Growing vegetables - small garden - Runner BeansI only aspire to own a large garden. So far, I have only maintained little plots. At least I have learned how to value minuscule planting area and have picked up plenty of great tips for getting the most out of a small garden.

In the past, many people have said to me that their gardens are far too small for growing vegetables; they have a concrete courtyard, or a terraced plot, or a balcony garden. There are plenty of tasty vegetables that can be grown even in the tightest of spaces. Here are just a few of them:

Hanging Tomatoes

Can be grown in window boxes and hanging baskets. Try Tasty Tumbler. You can also grow them in tubs or (classically) grow-bags. Try Maskotka for small pots and tubs, or Gartenperle for grow-bags on patios and roof gardens.

Lettuce for the high flyer

Some lettuces can be leaf-harvested – allowing for a continuous yield for much of the year. Although there are plenty of varieties that can be grown in smaller gardens, I’d recommend Lettuce: Little Gem. Perfect for smaller pots, window boxes, tubs, grow-bags and planters for plenty of beta-carotene and Vitamin A rich greens.

Runner Beans in a tight spot

They take up very little space as they grow vertically and produce plenty of delicious greens for your dinner plate! I have known people to grow runner beans up against garages, sheds and even their houses. The flowers and pretty, in red, pink or white. One variety I’d recommend as a good all-rounder is “Enorma”.

Carrots in pots

There is an advantage to growing carrots in pots: you won’t suffer from the effects of the common carrot root fly. Lifting your pot of carrots off the ground (above 18 inches) will totally prevent this kind of infestation, as the carrot root fly can’t achieve such ‘lofty’ altitudes! Use a deep pot of say, no less than 10 inches. Sow thinly. Try Mokum F1.

Growing potatoes vertically!

You can grow potatoes in buckets, but my favorite technique for the ‘larger’ small garden is the car tire method. Start with one tire, half-filled with soil. Plant about 4 chitted potatoes within the tire, about 2 inches deep. When the shoots a few inches high, add a little more soil, but don’t cover them completely. Repeat this process. When the soil reaches the top of the tire add another tire and keep on adding more soil. Repeat until the plants come to the end of their growing cycle – usually 3 tires. Cut away the plants and leave for a few days before harvest.

Potatoes will form up the buried stem of the plants. This will give you maximum yield in a small space. As tires aren’t at all attractive, try growing peas on chicken wire around your stacks. Alternatively, you could try painting your tires…be creative. Try Carlingford.


Don’t expect to be self-sufficient using these methods. At the very least you will save a little money, have plenty of tasty home-grown vegetables and have the pleasure of watching them grow. Also, you will be doing your bit for the environment – no air miles to consider!

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