Want to grow vegetables but don’t have much space? No problem – a few pots on a sunny balcony or patio is all you need to get started, and there’s nothing to beat the taste of your own fresh-picked veg! Here are five easy vegetables to grow in containers.
Both bush and cordon tomatoes can be grown in containers, although you will need to tie cordon tomatoes into support canes as they grow. Plant young plants out in late spring once the frosts are past, in containers or growbags filled with multi-purpose compost. When growing tomatoes in containers, it’s important to keep the compost consistently moist to avoid the fruits splitting after heavy watering. Once the flowers appear, feed the plants fortnightly with a liquid tomato feed. Harvest once the tomatoes have developed a good colour.
Cut and come again lettuce is easy to grow from seed and grows well in pots or even in a windowbox on a sunny windowsill. Water regularly and feed fortnightly with a balanced liquid feed. Pick the outer leaves as needed – you should be able to get 3-4 harvests from each plant. Once the leaves start to get tough or taste bitter, pull the plant up and compost it. Sow a new batch of seeds every 2-3 weeks to give you fresh salads all summer.
3. French beans
You can grow full-size French bean plants in containers, provided you give them supports to climb up, but if you don’t want a huge Jack-and-the-beanstalk plant on your patio, you can also grow dwarf French beans in containers. These grow to around 50cm tall and will provide an ample crop of beans. Plant them out in late spring after the frosts are over. Feed and water regularly, and pick the beans when young and tender for the best flavour (regular picking will also encourage the plants to keep producing beans for longer). French bean ‘Borlotto’ and ‘Purple Teepee’ are both excellent dwarf varieties for pots.
Quick-growing and easy, radishes can be sown outdoors from March to mid-August in pots filled with multipurpose compost. Short-rooted varieties are best for pots – sow them in partial shade, shielded from hot midday sun, water regularly in dry periods, and you should be able to harvest your first radishes in little as 4 weeks from sowing. Sow successionally for a supply all summer long.
Courgettes grow well in containers, and it’s easy to give them all the food and water they need to thrive. Choose dwarf varieties like ‘All Green Bush’ or ‘Midnight’ and plant in a large container. Place in a sunny spot and water regularly. Once the flowers appear, feed fortnightly with a liquid high-potash fertiliser like tomato feed, and pick the courgettes while still young to keep the plant producing more.
Get your container vegetable garden off to a great start with a visit to our centre! With our great ranges of pots, compost, seeds and seedlings, you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for.