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Summer Harvests for Small Spaces

Summer Harvests for Small Spaces

With the price of produce on the rise, more and more people are turning to grow-your-own. But what if you don’t have a big backyard?

No worries. Growing in containers is a great way to produce home vegetables and fresh herbs for those who only have a balcony or a courtyard for gardening.

Growing vegetables in containers has advantages, even when open ground is available. Watering, weeding, planting and harvesting are easier in raised containers to start with. You can easily move pots around to find the perfect position and curate the ideal soil according to each crop.

Before we delve into the best crops for small spaces, here are some top tips to get you off on the right foot.

Pots & Containers

You can use any good-sized container for growing crops though generally, the larger, the better. Barrels, old buckets, pots, drums and tubs can all be used, providing drainage holes are present.

Use Vertical Space

When your ground space is limited, use vertical space. Hanging baskets, wall gardens, and climbing frames are all great options for the right crop.

Location, location, location

Location matters when it comes to growing vegetables. Most vegetable plants like lots of sun, so it’s essential to put your containers where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day, preferably morning sun rather than the hotter afternoon rays. Also, place them close to your house so you can easily access them.


Water plants thoroughly in the early morning, so they have the moisture to get them through the day. You’ll be surprised how quickly pots can dry out on a hot sunny day, and some plants may not recover from serious wilting.

Now, let’s dig in to the perfect summer crops for small spaces.


Herbs are the ideal edible plants for pots. Most herbs grow really well in pots, and you can bring the average dish to life with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Our top picks for summer are basil, mint, and parsley. Good all-year-round herbs include rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme and even bay.

Different herbs require different growing conditions and care, so be sure to read the label. Then, find a few that you can grow in a pot together for a nice centrepiece to your balcony or courtyard garden.


Strawberries are a classic all-time favourite fruit that looks simply delightful growing in a hanging basket. They will actually grow in any container, so don’t panic if you haven’t got the right position for hanging baskets. They will reward you handsomely so long as they get at least six hours of sun each day, preferably morning sun.

There are lots of different varieties of strawberries that you can grow at home, so why not try a few different ones? Tioga is very reliable for producing an abundant crop of medium-sized strawberries. Or, for something really impressive, try Sumo’s for strawberries as big as your hand.

Leafy Greens

Forget iceberg lettuce; there’s a whole world of interesting leafy greens just waiting to be grown on your balcony. They are easy to grow and ready to harvest in just 8 to 10 weeks.

Loose leaf varieties are most suited to container growing. Some of our favourites include sorrel, mizuna, mesclun and roquette. Keep your eye out for interesting heirloom varieties that you can grow from seed. Make a statement by mixing a few different coloured types in one pot.

They are not especially hungry for nutrients but do require a steady supply of nitrogen and water. Add chook manure to the pot when you plant them and water with seaweed solution every two weeks. Best to choose a position with morning sun rather than stronger afternoon rays.


You can tell just by looking at an eggplant that it comes from a tough plant that copes well under duress. This is partly what makes them perfect for growing in pots.

There is more to the eggplant family than the big, black shiny ones commonly found in shops. Keep an eye out for the more delicate pea or finger-shaped varieties like Slim Jim. We also love Listada De Gandia with its fancy white and purple stripes.

Eggplants love a bit of heat and will perform well in a paved courtyard that catches the morning sun, especially against a wall that reflects the heat.


Spice up your life by growing some chillies. There are so many different varieties of varying heat, size and colour. We love purple chillies for something a little bit different. They are not only delicious but beautiful shrubs.

Heat is key for growing chillies. They require a hot, sun-drenched space, preferably up against a heat-reflecting wall that helps to collect extra rays of warmth. They also need the basics: water, food and love.


From the same family as eggplants, capsicums are another very tough crop. There are many different varieties, and the mini ones are great for small spaces. These short, stocky plants are covered with an array of mini sweet capsicums in a traffic light of colours from red to orange and green.

Capsicums are a heat-loving crop that will prefer a sunny place in the patch with a little airflow to help avoid any fungal disease. They give you a good bang for your buck, producing capsicums for an extended period – sometimes into winter, depending on where you are.

Using containers is an easy way to grow your own, and you can easily expand with more containers to fit the space you have. Whether you have one simple pot for herbs or a mini-farm full of plants. It’s easy to get hooked on the taste of growing your own fresh produce and the convenience of having them right outside your back door.