You only need a few patio pots to provide a tasty supplement to your daily diet. Because you don’t need many plants it’s probably easier to buy plug plants from the garden centre than grow your own, apart from veg that are sown direct where they are to grow.
You can use any size of container but large, deep pots dry out less quickly than small or shallow ones. It’s important not to allow crops to dry out as they grow, because they’ll fail to produce or they may bolt and run to seed. Make sure the container has drainage holes.
You can fill the containers with standard multi-purpose compost and add some controlled-release fertiliser to maintain growth. If you’re re-using compost in pots that’s had a previous crop or flowers in it, stir up the surface and add some fertiliser to ensure good growth.
Because it’s late in the season it’s always best to grow or sow quick-maturing crops and to choose early varieties that are fast to crop. Avoid plants such as Brussels sprouts or cabbages that take a long time to mature.
The easiest veg to grow in pots is mixed salad leaves, which can simply be sown over the surface of the compost and watered in.
Lettuce – crops can be used before they’re mature by picking off odd leaves, so are productive over a long period.
French beans – plant as young seedlings or sow direct in pots. They’ll germinate quickly and will soon be cropping.
Squash – all squash can be grown in pots, just provide plenty of water and fertiliser. Courgettes are productive for many months.
Potatoes – early ones in pots will be ready to harvest now. Order late seed potatoes to plant in pots for new potatoes at Christmas.