23 Jan Container Veg for Beginners ~ The Good-Lookers & The Fuss-pots
I don’t have an allotment or a hidden veg patch at the back of the garden, I grow everything in containers in a small paved back yard. So the vegetables are as much part of the garden, as the roses… there’s no hiding them.
Technically, you could probably grow any type of veg in a container, but there are some that are a good use of space, easy to grow and look glorious… and others that look like Shrek, take up loads of space for one late harvest and are pretty tricky for beginners with no guarantees.
The Good-Looking Easy-Going Crowd
These are the Ryan Gosling of your kitchen garden, they will look handsome, harvest efficiently and generally impress your mates. All good places to start and easy to experiment with heritage varieties.
Kale ~ Cavolo Nero being the most desirable.
Beetroot ~ My favourite, gorgeous leaves you can eat as well.
Beans ~ Climbing beans, like broad, runner or mangetout make good use of vertical space and go a bit further than peas.
Carrots ~ Carrot fly are low fliers, so use a tall (75cm+) planter and you’ll escape them.
Chard – The showbiz Bright Lights of the kitchen garden.
Chinese Spinach ~ Lovely to cook with and goes a bit further than normal spinach.
Cucumbers – Lovely large green leaves and adds height.
Garlic ~ Easy and good use of space, as it goes a long way.
Pak Choi ~ Easy to grow and harvest regularly.
Peas ~ Look lovely, but you need a lot of peas for dinner.
Potatoes ~ Good use of a big tall pot, I’m going to try them this year.
Radishes ~ Easy and taste quite different from the mild Mary’s you get in Tesco.
Rocket ~ Anybody can grow rocket, I used to grow it on a window sill in busy old Bethnal Green. It tasted of bus, but totally easy to grow.
Watercress ~ Thrives in watery bottomed pots.
Ideally, you’ll need a greenhouse or very sunny spot for these hot bodies…
Micro Greens ~ Lovely in fancy pants salads.
Padron Peppers ~From greenhouse to BBQ, just add flaked salt.
Capsicum ~ I’ve found success easy with peppers, but in my experience they don’t taste much better than shop bought ones.
Chilli ~ Takes a while to kick-off, but you only need one plant.
Tomatoes ~ You’ll get obsessed, but there’s nothing like serving your homegrown toms to your mates in the summer. Let the love affair begin…
The Uglies, but worth it
Ok, so they might look like Shrek, but are they worth it?
Courgettes ~ They’re ugly and massive, but worth it as so easy to harvest and spiralize.
Sprouts ~ I actually quite like sprouts, but the plants aren’t fancy.
The High-maintenance or impractical Fuss Pots
I’m not saying they aren’t worth your attention, but these may need a bit more patience or Googling when they don’t look happy… or they are just a bit more practical when you have more space.
Asparagus ~ Don’t bother, takes 3 years before you get anything and better in the ground. Harsh, but true.
Artichokes ~ I’ve never managed to grow anything artichokey.
Aubergine ~ Gorgeous looking plants in the greenhouse, but quite tricky and mine have always been hard and bitter.
Broccoli ~ You need a lot a green space for just a small stem of broccoli.
Cabbages ~ I have grown one cabbage, but compared to something like kale, just an impractical use of space for a long time.
Cauliflower ~ No luck here either, mine didn’t even look like a cauliflower.
Celery ~ Don’t bother, it’s really tricky to grow and well… it’s celery.
Big Lettuce ~ I’ve always found lettuce hard as slugs and wildlife are crazy for it, so constantly needs cover. I’m going to try again this year.
Pumpkins ~ Have tried a couple of times, but always been rather small and hard.
Squash ~ Same as pumpkins, but will try again.
“If your garden makes you, the gardener, feel good, then it is certain that it will look good.”
Monty Don, The Sensuous Garden