Whether it’s down to spending a lot more time at home, or an increasing trend for sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint, there’s no doubt that we’re all looking for ways to get a little bit more from our gardens. Growing vegetables at home is a fantastic – and inexpensive – way to supplement your food shop, and watching something develop from seed, to shoot to harvestable crop is a rewarding and relaxing experience. If you’re keen to start planting your own food, here are some great vegetable garden ideas that can work in any space.
A “kitchen garden” is really just another name for a vegetable garden, but includes herbs and anything else that you can add to your cooking. There’s really no limit to how big or small your kitchen or vegetable garden ideas can be, from the size of a humble milk carton to an entire orchard. Take a look at some kitchen garden tips to get started.
Square foot gardening
If you really want to make the most out of every inch of your vegetable garden, try square foot planting. It’s a method of intensive gardening that maximises every inch of your plot by growing select crops in squares of roughly 30cm (or a foot), in a grid of 16 squares.
By planting a different crop in each square, you can grow a whole variety of foods in a limited space while keeping maintenance low and soil condition high. By condensing your vegetable garden, your plants can stifle weeds and benefit from companion planting to boost your yield.
Are you torn between having a stunning ornamental garden and using the space sustainably? Well, you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two – with foodscaping, you can have both! Foodscaping is about choosing crops that are just as beautiful as flowers, providing structure, colour and texture to your beds.
Foodscaping has been around in some form or another for generations. Traditional French chateaux and Italian villas would have had incredible garden landscapes that still needed to provide food to sustain their respective households. You can read more about foodscaping and find some inspiration on our post dedicated to the beautiful art of foodscaping.
Indoor herb gardens
The best vegetable garden ideas will keep your crops within easy reach of the kitchen. There’s no better example of this than an indoor herb garden: why grow things outside when you can have them right next to your cooker?
Herbs don’t need much room to grow, but can be a little delicate in the UK climate – so a sunny windowsill is the perfect spot for a mini growing station. Our guide to indoor herb gardens should inspire you with some fun, creative and simple setups.
Hanging basket gardens
Did you know that you can grow a whole variety of vegetables in hanging baskets? It’s the perfect solution when floorspace is limited, or if you’re keen to keep your garden off the ground (perhaps away from pets or children). Growing vegetables in hanging baskets is an efficient use of space and – if you combine it with some of the ideas from our foodscaping post – can be just as visually appealing as baskets overflowing with flowers.
Growing vegetables with kids
Teaching children about plants is a fun way to get them excited about being in the garden, and sets them up with valuable lifelong skills. If you’re stuck with fussy eaters, growing fruits and veggies together can even give your little ones some reassurance about what’s on their plate.
Not all plants are ideal (or safe) to grow with kids, so we’ve put together a list of the best plants to grow with kids to get you started. The main thing is to find crops that are interesting and educational to watch as they develop, easy to look after and rewarding when the time comes to harvest them!
Companion planting is about growing specific plants close to each other to improve the quality of one or both. For example, marigolds have been shown to deter onion fly – which can be a huge problem when you’re growing onions. Other pairs are said to improve flavour, while some plants act as a sacrifice to lure pests away from more valuable crops.
Here’s a list of companion plants that seem to yield good results when grown near each other. Some pairs are backed by scientific research, while others are simply anecdotal – either way, it can’t hurt!
If you’re short on space and/or only want to worry about your plants during the growing season, putting your vegetable garden ideas into containers is an excellent choice. By housing your veggies in pots and planters, it’s possible to have a thriving vegetable garden even with a patio, courtyard or balcony.
We’ve got lots of growing guides to help your container garden flourish, including the 10 best vegetables for container gardening, and inspiration for making your containers just as stunning as a flower bed.