Or in other words, how to grow loads of veg when you’ve only got a tiny space.
Garden too small? Only got a windowsill? Still on the waiting list for an allotment? Fear not, with a bit of creative gardening, it’s possible to grow more veg than you ever thought, well, possible.
1. Pot it. Salad leaves and herbs make ideal windowsill crops. But loads of larger veg can also be grown in containers, including: carrots, potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, beans, even miniature varieties of pumpkins such as ‘baby bear’ and ‘munchkin.’ And before you splash out on expensive containers, look around for old bins, recycling boxes, disused bathroom suites ….. plants aren’t fussy.
2. Companion Planting.
This is a just a posh term for planting several things on top of each other. It’s a bit like building flats rather than houses, so you can squeeze more people into the same amount of space. Except with plants it can actually be beneficial.
An ideal starting point is sweetcorn as it grows vertically. Once the plants are established, you can grow other plants up them, such as beans or cucumbers. Not only do you get two crops for the price of one, the climber will add nitrogen to the soil while using the sweetcorn for scaffolding (saving the need for canes.) To make it a threesome, sow another another crop on the ground below the sweetcorn, such as squash or salad leaves. Max veg, minimum space and it’ll keep the weeds down too. If you look closely at the photo, you can see beans growing up the sweetcorn framework. The big leaves are the squash (obvs.)
Another trick is to sow fast maturing crops alongside slower ones. This year, I planted lettuces in between Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli. Thanks to the shade from the brasscicas, they were the only lettuces which didn’t bolt.
3. Find a friend. If you only have space for a few vegetables, then why not team up with a grow-your-own buddy. Decide what you both want to eat, then grow half each. For example, one of you grows courgettes and carrots and the other grows cabbages and cauliflowers and you share the harvest.
4. Multi-pronged attack. If you’re still desperate for an allotment and waiting lists are as long as your hosepipe, then think about getting on several lists at once. Even if some sites are a bit further away, at least you’ll increase your chances of getting to the top of a list somewhere. Another option is plot sharing. Some people struggle to maintain a whole plot, so ask around to see if there are people who would like to go halves. You could even look for someone with a bit of garden to spare and offer to dig them a veg patch in return for shared produce.
Apology: I probably should have written this post in Spring. Oh well, something to think about for next year ….