A huge kitchen garden isn't essential for growing vegetables - a small, easily managed plot can produce plenty of crops for busy people. The secret of success is making best use of available space.
Discover low-maintenance fruit and veg to grow.
To grow good veg you need a sheltered site that gets full sun for at least half the day, with deep, fertile, well-drained soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Deep, no-dig raised beds are perfect for small gardens.
By working the soil deeply and adding organic matter to the surface, you can plant veg at two-thirds’ normal spacing, with no paths between rows, so you pack lots into the space.
You can also use large patio containers for certain crops, or create a decorative potager – a walk-through area with beds planted prettily with vegetables instead of flowers.
Grow crops that grow fast and crop quickly, so that you have a quick turnover of produce and can avoid any gaps. Pests and diseases are more of a problem with closely spaced crops, so opt for modern pest- and disease-resistant varieties, where possible.
Make the best use of your space by growing the crops suggested below.
These heavy-yielding climbing plants keep cropping all summer, so one sowing should be enough. Runner beans are easy and reliable, and their flowers are pretty enough for them to grow up a fence, trellis or arch, or in a deep container on the patio. Read our runner bean Grow Guide.