According to the ONS, 1 in 8 people in the UK don’t have a garden. That means for 12% of the UK population, pulling on some wellies and digging a spot in the garden for a veg plot just isn’t realistic. But a lack of outdoor space doesn’t need to stop you. Whether you have a small garden, a balcony or just a window ledge, there's plenty of options if you're serious about starting to grow your own food at home.
We believe gardening should be accessible to everyone, regardless of where you live and the space you have. So, we’ve curated some fantastic ideas that you can use to grow your own food without a garden. How many have you tried and did they work for you?
So, you’re probably thinking ‘what vegetables can I grow on my patio?’ Well, you might be amazed at the range of plants and vegetables you can grow in containers, planters and pots on patios and balconies. If you have a small back garden or no garden at all, it doesn’t mean you need to feel left out of the ‘grow your own’ revolution.
One of the most popular products here at WM James is our patio potato planters. These genius pots take up very little space, are fully collapsable, and hold up to 40 litres of soil! That’s enough to plant 3-5 potato seeds that could yield a return of 200g - 500g+ per seed sown depending on when you harvest them and the variety grown.
Similarly, hanging tomato planters also take up very little space and can deliver brilliant returns. Not only do these creative planters take up very little space, but they can also produce tomatoes up to a month before you would see the same results from using grow bags, which take up a lot of floor space.
Other fruit and vegetables that don’t take up much space and can easily be grown on patios and balconies include:
For those without a garden or those who want to maximise their growing space, window boxes are certainly near the top of the list of growing options. It can take some time to figure out the best conditions and placement for your window box, although once you’ve worked this out, you can sit back and watch your window garden grow.
Growing kitchen herbs is still one of the most common plants found in window boxes but don’t let that stop you from getting creative with what you can grow. Depending on how much sun your window box receives and how often you can tend to it, the possibilities of what you can grow are far and wide. Some examples of plants and vegetables you can grow without a garden but in window boxes include:
Community garden projects go beyond simply having somewhere to plant a few veggies. Many community gardens are integral to bringing the community together, promoting better mental health and educating children and adults alike about the wildlife and environment near to where they live.
For anyone interested in gardening or nature, community gardens offer an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded people and build your own knowledge about gardening while also giving back to the community. You may also get your share of the crops to take home with you!
Community gardens can range from a small corner plot of an allotment to an ample dedicated space owned privately by local organisations or the council. The Social Farms & Gardens team has compiled a brilliant list of projects across the UK, allowing you to search for projects in your local area.
We couldn’t create this post without adding allotments to the list. Many people might think of allotments as old fashioned and dying out, but that idea couldn’t be more wrong. Allotment ownership is as strong as ever, with some allotment waiting lists running into years.
There are two wonderful allotment associations near to us in Bridport:
Usually, an allotment plot will give you enough space to install a fruit cage to protect your berries and fruit while leaving room for veggies like potatoes, carrots, beans and more. While an allotment will give you ample space to grow your favourite fruit can veg, it also provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with other varieties without sacrificing too much space. You may even be allowed small livestock like Chickens and Ducks.
If you’re thinking about applying for an allotment, make sure you read our complete guide on how to get an allotment.
Earlier, we touched on window box growing, but the fun doesn’t stop there when growing herbs and plants indoors. You might be surprised at the range of plants and vegetables that can happily grow indoors with the proper care and attention. Indoor plant growing, in particular, has grown hugely during the past 18 months.
The most important aspects to consider are pot size, soil and location. You need to make sure you’re giving your plants space and the conditions they need to thrive. Using an indoor planting soil and adding organic components to the mix will help to prevent soil from drying out which can cause plants to die before you’ve even started.
Location is also vital. When planting veg indoors, always check the seed packets to see the ideal conditions for your plants. While plants like tomatoes will love a spot that gets beaming sun all day, other veg and herbs will not and will dry up quickly, potentially even becoming damaged beyond saving.
Ironically a lot of houseplants and vegetables die due to overwatering. Using a drip tray underneath your posts will ensure that your soil can absorb water when needed without becoming waterlogged and losing precious nutrients. Vegetables and fruit that will do well when grown inside include:
Countless studies have shown the importance of having access to green spaces for our mental and physical health. For those without a garden or access to outdoor green spaces, the solution is creating your own little piece of green heaven, right where you live now.
From installing window boxes to hanging planters and low-level pots on a balcony, there are plenty of ways t grow your own food without a garden, bring more nature into your life and enjoy the calming, refreshing qualities that tending to a garden, no matter the size, brings to your life.
Thinking of growing your own fruit and veg? Browse our range of plant growing essentials.