The Art of the Small Veg Patch

Autumn Winter Patio Container Garden

We’re big believers that you don’t need much space to grow your own food. A window box will give you enough space to grow some lettuces and herbs, a couple of pots by the back door will suffice for growing some peppers and tomatoes, and a grow bag by a garden wall will allow you to grow some peas and beans.

So here are some ideas to inspire you with your own small space.

No garden? Autumn Winter Patio Container Garden

Window boxes typically measure around 60cm in length and will happily sit inside or outside your window. Be sure to choose one with holes for drainage so that you don’t drown your plants and pop your window box in a window that gets a good amount of sunshine during the day.

If you have a standard box, approximately 15-20cm deep, then we’d recommend growing a mixture of salad leaves and herbs in a standard 20cm deep window box. The best lettuces to grow in a window box are the loose leaf lettuces like Salad Bowl and Freckles. Any herbs will work really, so choose
the ones that you enjoy cooking with the most.

Choose a deeper window box, say 30cm, and you’ll be able to grow a few carrots and spring onions, or try some dwarf varieties of tomatoes, peppers and beans – see our list of top crops for small spaces below for some ideas!

Space for a few pots or grow bags outside?

OK, so you’ve got a little bit of space to play with here, so let’s make the most of it…

First off, grow what you can in a window box as above, e.g. a combination salad and herbs. Then you can grow some different things outside in your pots.

When planting your pots, be sure to add some stones at the bottom to help with drainage and put them in a nice sunny spot. You can grow most things in pots, so choose vegetables (or fruit) that you really enjoy eating and follow the golden rule: give each plant enough space and depth. If you try to put 5 courgette plants in a single pot, they won’t be very successful. But pop a single courgette plant in a pot and you’ll be very happy with the results.

If you have a nice sunny wall or fence, then get yourself a grow bag and use it to grow climbing plants, like beans and peas. If you turn the grow bag on its side and use it that way, you’ll give your plants a little more depth for their roots.

A very small garden

If you have space for a small raised bed, a free flower bed, or you just have a tiny corner of the garden to spare for a veg patch, then try a bit of intercropping. If you plant fast growing plants next to slow growing plants you can make the most of the space you have. What this means is that while the slow plant is taking its time to grow up, the fast plant is cruising ahead and ready to harvest before the slow grower needs that bit of extra space. Very clever.

As an example, you could plant lettuces between sweetcorn plants, or spinach between parsnips. Mix and match any fast growing and slow growing plant from the list below:

Fast growing veg: Lettuce, spinach, carrots, beans

Slow growing veg: Sweetcorn, broccoli, cabbages, kale


15 Top Crops for Small SpacesPatio Container Garden

Demon Red Chilli Pepper
Hestia Dwarf Runner Bean
Tiny Tim Tomato
Dwarf French Bean
Spring Onions
Greek Basil
Wild Rocket
Salad Bowl Lettuce


3 Instant Gardens to grow in Small Spaces

Urban Constant Garden
Patio Container Garden
Window Box Garden