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How to grow veg when you’re short on space

Grow lots of great food for friends and family in the tiniest garden

Vegetable growing has become really popular in recent years – with Instagram-friendly allotments and gardens showing people growing plants that not only look good but make us feel great too. Celery juice and Sichuan pepper plants are just a couple of the home-grown taste trends this year!

Small gardens, especially in urban areas where an outdoor space is perhaps just a balcony, mean it's worth trying to use every inch of space to create the perfect ‘outdoor room’ for edibles to thrive. Here are five ideas on fitting veg into the tiniest places, taken from the inspirational ‘Glastonbury of gardening', the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

Use these great value and contemporary galvanised wire growing cages to support tomatoes or peppers. Plants can fall over as they get taller so the cage is a great practical way to help them grow upright, let light shine through and make them easy to move from place to place – perfect for a balcony or patio. Other flowering plants and perennials can grow in them too so they’re very versatile and look fantastic.

A rustic reclaimed wooden ladder is perfect to offset pale orange terracotta pots filled with scented herbs, especially in a cottage garden theme. Great for a garden corner or near an outdoor cooking area. You can pot up your favourite edible herbs like rosemary, basil, thyme and try a few unusual varieties such as lime mint.

Etagères (furniture with open shelves), have become an incredibly popular way to display lots of pots and use height up a wall or fence. Plant theatres are also great for balconies or garden corners; often metal, they look fantastic year-on-year in all weathers and bring the inside out into your garden.

Herb wheels, made popular in the Victorian era, feature lots of different herbs in a formal circular or hexagonal design. This circular metal planter in a contemporary shade makes the colours of the salad leaves pop out, adding a twist of urban cool. Just snip your salad as you need it, most will grow more leaves for a while before you sow some new seeds. Veg like spring onions can also grow well in small spaces such as this. Place your planter near your BBQ for handy cooking or use it as an edible focal point in your garden.

Simple ‘living wall’ planters made from planting pockets are perfect for walls, fences or window ledges, turning blank spaces into havens of foliage and vegetables really quickly. There are so many to choose from in different sizes that are space-saving and stylish. Hang up the planter and fill the pockets with recyclable pots or compost, then plant up with fruit, salad leaves or herbs for colour, scent and taste. Just add water and enjoy!

For a more permanent fixture, you can create a bespoke ‘living wall’ from wooden shelves. Painted to fit your garden design, it will really showcase your plants to brilliant effect. This type of shelving could also be used as a space divider, with the structure giving you a natural but substantial screen if your garden is overlooked. You could even put it on castors and move it around for optimum urban chic.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.