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16.04.2024

Easy Vegetables To Grow At Home Without A Garden

Edible plants you can grow at home – no garden required!

Growing your own food is an excellent way of cutting down on food waste, reducing your carbon footprint and getting more nutrients in your diet. Gardening also benefits your mental and physical health too – what’s not to love? While it would be nice to have a generously sized garden where you can grow all the fruits and veggies you like, many of us don’t have much outdoor space at home. But there are still a lot of edible plants you can grow without a garden and even some you can grow without any outdoor space at all.

Here are some of our favourite foods you can grow at home with no garden and minimal space.

Vegetables You Can Grow Outdoors Without A Garden

For those with a small outdoor space like a yard, balcony or patio, there’s a surprising variety of vegetables you can grow. 

What you need:

Plant pots – various sizes depending on what you are growing
Compost – choose an all-purpose, peat-free compost 
Seeds – try your local garden centre or online shops like Real Seeds

It’s nice to have things like watering cans, a trowel, organic vegetable fertiliser, or other equipment, but you can grow things just as well with just some pots and compost. Look on Facebook marketplace or other second-hand sources for cheap or free pots and other gardening tools. For growing seedlings indoors before transferring them to larger outdoor pots, you can make mini seed pots out of cardboard tubes, yoghurt pots, or anything suitably shaped that you have to hand. 

Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes at home is easy, even if you have a small outdoor space.

You can grow tomatoes in pots very easily. A tomato plant needs a pot that is around 30 cm in diameter, so you might only have room for a couple of tomato plants. That will still give you plenty of tomatoes for salads, pizzas, sauces, and more delicious dishes.

 There are two main varieties of tomato plants – bush tomatoes, which grow in a bush-like fashion and don’t need staking, and vine (also known as cordon) tomatoes which need to grow up a stake. You can get bamboo canes fairly cheaply and these can be used year after year. Drive the bamboo cane into the bottom of the plant pot, being careful to avoid the roots, and loosely tie the tomato vines to the cane with some string or jute to help support them. 

Tie tomato vines to bamboo canes to support them as they grow.

Plant your tomato seeds in smaller pots indoors in April and place them somewhere warm to germinate. When they have grown a few inches and the weather has warmed up around mid-May, you can transfer your tomato plants to their outdoor pots. Keep them watered regularly – add some organic tomato feed to give them an extra boost. Within a couple of months, the tomatoes will start to flower and then grow their fruits – pick them once they start turning red. You can ripen them easily indoors in a paper bag.

Strawberries

Growing strawberries at home is fun and gives you a constant source of fresh fruit.

Strawberry plants are hardier than you might think and just a few plants can give you an impressive harvest. You can buy baby strawberry plants from a local garden centre, or take some runners from a friend’s plants. Strawberries need a sunny, sheltered spot and regular watering and they are good to go. A pot sized about 15 cm in diameter is just fine for strawberry plants as they have quite a small root ball. 

You might find that slugs and snails get a taste for your strawberries, so try growing them in hanging baskets or setting slug traps with beer nearby. Don’t be tempted to use slug pellets, as they can poison birds, hedgehogs and other garden visitors. Another thing to look out for is birds eating your strawberries – paint a few pebbles to look like strawberries and leave them around your strawberry plants before they produce fruit to dissuade birds from pinching your berries.

Strawberries are very tempting for birds and slugs, so take evasive action to protect your crop.

Once you have your strawberry plants, they will keep on fruiting for years to come. In winter you can cover the plants up with garden fleece, cardboard or straw to protect them from frost. You can even multiply your strawberry plants by putting up the runners – keep them for yourself and boost your strawberry crop, or share them with friends!

Potatoes

You can grow your own potatoes in a pot at home.

Potatoes are an amazingly versatile vegetable and don’t need as much space to grow as you think. Just throw a seed potato into a larger pot or bucket, keep up with watering if it doesn’t rain much, and within a few months, just empty out your container for a bountiful potato crop. 

Potatoes need a pot that is at least 40 litres, you can use big tubs or anything else large enough, just make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. You can grow a potato plant from shop-bought potatoes, but they won’t grow as well as proper seed potatoes, so get these if you can.

A seed potato with chits, or the beginnings of shoots.

Some people ‘chit’ their potatoes, i.e. let them grow shoots before planting to speed up growth. Most guides say to chit them on a cool but sunny windowsill, but I find that keeping them in a cardboard box kept slightly ajar somewhere dry and cool chits them even faster.

Fill your pot or receptacle with compost and plant your potatoes about 8-10cm deep. Stick with one per pot unless you have obtained a very large pot. Keep the soil moist and look out for flowers forming on the plant – this means your potatoes are ready to harvest!

 

Vegetables You Can Grow Indoors Without A Garden

Even with zero outdoor space at all, you can still grow some delicious, nutritious foods indoors on a windowsill or another sunny space.

Microgreens

Microgreens grown from sunflower seeds/

Microgreens are super-quick to grow and don’t take up much space at all. You can grow them on a windowsill in a small tray or in any warm place that gets some sunlight. Microgreens are small shoots of other edible plants that are sweet and nutritious, ideal for adding to salads, sandwiches or stir-fries, or as a fancy garnish on any meal. Some of my favourites are sunflowers and peas but check online for a full list of seeds that can be grown into microgreens.

Microgreens are easy to grow at home, and are ready to harvest in just a few days.

Take a seed tray or another small shallow tray – you could even repurpose a takeaway tub – add about a centimetre’s worth of compost. If you don’t have compost or find it messy, you can grow microgreens in coconut coir or even some wet paper towels – although with this method they won’t grow as quickly and will need more watering. Sprinkle on your seeds – you can cover the entire surface in seeds for a full crop. Add a splash of water and place your tray on a windowsill or any warm place. Keep the soil moist by watering every couple of days, or every day once the shoots appear. In about a week, your microgreens will be ready to harvest – just snip them off, give them a rinse and they are ready to enjoy!

Lettuce

Grow a couple of small lettuce plants or other salad greens on your windowsill and you will always have a few crunchy leaves on hand for salads or sandwiches. 

You can grow lettuce on your windowsill or other sunny spot.

You will need a tray or pot around 15cm deep, some compost and some lettuce seeds. Choose loose-leaf types rather than round lettuce types like iceberg or butterhead as they need less space to grow. Look for ‘cut and come again’ varieties as you can cut off a few leaves as you need them, and the plant will carry on growing. Add your compost to your pot or tray, sprinkle on your seeds and cover with a thin layer of compost over the top.

Keep on a sunny windowsill or another location that gets plenty of sun. Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged – you can use a spray bottle to avoid disturbing the delicate seedlings, but you don’t have to. Thin the seedlings out by removing smaller ones as they grow, until you have 3-4 inches between each plant. Harvest your lettuce leaves as often as you need and keep watering them for fresh leafy greens all summer long.

Herbs

Growing herbs on your windowsill is easy and fun!

Growing fresh herbs at home is a great way of elevating your cooking game and making your kitchen smell nice! There are lots of herbs that thrive in a pot on the windowsill, including:

Thyme
Basil
Mint
Oregano
Rosemary
Parsley
Chives
Coriander

You can buy potted herbs quite cheaply from garden centres, or grow your own from seeds. Just sprinkle some seeds into a small (10-15cm diameter) pot filled with compost, cover lightly with a fine compost layer, water regularly and keep in a warm sunny location. Trim the plants regularly to encourage growth and remove any flowers as soon as you spot them. You can even regrow those potted herbs you get in the supermarket – I suggest splitting them into 2 or even 4 plants and repotting them in a larger pot, as the supermarket herbs are crammed into a very small pot that can’t sustain them long-term.

Some people throw in things like banana peels or coffee grounds when planting like this – it is not helpful and can cause fungus gnat infestations or other unpleasantness. You can add a little organic plant food or fertiliser if you want, just make sure it is suitable for edible plants.

I hope you enjoy this guide and are inspired to start a mini kitchen garden at home. If you want to grow any of these plants, I suggest researching them a bit further as this is just an overview, there are plenty of helpful tips and more in-depth advice that can help you. For more gardening knowledge and tips, check out our blog on home composting, or our guide to planting your own wildflowers.

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