Your Patio Pots

You may think that because you only have a few pots on the patio that you can’t grow any vegetables. Well, there are restrictions, of course – you are not going to compete with your friends who have an allotment – but with a little careful planning, you can have a succession of small crops and enjoy the freshest of vegetables on your plate.

For full growing instructions, get your copy of Grow your own fruit & veg in pots, plots and growbags. [link]

  • This plan is based on having four large patio pots.

  • Position the containers so they have good sun and so you have easy access to them to tend and water the plants – and harvest your crops! You want an attractive layout but it’s not much use if you can’t reach all the crops easily. Only when you are happy with their positions should you fill the containers with a loamy compost such as John Innes 2 or 3, which is stable and holds moisture well.

Pot 1

  • For some legumes, you need a pot at least 60cm/2ft in diameter.
  • Plant some early radishes in February to harvest in spring.
  • Start some dwarf French beans or peas in April or May to harvest in August and September.
  • Fill in with late sowings of salad leaves and keep under cover to harvest in the new year.

Pot 2

  • Ideally, this pot should be 60cm/2ft in diameter.

  • Plant an aubergine plant in February or March and a courgette plant in April for crops about August.

  • Fill in with late sowings of salad leaves and keep under cover to harvest in the new year.

Pot 3

  • Use a pot at least 30cm/12in in diameter.

  • Beetroot, short carrots or kohlrabi can all be planted between March and May to harvest from June to September.

  • If they finish early, you may have time to grow a few late lettuces or salad leaves.

Pot 4

  • Use a growbag to grow some tomatoes.

  • Start a few plants as soon as there is no danger of frosts in spring and they will crop through August and September.

  • Once they have finished, plant some garlic to harvest the following July.

Your Window Box

If you only have very limited space, opt for some pots of herbs. Chives are perfect in a small pot, as is low-growing marjoram or taller tarragon. Although quite tender, basil will do well in the summer in a sunny, protected spot. Parsley is biennial, but you can sow one year to harvest the next.