7 fruit and vegetables you can easily grow in pots

Paula McWaters
·4-min read
Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images
Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images

Always wanted to grow your own fruit and vegetables but don't have a large garden or allotment? Well no space is no problem as there are a wealth of crops that can easily be grown in pots, planters and containers.

There are few things more satisfying in summer than stepping into your kitchen with a colander brimming with home-grown produce. Harvesting your own food – with provenance you can totally trust – is a thrill and there is no reason why lack of space should be a barrier.

Even if you have just a balcony, a terrace or a tiny garden, you can still cram it full of great things to eat that not only taste wonderful but look attractive while they are growing, too.

Position a few pots by your front or back door and it’s easy to keep an eye on them, which will help you stay on top of any pests and diseases.

7 fruit and vegetables you can grow in pots

1. Chard

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images

Chard is one of the most attractive vegetables you can grow. Direct-sow it into small pots, then transplant a few into a bigger pot. Look for colourful varieties, such as ‘Bright Lights.’

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2. Strawberries

Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images
Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images

Strawberries grown in in pots are at a distinct advantage because the fruits hang free of the ground and are therefore less likely to rot or be foraged by creatures other than you! Buy small strawberry plants in spring, place your container somewhere sunny and keep your plants well watered.

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3. Herbs

Photo credit: Richard Clark - Getty Images
Photo credit: Richard Clark - Getty Images

Herbs, such as basil, coriander, chervil, dill, marjoram, mint and parsley, all lend themselves to container growing in free-draining compost. Here, terracotta pots have been dropped into purpose-made holes in a shelf to save space and also to bring the herbs’ leaves up to a convenient height for picking.

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4. Salads, spinach and rocket

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images

Raised beds are great in confined gardens, allowing you to concentrate your efforts in one area, to plant more densely and tend your crops easily. Salads, spinach, rocket and other leafy veg will do well. You can intercrop with smaller things, such as spring onions and radishes, for a harvest of tasty edibles at your fingertips.

Salad leaves, especially cut-and-come-again varieties, grow well in containers and can be harvested bit by bit while they are young and tender. Put together your own mix, such as corn salad, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, purslane and rocket

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5. Edible flowers

Photo credit: MAIKA 777 - Getty Images
Photo credit: MAIKA 777 - Getty Images

Edible flowers make a colourful addition to salads. Violas and nasturtiums can both be eaten, and picking them encourages them to flower more, so you’ll have a plentiful supply. Chive, borage and calendula flowers can also be eaten.

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6. Tomatoes

Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images
Photo credit: DigiPub - Getty Images

Tomatoes are perfect for container growing and there are plenty of trailing varieties, such as ‘Tumbling Tom’ and ‘Sweet Million’, that will thrive in a hanging basket. Boost your crop with a liquid feed applied every week once flowers have set.

Tomatoes will grow in an old shopping basket, provided you line it with a layer of black plastic and perforate holes in it for drainage. Use good-quality peat-free compost and choose trailing cherry tomato varieties.

An old step ladder provides the perfect way to save space and bring your edible plants up to eye – or picking – level. Pop a pot of trailing tomatoes on top and then plant herbs in cans and old mugs with holes drilled for drainage.

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7. Sweet peppers

Photo credit: Roy JAMES Shakespeare - Getty Images
Photo credit: Roy JAMES Shakespeare - Getty Images

Sweet peppers are sun-worshippers, so grow them in the sunniest spot you can find. There are many varieties to choose from, including dwarf ones such as ‘Mohawk’ and ‘Redskin’. Sow from seed or buy small plants and then grow them outside, or indoors on a sunny windowsill.

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Top tips for potted crops

  • Put saucers under pots to catch any rainwater and what runs off from your own watering

  • Group pots together and invest in an automatic watering system kit (shop here) if you want to save time

  • Use any receptacle for growing in – just make sure you give it some drainage holes

  • Look out for seeds of dwarf varieties of vegetables that are bred especially for growing in pots

  • Buy small plants from nurseries or mail order to get a head start (although it will be pricier than seed)

  • Choose compost that is good quality and peat-free. Feed weekly to ensure crops’ health

Looking for some potting shed inspiration? Country Living has launched gorgeous cottage-style sheds and summerhouses at Homebase – perfect for outdoor home offices. Coming in aurora green and thorpe grey, they're perfect for every garden scheme. MORE INFO

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