It's a great time of year to plant some tasty veggies. A small space can still bring you some home-grown produce to be proud of. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

1. Bush beans aka Dwarf Beans

Bush beans, also known as dwarf beans, will typically stay short and grow outward – so they’re perfect to grow in pots, containers or small spaces.

Bush beans are great to grow from seed, in fact they were featured in our blog: 9 vegetables best grown from seed. It is best to put bush bean seeds directly into the soil, rather than try to transplant seedlings.

Choose a pot at least 20 cm deep and place the seed a few centimetres deep into the soil. If you're new to planting, you can find more advice in our seed planting tips for beginners.

These beans also have cousins in the climbing variety, which are great for utilising vertical space in small spots like balconies.

You can even create trellises by reusing materials from around the house. Ultimately, you just need some string hanging from a sturdy rod or beam.

To get you started on understanding how beans trellis, and get some DIY ideas, see this blog.

2. Chilli

Chillies have been used in meals for more than 6000 years, and were used to preserve food since before refrigerators. And it’s easy to get a lot of produce from one compact plant.

Chilli is typically grown from seed, but It’s fine to plant from seedlings. The plants transplant well.

Bonus too is that they last a long time, so you can grow them all the way through Autumn.

Chilli plants like full sun, but be sure to keep them moist, but never wet.

If you’ve got enough space, you might like to consider planting a few pots’ full and using different chilli varieties in each. Along with getting a variety of chilli flavours, you will also have an array of different sizes and colours on hand.

Top tip: Jalapenos are a great go-to chilli to grow, as they can be turned into Jalapeno poppers! 'Sandia' de Hatch green chillies have a great mild flavour for adding to simple curry recipes. The famous Padron chillies, named after their town of origin in Spain, are commonly made into tapas.

3. Spring onion

Spring onions are easy to grow, don’t take up much space and can be grown all year round.

To grow them from seeds, put them straight into the pot where they will grow, rather than transferring them later. Sprinkle a few seeds in each spot, a few centimetres in the soil, so you grow a bunch of spring onions altogether that can be harvested that way too. Choose at least a 20 cm wide and 20 cm deep pot with drainage holes. These onions love full sun, so they're great for sitting on the windowsill.

Get step-by-step instructions with this blog from our friends at Grow It Local: How To Regrow Spring Onions & Reduce Food Waste Forever.

Top tip: Did you know spring onions can also be regrown by cutting off, and keeping, the bottoms of existing bunches! Next time you buy a bunch of spring onions, save them from being wasted and give yourself a lifetime supply to add to your omelettes and stir fry.

4. Capsicum

It's always a good idea to have capsicum handy – it can be used for everything from stir fry to frittata and pasta. And with it being very happy growing in a pot, it’s perfect for your petite veggie patch.

Check out some of the smaller varieties, like banana capsicums, as they produce a lot and give you more yield per plant.

Capsicum likes full sun, but can get burnt in our dry summer, so choose a spot that gets shade in the afternoon. Larger varieties need to be staked.

Potted plants need to be watered more frequently, and capsicums should get regular deep watering, especially in warmer weather, as they have deep root systems.

Your veggies will start to appear 12 to 15 weeks after planting.

5. Lettuce

Lettuce seeds are so small that you only need to plant them in a few millimetres of soil – ideal for a small, shallow garden patch.

Make sure your pot is about 20 cm deep or more, and has drainage holes, as lettuce doesn't like wet roots all day.

Lettuce also hates being dry and requires regular watering. It sounds high maintenance, but lettuce is not a complicated bunch. It likes plenty of water without suffocating or drowning.

There are many different varieties of lettuce, and there are great companion plants that go with lettuce.

As pointed out in Grow It Local's Lettuce Deep Dive blog, vegetables like carrot and beetroot have roots that reach further down in the soil, which works well alongside lettuces' short roots. Tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, and corn are also great to grow next to lettuce – as they grow, they will give them some shelter from the sun in summer.

You should have outer leaves to use in your burgers and salads in about 3 to 4 weeks.

Top tip: Rather than use the whole plant, you can just pick the leaves you need. This is known as 'cut and come again'. Remember to cut the leaves with scissors. Do not tear them and don't take more than a third of the plant, to make sure it still has enough to keep growing.

Happy planting!

If you’re beginning your food gardening journey, head to our hub for more tips and tricks.

Photo credit: Helin Loik-Tomson on iStock.

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