I’ve been asked quite a lot recently whether it is possible to grow vegetables in pots. The answer is YES! Of course you can!
With the cost of living increases that we are all feeling the pinch from and the fact that supermarkets have been struggling to stock items like tomatoes and lettuces in the last few weeks, it is no wonder people are starting to think about what they can grow at home.
Not everyone has a large garden or allotment to be able to grow their own vegetables and salads but most people will hopefully have at least a tiny area or balcony space where they can place a pot full of compost and grow something edible and amazing!
If you only have space for one or two pots then it is so important that you grow things that you love but also things that are either quick to grow or that don’t take up too much space.
So, if you fancy having a go at ‘growing your own’ then here are some things that will grow well in pots!
Tomatoes – Tomatoes do really well in pots as long as you give them plenty of food and water. You can either grow indeterminate types which will grow tall and vine (these will need supporting) or you can grow determinate types which are bush varieties which won’t require as much support and more ideally suited to container growing. Our Tomato ‘Koralik’ is a lovely bush variety which produces lots of small cherry tomatoes – it can even be grown in a basket!
Peas and Beans – Peas and beans do really well in pots – you can sow your peas now and either harvest as pea shoots for some lovely spring salads or let the seedlings grow into full sized pea plants. With a few supports in the pot, they will do really well. You could also grow some climbing beans if you add a stake to your pot for the beans to climb up or even just dwarf beans such as our ‘Purple Teepee’ which is a lovely variety. It doesn’t require much in the way of support, if any and the pods turn from deep purple to green when they are cooked. You can even sow our Oregon Sugar Pod variety outdoors from March which is a delicious Mange Tout type.
Salad Onions – as you can imagine salad onions take up minimal space as they tend to be grown quite close together so these lend themselves well for container growing. It doesn’t have to be salad onions though, you can also grow standard onion seeds such as our onion ‘Sturon’ to harvest as spring onions rather than letting them bulb up and go to full size which would take up precious space in your pot.
Cucumbers – I have actually had great success growing cucumbers in pots though, like beans, they will need supports. Our Cucumber ‘Marketmore’ is a fantastic outdoor variety. Nothing tastes quite as lovely as a homegrown cucumber!
Kale – Curly kales will do well in pots but I much prefer the Cavolo Nero (Nero di Toscana) as it looks a little bit palm like as it grows. Plus, if you harvest all of the leaves from the bottom first, the plant will continue to grow taller allowing you to underplant with something else such as salads or herbs.
Chillies – OK so chillies do have a longer growing season but they make up for it by not taking up too much room! You could either grow a taller yet very productive variety like Jalapeno or we also love our Ring of Fire chillies which take even less room and grow bush like – they are equally productive once and, for visual appeal which is often needed when growing in a pot, would probably be my favourite!
Spinach and Salads – Spinach and salad leaves can be harvested in a matter of weeks when the weather start to warm up and no pot of homegrown goodies should be without some delicious salad leaves in my opinion. We have a great selection of tasty oriental salad leaves and our little gem and lollo rosso salad varieties (coming soon) will also be productive.
Courgettes – Courgettes will do well in a pot provided they have lots of food and water. Courgettes can grow quite big though so if you do want to grow courgettes then you won’t be able to grow anything else in the same pot! What they take up in space though, they will repay you in production as the season gets going!
Potatoes – As with courgettes, potatoes will take up a lot of room but they do grow really well in pots and it makes them a lot easier to harvest than having to dig them out of the ground. There are even special potato grow pots such as these which make harvesting them even easier.
Herbs – What edible container garden would be complete without some delicious herbs? You could include Calendula for the beautiful edible petals, parsley, basil, coriander…the list is endless. I love to grow mint in pots to make some refreshing homegrown mint tea and our Egyptian mint is an amazing variety if you are looking for something a bit more subtle than the normal peppermint.
Carrots – Carrots do really well in pots and will often come out straighter than if you grow them in the ground! The only downside is that they take a little while to grow.
Radishes – For a quick crop, try growing some radishes. They can be harvested in a few weeks ready for the next item on your list or even try growing radishes with your salad leaves. The radish leaves are also edible.
Beetroot – You could start of the growing season by sowing some beetroot seeds in your pots. I love our beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ which taste incredible if harvested young. This is a variety often grown for the tasty leaves but it also produces small, incredibly flavourful bulbs which is sought after amongst beetroot connoisseurs!
As you can see there is a huge list of possibilities when it comes to growing vegetables in pots! Ideally you will want to grow something organic…because you can!
In the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2023 it said that 8 out of 10 shoppers buy organic but many are cutting their spend due to price constraints. This is a worrying, yet understandable fact of life with the price of everything going up and up. By growing your own at home, it would enable so many more people to add even just one organic item to their diet. Organic composts are a thing now and it might surprise you to know that my favourite Organic Peat Free Multipurpose compost from Sylvagrow was actually exactly the same price in the garden centre than the non-organic compost! In that situation it really is a no brainer to buy the organic compost and be sure that it contains no nasty chemicals.
As a company we are really proud to be certified Organic with the Soil Association and every single packet of seeds we sell are organic.
So why not have a think about the things that you love to eat and have a go at growing them organically!