No space? No problem!
These days, many of us don't have the luxury of a big garden, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy our own home-grown produce. You'd be surprised how many types of fruit and vegetables you can grow in a small space. Here are our top three suggestions to get you started.
Dwarf bush cherry tomatoes are perfect for containers. No need to pinch out sideshoots as you would with the taller cordon (also known as vine) types, just plant in a container filled with potting compost in a sunny spot. Remember to feed and water them regularly, so that the compost remains moist, especially once the fruits start to appear. Tie stems loosely to bamboo canes to support them when they're laden down with delicious tomatoes.
For details on how to grow tomatoes from seed, click here
Try these dwarf tomato varieties:
- 'Tumbling Tom'
- 'Balconi Red'
- 'Balconi Yellow'
There are lots of advantages to growing strawberries in pots – it keeps them off the ground, reducing the risk of fungal diseases, and it's much easier to keep slugs away.
You can buy potted young strawberry plants from our garden centres. To plant them, first find a sunny spot for your container, then fill it with potting compost. Plant your strawberries so that the crown of the plant (where the leaves start to appear) is just above the top of the soil, and water well.
If you have space for more than one strawberry plant in your pot, space them about 25-30cm (1ft) apart.
(For a great space-saving planting idea, check out our range of stackable Elho planters, which will allow you to plant multiple tiers of strawberries!)
Water your strawberries regularly, and feed them every one to two weeks with a high potash fertiliser. Tomorite or other tomato feeds are ideal for this.
Beware – once the fruit starts to appear, you may need to drape netting over your pots to stop the birds and squirrels stealing your harvest!
Try these strawberry varieties:
- 'Cambridge Favourite'
Ok, so you're not going to be able to grow a vast crop of baked-potato-sized spuds on your balcony, but with a decent-sized pot (at least 40-50cm deep) you can certainly have yourself a good harvest of tasty new potatoes in May. Plus, once you've harvested your new potatoes, your pot is free to be planted up with something else!
The best potatoes to use are first and second early seed potatoes. First early potatoes are planted from February to May, and second earlies from March to May. You'll get a better crop if you chit them first. This is very simple to do – just take your potatoes out of their packets and place them in a cool, bright place, with any visible shoots facing upwards. Leave for a few days, until the shoots are around 2.5cm (1in) long. Now they're ready to be planted.
Place your pot in a sunny spot. Put about 15cm of compost in the bottom, then place two or three tubers on the compost and cover them over with more compost. Water well.
As the stems grow and start poking through the compost, cover them over with more compost. Repeat this process until you've filled your pot.
When the plants start to flower, it's time to harvest. Simply dig down into the compost and you'll find a treasure trove of delicious new potatoes buried below. If they look too small, just leave them for a week or two to bulk up a bit.
Try these potato varieties:
- 'Duke of York' – first early variety
- 'Charlotte' – second early variety
- 'Saxon' – second early variety
3 for £12
John Innes No. 1 compost
Specialist compost that contains a blend of nutrients, loam and sand ideal for encouraging young plants to flourish. Feeds for up to 4 weeks. 25ltr.
3 for £10
Choose from our extensive range of seed potatoes, expertly picked to suit British gardens.
Collect 150 points
Favourite liquid plant food for tomatoes and flowering pot plants. Produces top quality, full flavoured tomatoes. 2.5ltr.
Elho Corsica easy hanger
These great quality pots are perfect for herbs or strawberries when space is at a premium.