The Zimbabwe Independent

Eight of the best varieties for container gardeners


STAYING at home for a year has pushed many of us to gardening. Be it for the promise of self-sufficienc­y amid the threat of supermarke­t shortages, the ability to witness growth and change as our lives stand still, or just for something to do, in the gardening world business is booming.

Crops in Tight Spots (Octopus, 18.99) is a book that offers an essential guide to the delicious fruit, salad, herbs and vegetables you can grow at home when you do not have much outside space — perfect for apartment-dwelling

From windowsill­s to hanging baskets, pots to raised beds it is full of inspiratio­nal projects and planting ideas — even if you have no gardening experience at all.

ere is really no limit to what you can harvest. Eight of the best crops to order now to sow:


Unbeatable flavour when grown at home. If you leave it too late to sow the seeds (best done in early spring), order small plants online and plant them in compost in pots in a warm, sheltered place out of the wind. Choose a trailing variety for window boxes and hanging baskets and a cordon variety for grow bags and larger pots, to grow up a cane.


Choose from mild to super-fiery and pick the chillies fresh or dry, or freeze to preserve the harvest. An absolute winner, with a massive harvest and so easy to grow.


Have a chef's smorgasbor­d of flavour at your fingertips by growing pots of herbs at home. From thyme to chives, oregano to sage, parsley and mint, all will grow in pots or window boxes. All but chives and mint need lots of sun. Herbal teas are easy to make from lemon verbena, mint or chamomile flowers.

Dwarf French beans

A great choice for a small raised bed or large pot, since they pump out masses of delicious beans and you don’t need to put in wigwams to grow them up.

Lettuce and other salad leaves

Easy to grow — either from little plants or from seed. Buy a packet and start the seeds off in little pots then plant out when bigger. Or sow more thickly and cut them as baby leaves. Add some salad rocket and oriental salad leaves seed into the mix and you have the perfect salad at your fingertips.


When you grow cucumbers at home they have so much flavour — a world away from those slimy shop-bought ones — and kids love them. Grow them in a large pot up a trellis in a sunny place.

Mangetout and sugar snap peas

So easy to grow from seed — sow them thickly and cut them as pea shoots or sow them further apart and let them grow up twiggy sticks and harvest the pods that you eat whole.


If you have a big pot like a tub trug or a raised bed, then a courgette plant is worth growing. Just one plant can produce around three courgettes a day at the height of summer — so you would better like eating them! Easy to grow in a sunny space as long as you don’t let them get too dry.

Growing crops along walls, fences

However, little room you have at ground level, you will have plenty more above your head. Is there somewhere you can fit a wall bracket, or railings you can sling a hanging planter over?

Leafy Asian greens such as mizuna, mustards, tsoi sim and Chinese broccoli and other salad leaves, will appreciate the cool of a shady wall in high summer and grow well in fabric pocket planters that you can attach to the wall.

Cover sunnier walls and fences with Japanese wineberrie­s and the cocktail kiwi vine.

Many vegetable plants dislike roof terraces and balconies because they can be such windy places. But Mediterran­ean herbs such as rosemary and thyme can tough it out.

Sunny windowsill­s are a great spot for samphire, the beach-growing vegetable beloved of upmarket fishmonger­s. It’s easy to grow as long as you remember to add sea salt to the water to make it feel at home.

Even downpipes can have an upside. Use pipe rings to hold terracotta pots to the pipe, planted with strawberri­es and herbs if it’s sunny. If in shade, you can plant the pots with buckler’s leaf sorrel, parsley or mint instead.

If you have a sheltered, sunny courtyard fill it with large terracotta pots and grow herbs, figs, chillis, blueberrie­s, tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes. If you have room you won’t regret buying a couple of small raised beds.

Wooden crates are great for these spaces. ey are big enough to grow pretty much anything, light to carry and they look natural. — homesandpr­

 ??  ?? Up a drainpipe … You can hold pots with pipe clips.
Up a drainpipe … You can hold pots with pipe clips.

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