean plants to trail over the sides.
As when you’re planting any hanging basket, use a liner to contain your growing medium. Don’t forget to puncture some holes for drainage, and remember to cut holes if you’re going to be planting through the sides.
You can use any suitable compost, but it’s a good idea to add a slow-release fertiliser to minimise the feeding you’ll need to do. And plants in hanging baskets are always thirsty, so you’ll need to remember to water daily, and top up the feed when necessary.
Previously only really considered for tomatoes, growbags are a real space-saver and can be used anywhere there isn’t soil. These self-contained bags are effectively mini fruit and veg patches, containing everything your plants require to get them off to a good start – all you need to do is add plants, feed, water, and harvest!
Although they’re (obviously!) still good for tomatoes, you could also try…
- dwarf French beans
- kohl rabi
- short root crops such as radishes, baby beetroot and spring onions
Growbags don’t have drainage holes when you buy them and, although the compost in them is designed to work without holes, we’d recommend that you puncture some before you plant – and you should water fairly sparingly at first until your plants are established.
You should also place your growbag in a growbag tray, as this aids drainage and allows even water flow around your growbag.
Once your plants are growing strongly, you’ll need to increase watering to keep up with demand – and it’s also a good idea to add a weekly feed of diluted liquid tomato feed (or a general purpose feed) as your plants will quickly use the nutrients available in the compost which came in your bag.
Window boxes are great for crops such as salad leaves, carrots, herbs and even beans if you provide support – our top tips include…
- Using suitably-sized containers – at least 15cm across for herbs such as basil, while a couple of beans, a handful of carrots or a scattering of salad leaves would be perfect in a 25cm pot.
- Always choosing the deepest pots and window boxes you can, as these mean you can grow a wider variety of veg.
- Making sure your containers and window boxes are properly fixed and supported, as they’ll be heavy once they’re full.
- Using compost designed for containers as this will have extra nutrients and should retain water more efficiently – look for soil or loam-based composts, those with plant food and water-retaining granules.
- As with planting any container, put a drainage layer of gravel or crocks at the bottom, then add your compost and lightly firm it down – give it enough water to be just moist and you’re ready to plant!
And finally, the wider the window sill the better, as you’ll be able to use bigger containers – and if it catches the rain too then this will save you some watering time!
Also suitable for use anywhere there isn’t soil, veg trugs are best used with a liner to keep the compost separate from the wood (which helps to maintain the condition of your trug) and are available in a range of sizes. Whatever size trug you choose select the final position – ideally a nice sheltered, sunny spot which allows easy access – before you fill it with compost, because once it’s full, it will be heavy and difficult to re-position.
As veg trugs are raised, this also makes them very accessible too – great for those who don’t enjoy bending!
- spring onions
You’ll need to keep everything watered and it’s also a good idea to feed weekly once your plants are growing strongly.
Potato Growbags & Planters
No space for potatoes in your garden? Then grow them in potato bags or planters!
Using specialised bags and planters allows you control the area where your potatoes are planted, and makes them easy to look after and also to harvest – all you need to do is dig around and find them!
Add a few inches of compost to the bottom or your bag or planter, plant your seed potatoes and then fill with enough compost to cover your tubers. Place your bag or planter in full sun, keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy), and top up with compost as the potatoes sprout above the level of your growing medium. Once the compost is at the top of the bag, allow the plants to flower and die back – and then you can harvest your potatoes!
Any other suitable container!
You can also use literally any container which is suitable for planting – from old wellingtons and boots to kettles and jugs, lined wooden crates, cans and bags – to add quirky, unique style to your garden – just remember to add some drainage holes and keep your plants fed and watered.
We have a great range of planters, veg trugs, growbags, trays and hanging baskets in-store – plus all the seeds, plug plants, compost, feed and other accessories you’ll need to keep your plants thriving and productive. So pop in today – and get on track for a bumper harvest!