Allotment & Kitchen Garden - Container Growing

Growing in containers is ideal if you're lacking in space or for surplus crop seeds. As a beginner grower, you may want to trial on a smaller scale before committing to a plot to maintain and large crop to harvest.  Sometimes it's nice to have vegetables growing in the garden as well as the allotment plot; especially when they require more tending/watering and general care as well as plants that produce daily during their season for example tomatoes - they're close and convenient. Container growing is ideal if you have a very small garden/patio area or balcony if you live on an upper floor flat or apartment.

We use the term 'container' which can be a wide range of suitable vessels. It might be traditional garden pots, grow bags, sacks, troughs and hanging baskets.  If you're feeling creative and like to upcycle unwanted items you can even use old bath tubs, storage boxes, drawers and laundry baskets. Cans, sinks, colanders and kitchen pots and pans! Just ensure they're cleaned and don't have any chemical/toxic residue.

Try not to go for too small a pot/container as you will need to allow for growth and roots for your plants to thrive. Size depends on what you're growing, which we will cover further on.

Pots can easily be moved about if they require more sun or shade, there is less weeding and no digging. They are ideal for children to get involved too!

Like all sowing and growing, you can start earlier indoors or under glass but generally to start outside/plant on you will start during the Spring; weather and location dependent.  In colder weather you can protect your plants with fleece in a sheltered place.

Use good quality compost/soil and/or well rotted manure. Water regularly ensuring the right balance for thirsty plants and the risk of water-logging. Some pots come with drainage holes, however alot of vessels (especially those not intending for planting) won't and so you should consider making holes for this purpose.

Growing in pots is generally easy to do, however be mindful and watch for excess water or not enough as well as potential pests and diseases.



It's pretty common to grow herbs on a window sill or in pots outside and tomatoes in larger pots or in a grow bag but there is a much wider variety of vegetables that you could grow in containers that have shallow root systems:

  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Carrots
  • Chillies
  • Dwarf beans
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rocket
  • Runner beans
  • Salad leaves
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

This list is not exhaustive! Avoid vegetables that require a fair amount of depth. Check your seed packet instructions for sowing, after care and harvesting as there can be several varieties of each vegetable and you will also need to factor in your location and it's weather.

Some will require bigger containers than others, you will need to see the instructions for space allowance when sowing or it may be that you re-pot once established. Feel free to read our Companion Planting page to reap the benefits of maximising pot growing in a confined area.

Do also check out our page about Vertical Growing.

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