10 crops for pots

10 Crops For Pots
Just imagine picking fresh and tasty crops from your garden. Zingy salad leaves for a summer barbecue, delicious potatoes smothered in butter and juicy strawberries full of sweet flavour – these and many more can all be grown at home. Best of all, you don’t need an enormous garden to enjoy the pleasures of growing your own – it’s possible to succeed with virtually any veggies in a container, meaning you can have tasty pickings if you only have a patio, balcony or doorstep. Here are 10 easy crops to grow in pots – just follow our handy tips and growing advice and you’ll have a container-grown harvest in no time. 

Salad
Nothing could be easier to grow than salad leaves. Just fill a pot with compost, sow salad seed on the surface and wait for the leaves to appear – it’s as simple as that. Look out for speedy seed mixes, which can be ready for picking in just a couple of weeks. Sow a pot every week so you’ve got a non-stop supply.

Tomatoes
The flavour of homegrown tomatoes knocks socks off anything you can buy in a shop. Choose dwarf varieties for pots and tumbling ones for hanging baskets. Make sure you feed and water plants regularly to keep them healthy and the fruits coming. For a bit of fun try varieties that are different colours – orange, yellow and even black tomatoes are all available.

Beetroot
This hassle-free crop has loads to offer and is really easy to grow. Fill a container with compost and sow seed on the surface according to the packet instructions. Use young leaves to pep up salads, and allow roots to mature beneath the compost. Harvest roots as you need them, using them to roast or pickle. Try orange and stripy varieties as alternatives to the traditional purple types.

Radish
Radishes are one of the speediest things you can grow and great to try with kids. Simply sow seed in a pot of compost and wait for the spicy little veggies to appear just beneath the soil surface (which can sometimes happen in a matter of days). Use them to give salads a kick and sow a crop every couple of weeks to keep the harvest coming.

French Beans
Sow beans from seed or buy plants in-store. Choose a dwarf variety for a pot as these don’t become unruly (it’s the plants that are small, not the beans), and look for varieties that are unusual colours (black and yellow types are available). Beans need lots of feeding and water, although they’re one of the few crops that do well in a semi-shaded spot.

Peas
You can grow peas in much the same way as beans, although try to eat them as soon as you harvest them as their flavour deteriorates if they’re allowed to sit around. They’re so delicious, you’ll probably find yourself eating them straight from the plant!

Chillies
Perfect for a sunny spot and planting in containers, chillies are easy to grow. Buy plants in-store, looking out for a selection of varieties. They’re available in all different shapes, sizes and levels of heat so grow a few types to mix it up a bit. Chillies crop in abundance towards the end of the summer, but you can freeze or dry the excess for using through winter and early spring.

Carrots
Growing carrots in containers prevents them being attacked by carrot-root fly (a pesky pest that can ruin a crop grown in the ground), meaning there’s no better way to achieve a delicious crop. Simply sow seed into a pot filled with compost and wait for the tasty roots to form beneath the surface. Miniature varieties are great for containers and always adored by children.

Potatoes
Grow spuds in a special potato-growing sack or a large plastic pot. Plant sprouting potato tubers in the bottom of the pot (these are called seed potatoes), adding more compost every time leaves appear above the surface. Your potatoes are ready to harvest when plants begin to flower – simply tip the contents of the pot onto your patio and rummage through the compost for the delicious crop. 

Courgettes
Grow these for a never-ending crop and an impressive display of architectural leaves. Buy plants in-store and grow them in a container in a sunny spot. Feed, water and harvest regularly to keep the supply coming. Courgettes can become a bit rampant, so be prepared for plants to weave their way around your patio, often ending up far from the container they’re planted in.