Small Garden Or No Garden At All?

You can still join the Grow Your Own movement, says property journalist Sharon Dale

Growing your own fruit and veg is incredibly satisfying and there is no doubt that homegrown produce tastes a hundred times better than almost anything shop bought. Plus there’s no plastic packaging. You don’t have to be Alan Titchmarsh or have a large garden or indeed any garden at all to plant and harvest delicious, organic food.

Here are some tips on how to get started…

Small garden or yard

Raised beds are useful as they look attractive and come in all shapes and sizes. Most lie directly on soil but others have a base and are, in effect, a giant planter. With the latter, you have to keep an eye on the quality and depth of the soil. has some useful information, including the depth of soil needed for certain plants. A shallow raised bed with 12 to 18 inches of soil is ok for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks and lettuce, among other things.

VegTrugs are large, deep planters on legs. They look good and are also very useful for those who are unable to bend easily. They cost from about £80 and you can add fleece, mesh and polythene covers for protecting against pests or harsh weather. Mini greenhouses are also available. They start from about £30 for a PVC version. Argos and B&Q stock them.

Use your wall and create a fashionable vertical garden perfect for growing herbs. Wonderwall has a self-watering system

A self-watering vertical garden, which is ideal for growing herbs

No outside space

Grow herbs on your window sill. They look and smell great, they’ll improve the air quality and you’ll be able to replace the musty, dried herbs you use for cooking with lovely fresh ones. Try not to cost the earth by using plastic plant pots – there is a concerted campaign against them. Instead use terracotta or ceramic versions, which are more attractive and eco-friendly. Ideally, they need to be 15cm in diameter or more and you should fill with peat-free organic seed compost. Then just scatter a thin layer of seeds on top.

I get most of my pots from charity shops, where prices start from £1. The most I have paid is £4 for a fabulous vintage Sylvac plant pot that is much admired. Most of the ceramic pots don’t have a drainage hole in the bottom, so be careful not to over water your plants and put a layer of stones in the bottom to help drainage. You’ll also need to top up the nutrients in your compost by using a liquid feed once every couple of weeks.

You can also grow salad leaves in window boxes and pots. Pea shoots are easy to grow and you can also add them to pasta dishes and stews. Rocket is also a cinch and it’s a “cut it and come again” plant, so you’ll have a rich supply. Your window box should be at least 20cm deep.

Orla Kiely herb pots from Cuckooland

Copy the incredible edible model. Visit the website for more details It’s all about turning small patches of unused public land, such as grass verges, into free food plots. A group of like-minded volunteers plant and nurture the plots and everyone in the local community is invited to pick the produce. Not only does it improve the look of an area, it also brings people together.

Best books and websites

The Royal Horticultural Society website is fantastic for gardening advice,
As for books, check out Small Space Vegetable Gardens by Andrea Bellamy. It is packed with 200 photographs and step-by-step advice for a homegrown harvest. Grow all you can eat in three square feet, published by Dorling Kindersley is also useful, as is Paul Peacock’s Grown your own vegetables in pots and containers.

Publish date: 07/08/2018

Publisher: New Home Finder