Grow fruit & veg whatever your space
By garden writer Matt Biggs
Growing in specially designed potato bags is a great way to save space; last year I managed a good crop, squeezed between the end of the greenhouse and the fence. I found other uses for the bags, too. Once the potatoes had been lifted it was used for growing courgettes and the bags are large enough to carry wellingtons in the boot of the car, in winter - they’re useful for carrying shopping, too!
Almost any container will do
Lack of space is not a problem when it comes to growing your own - plenty of crops flourish in containers. All they need is adequate rooting space and drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Old wooden wine boxes, storage crates, catering sized tins (with the sharp edges smoothed with a file before use), compost-filled bin liners, builders' dumpy bags and plastic dustbins (for squashes and marrows) are perfect for patios, courtyards and balconies.
Choose fast-growing crops
Try fast-growing summer crops like French bean ‘Delinel’ or ‘Purple Teepee’, peppers, courgettes (‘Parthenon’ produces good crops with a single plant), tomato ‘Vilma’, spring onion ’White Lisbon’ and beetroot ‘Pablo’, carrots, turnip ‘Sweetbell’, lettuces and seedlings for ‘cut and come again’.
Containers can be ornamental, too, like lettuce ‘Lollo Rosso’, with fast growing carrot ‘Early Nantes’ and upright ‘White Lisbon’ spring onions, beetroot ‘Pablo’ and chard ‘Bright Lights’. For single specimen plants try bushy runner beans ‘Hestia’ or ‘Pickwick’ or striped aubergine ‘Calliope’ in a warm, sunny, spot. You can also get a good crop of new potatoes in 30-45cm (12-15in) pots of multi-purpose compost; both ‘Rocket’ and ‘Mimi’ are superb.
Thyme and marjoram tolerate small pots; parsley and mint prefer deep containers and rosemary and dwarf marjoram are happy in hanging baskets.
It is worth experimenting with other varieties too. Don’t let small spaces stop you from growing your own!