How to grow veg in small spaces

By Andy McIndoe

Not everyone has the space to grow their own vegetables. Those with just a balcony, a tiny courtyard, or a doorstep may struggle even to accommodate pots or growing bags. In some cases space is too limited even for a timber VegTrug. Also it may be too difficult to manage: too heavy to assemble, move or fill with compost. The great new alternative is VegTrug Poppy: a trendy planter that holds 55litres of compost: just enough to grow a few herbs, salad leaves or flowers close to the house.

VegTrug Poppy in place

VegTrug Poppy consists of a folding frame that carries a felt planting basket, thoroughly lined and beautifully made. The felt planter comes in a choice of vibrant colours and is securely attached to the frames with neat Velcro fasteners. Once assembled the frame can be folded for storage when not in use and the felt liner can be replaced if necessary. VegTrug Poppy is neat and will fit into the smallest of spaces. It’s more than just functional: it’s lively colourful personality will brighten up the drabbest surroundings.

VegTrug Poppy

I see this as the ideal planter for the young gardener starting out, and for the more mature gardener that wants easy access to an attractive planting container. Although I’ve got plenty of space to grow my own veggies, and I’ve already got my small timber VegTrug set up, I decided to give it a go and set up Poppy on the doorstep. I chose the lime green version with a silver frame. It is probably rather bright and contemporary for our garden, but it does make me smile every time I see it.

Poppy and plants

I chose a few herbs, primroses and violas to plant in it and used multi-purpose growing medium with added loam. This is general purpose compost which contains enough nutrients for the first six weeks after planting. The one I used is suitable for seed sowing, however I will probably start any seeds indoors on the windowsill in pots or cell trays before planting out, or I’ll buy them ready started.

primroses, violas and herbs

First you have to assemble the metal frame. This isn’t difficult but you do need to be careful to get the side rods and the hinged ends in the right positions. I never read instructions and I always dive straight in; however I have learnt not to screw everything together tightly at the outset. I just get all parts in place loosely attached in case I’ve got anything wrong – then it is easy to change. The felt planter is easily secured using the Velcro strips. I’s really nice quality and moulds into the frame when you fill it with compost.

I planted two different types of thyme, lemon and common, and a variegated sage. It’s still early in the season; I’ll add other herbs later. The primroses bring a little spring onto the doorstep and they go wonderfully with the sky blue trailing violas; The variety is Viola ‘Endurio’ which I’ve had great results with in pots.

Primrose salad

The primrose and viola flowers are edible. I wouldn’t describe them as delicious but they make a very pretty addition to a salad. Edible flowers may not be everyone’s cup of tea but as we partly eat with our eyes these certainly make a feast for the senses. Of course the primroses are just for spring. When they’ve finished flowering I’ll plant them in a shady corner of the garden and replace them in VegTrug Poppy with some chives, parsley and a few nasturtiums. The petals of these are a great addition to summer salads. I will still have room for a chilli plant and a trailing tomato: both attractive and productive too.


VegTrug Poppy comes in different colour with black or silver frame. The red and lime with black frame and the lime with silver are the most popular and work well in more situations: both look good with veggie crops. Imagine the red and black Poppy full of ripe strawberries.....

vegtrug-poppy black-frame-red-planter-popkt008rd

Buy VegTrug Poppy now:

Small VegTrug Progress Report

You may remember that I set up my small VegTrug a few weeks ago so that I could get started with a few sowings. The weather has been fairly mild but very dull and wet. I have had the cover on my VegTrug and I must admit it’s blown off a few times because I haven’t anchored it onto the base with the clips supplied. This really is necessary to avoid damage.

My radish seedlings

My seeds have germinated well: radish, rocket and spicy salad leaves. As I thought I have really sown them too thickly, which is wasteful. I will need to thin them by carefully pulling out some of the seedlings once large enough. I could easily have got a second sowing from the same amount of seeds.

Seeds have germinated

I still intend to add a few herb plants in the next week. If I can’t get any from the garden centre I might try a pot of supermarket parsley. I’m also going to add a few dwarf broad beans and maybe some dwarf peas. These are both subjects that can be sown early. I also want to sow a few beetroot – as much for the foliage as for the roots. Look out for my next VegTrug blog and I’ll tell you more.


Andy McIndoe

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