Growing Fruit and Vegetables on the Patio
If you have a sunny patio you can easily grow an amazing variety of vegetables. You won’t be self sufficient but you will soon make a good contribution to your home grown vegetables.
Lots of vegetables these days come in mini or compact varieties and can be grown in planters, containers, grow bags or pots on your patio but you will need to water and feed more regularly as the plants will exhaust the soil sooner
Choose the position of your containers/pots carefully, even though they can be moved in and out of the sun as required they will become too heavy to keep moving about.
Salad Crops – Any container will do as long as compost is at least 15cm/6” deep. Lettuces or cut and come again salad leaves are a good crop to start with. Sprinkle seeds thinly on the top and cover very lightly with compost, water in, once the leaves grow to 5cm/2” tall you can cut with scissors. Seedlings will grow back and you can cut again. After about 3-4 cuts they will become exhausted and you will have to sow again. One pack of seeds should last the summer.
Carrots & Spring Onions – grow well together. Carrots do well in containers. Choose pots that are at least 12 inches deep and have good drainage. For best results, look for small or "baby" varieties such as Thumbelina, Orbit, Parmex, Oxheart or Little Finger. For tiny gardens and window boxes: try a round sort such as Rondo or Suko. Tip - As rows develop harvest every alternate carrot/onion giving more space for crops to grow.
Beetroot – can be grown successfully in containers, avoid bolting by keeping the soil well watered, can be grown in partial shade to avoid drying out. Can be grown closer together than in the ground for golf ball size beets.
Courgettes – can be grown in pots on the patio however most have a trailing habit. Choose more compact varieties that tend to have a more erect growing habit or alternatively source one of the new climbing varieties.
Climbing Green Beans / Runner Beans – both will grow up a trellis on the wall, if you do not have a suitable wall more compact bush varieties can be grown in pots.
Tomatoes – can be grown in Growbags or pots but will benefit from a sunny sheltered patio – just remember to water frequently.
Cucumbers – will also do well on a sheltered patio. Choose an outdoor variety, these are often shorter in length, some have bumpy ridges but the flavour is usually superior.
Chillies & Peppers – can be grown in pots however they will need a very sunny situation and a good summer to flourish. Much better if you can grow them undercover due to our unreliable weather but a sunny windowsill will always suffice.
Potatoes – can be grown in potato planters on the patio in a bright frost free position. Feed every other week with potato fertiliser and water when the compost starts to dry out.