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The Best Vegetables for Smaller Gardens

Dealing with a smaller vegetable garden shares many similarities with living in a smaller house. It can work, but it’s not always as easy as you expect. Ask any expert garden designers and they’ll tell you that space need not stand in your way of growing your own. Then again, they’ll also tell you that you need to be mindful and savvy with your approach.

From first-timers to established garden designers, there’s really nothing more satisfying than growing and enjoying your own produce. For smaller gardens, the key to success lies in choosing the most productive yet compact plants, which demand minimal space for maximum returns.

So however limited space may be around your own vegetable patch, take a few tips from the UK’s leading garden designers and stick with the following options:


First and foremost, every gardener should grow their own basil. Along with being uniquely versatile and delicious, it’s also very pretty to look at, wonderfully fragrant and comprehensively easy to grow. In fact, it pretty much takes care of itself. You need next to no space at all for basil and with more than 80 varieties to choose from, basil doesn’t have to be boring!


Chard is the perfect example of the kind of plant you can cut, enjoy and return to, time and time again. It’s a favourite among garden designers with limited space as the more you harvest the leaves, the more the plant is encouraged to grow new leaves. Easy to grow, versatile and delicious, chard requires very little space and there are some beautifully coloured varieties to choose from for added visual flair.


Pots and planters are perfect for growing eggplants. There are dozens of varieties to choose from, including many that produce slender plants and equally compact fruits. Start things out indoors, before transplanting to outdoor pots and planters when the weather improves. Very little ground space needed to produce the most incredible harvests, year after year.

Hot Peppers

If looking for the total package of beautiful looks and rich rewards, look no further than hot peppers. The ultimate go-to for garden designers at all levels, hot pepper plants are gorgeously ornamental and uniquely easy to work with. Go as mild or fiery as you like, choosing from an endless variety of options. Reds, greens, yellows and blacks, all from plants that remain tiny enough to house in the smallest pots, indoors or out. An absolute must when looking to make the most of all available space.


Perhaps the ultimate produce in terms of minimal ground space required, the harvests you can enjoy with just a few tomato plants are no less than mind-blowing. In fact, get it right with just a handful of plants and you’ll literally end up with more tomatoes than you know what to do with! There’s also the option of growing cascading tomatoes from a hanging basket, meaning zero floor space required and a gorgeous visual addition to your garden.


It’s hard to go wrong with lettuce – the kind of vegetable there’s always a thousand and one uses for. What’s great about lettuce is that given the right conditions, you can take things from seed to succulent salad in no more than about 45 days. What’s more, they remain compact and tightly confined throughout the cultivation process, adding a real splash of colour to your garden if you choose a more exotic variety. A favourite among garden designers for a very good reason.

Edible Flowers

Fashionable in the extreme and pretty as a picture, most high-end restaurants these days are using edible flowers to dress-up their dishes. A few top-picks among garden designers include nasturtiums, violas, and calendula, which can be planted into the spring and will continue to flourish if picked regularly all through the winter. Bring colour to your garden and your kitchen in one fell swoop!


Last but not least, the fact that you can grow a ton of potatoes in a single sack or barrel means you should probably be doing exactly that. They might not be the prettiest or most glamorous plants in general, but the taste of home-grown potatoes really is something else.

Pick from any of these garden designers’ favourites and explore the potential of your smaller garden this spring.



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