You do not need a large amount of space to enjoy your own delicious home-grown fruit and vegetables. Many foods can be grown in containers on a patio or terrace.

Tomatoes

Tomato

Tomato

Tomatoes are delicious to eat and versatile to cook with. Although many varieties of tomato grow best under glass, there are plenty of breeds which thrive in the open air and can easily be grown in containers. Choose a determinate or bush type tomato as these are most successful outside. Tumbling Tom is a hugely productive variety which works very well in hanging baskets or small pots and can produce fruit well into the autumn.

Determinate tomatoes are very easy to grow: they do not require pinching out and should not need support. They will grow equally well in pots or gro-bags: but for best results make sure you feed them regularly.

Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries are easy to care for, and grow well in pots. You can even grow them out of the side of hanging baskets, which has the added bonus of keeping them away from slugs and snails. You can buy special strawberry pots with holes in the side to maximize the space available.

Strawberry plants tend to be more productive in their second year, so you may need to be creative with your desserts in the first year. Try chopping them finely and serving on a meringue nest with a dollop of whipped cream. The plants usually put out runners which you can grow on by placing a small pot of soil underneath the new shoot.

Potatoes

Potatoes

Potatoes

Potatoes are easy to grow and absolutely delicious when freshly dug. All you need is an old compost bag and plenty of soil. Do not be tempted to plant potatoes from the supermarket: buy seed potatoes from the garden center as they are guaranteed to be free from viruses and disease.

Fill your compost bag about one-third full with soil and plant the potatoes just beneath the surface. As they grow, add more soil to the bag until it is almost full. Keep your potatoes well watered and harvest them in late summer or early autumn.

Herbs

Herbs

Herbs

Many herbs can be grown outside in pots including mint, parsley, coriander, rosemary and chives. Other herbs such as basil are not hardy enough to grow outside during the winter, but will do well on a sunny windowsill.

Other ideas

Most vegetables are now available in varieties suitable for container gardening. Examples include climbing courgettes, dwarf pepper and runner bean plants, and root vegetables such as carrots. You can also buy dwarf stock fruit trees which can be very productive in large pots, but make sure you choose a self fertile variety.

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