Home grown fruit and veg can flourish in pots, patios and windowsills.
What could be more satisfying that growing your own delicious fresh fruit and vegetables, and picking them straight from the plant?
You can get great results even in limited space, and growing your own is easy with a bit of know-how. In just weeks you could be enjoying your own produce – and it’s a great way to get children and grandchildren interested in nature.
Here are some winning ideas for creating your own mini allotment at home.
How to grow fruit and veg at home
How to grow strawberries
Strawberries are perfect for a pot or hanging basket. Being off the ground also protects them from slugs.
A 30cm basket will accommodate three to four plants. Combine varieties that crop at different times, like ‘Christine’ in mid-June, ‘Cambridge Favourite’ in June-July, and ‘Cirano’ in July. Tiny alpine strawberries, such as ‘Alexandria’, do well in window boxes and will tolerate some shade. Plant several together for a summer fruit feast.
Grow veg in high-rise plants
Growing your own can be challenging in a small space. French and runner beans, squash, tomatoes and cucumber will all grow vertically – perfect if your floor space is minimal. Plant them in generous-sized pots with a trellis, wigwam or wall to climb, and tie in the stems as they shoot upwards. For juicy autumn fruits, train a thornless blackberry, such as ‘Loch Ness’, over an arch or post – it will produce berries even in partial shade. Cultivate an outdoor vine, such as ‘Brandt’, on wires or along a balcony railing. Once it’s established, you can enjoy your own grape harvest.
Create a mini fruit orchard in a container
Trees don’t have to be planted in the ground. If you room for a large container, try growing your own cordon fruit (apples, pears, plums), which have a single main stem reaching 2-2.5m high. Or turn a large wall or sturdy fence into a fruitful space by training an apple, pear, plum or cherry against it in an ‘espalier’ or fan shape. If your wall faces south, there’s scope to grow peaches, apricots and nectarines, too. In a garden, you could consider the space-saving ‘stepover’ – an apple, pear, plum or gage that grows up to 60cm with long, outstretched branches that form a low fruiting fence to edge a path or lawn.
How to grow salad leaves
Room for a few pots or a small growbag? Then you can enjoy fresh salads all summer long. Top of the crops are ‘cut and come again’ leaves and lettuces, such as the prolific ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Red Salad Bowl’. Fast-growing salad plants such as radishes, pea shoots, spring onions and beetroots are also delicious options. Position them in a sunny spot as they’ll need four hours of sun or more a day. Water and feed them regularly.
Microgreens on a windowsill
No outdoor space? You can grow nutrient-dense microgreens on a windowsill. Fill a tray with compost, soak it and cover it with broccoli, rocket and amaranth seeds. Press the seeds in firmly and keep the tray somewhere warm and dark. Once the seeds have sprouted, in two to three days, move the tray to a bright windowsill. Once leaves appear, snip them off and add to soups, smoothies and stir-fries.
Feeling inspired? Get planting now and you’ll have fresh fruit and veg to enjoy in no time. Enjoy growing your own!