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Low maintenance, most productive crops, for a smaller space.

Hi Guys,

I know we're only mid summer but I've had a very poor season this year and not grown much for various reasons, so I'm looking at doing some planning for next year.

I only have a relatively small space and am a bit limited on time with work and other commitments, so was wondering if anyone had suggestions on what tend to be the most productive and lowest maintenance crops i could try growing in a small space?

As an added difficulty, my "Veg Patch" has some shading, so only really has a full days direct sun in the middle of summer, and less so in spring and autumn. 

I always grow runner beans as these are prolific croppers and we love them but other suggestions and experiences would be very much appreciated.



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    What veg crops do you like @Glenjjones? No point growing stuff you don't like   :)
    I don't grow a lot of veg, but salad leaves - lettuce, Mizuna etc, are happier with some shade, and don't need much help to keep a good supply. 
    If you like runner beans, there's always things like Mange tout as well, which are pretty easy. I freeze them if we have too many, but a few plants gives a decent crop.
    I grow tomatoes, but they could be considered a bit more work, depending on your point of view, and your general growing conditions. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,913
    Swiss chard (Fordhook's Giant) is a regular in our small veg patch.  We sow direct into the ground in spring.  All we have to do is keep it weeded until it's big enough to crowd the weeds out itself.  It produces all summer, and then over-winters under a little poythene tunnel type cloche, and springs into action again in milder spells, giving us fresh spinach-like leaves for a good 8 months of the year.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I've never tried freezing mange tout Fairygirl, when thawed do they go soggy like runner beans or do they stay firm?
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • It isn't midsummer anymore  :)
    Check your soil type out and find out what will do best. You could maybe set some garlic off this Nov, that doesn't take up much room.
    I don't think it's wise to spec a compact plant as it might not grow there or you may not even like it and all plants need space. Either to grow into, or clear space around them, although onions spring to mind, carrots, celery maybe?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    I think they would be a bit soggy @Uff, if you were just steaming or boiling them. I tend to use them for stir fries, and they're ok for that.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Kohl rabi.
  • SYinUSASYinUSA Posts: 234
    Okra is the most low-maintenance thing I've ever grown, especially given its production. It loves heat and doesn't mind drought or poor soil. It gets tall (5' or so) but only needs about a square foot per plant. Pick when the pods are small; if they get too big they become too fibrous to eat. 

    Boil in water for 3-4 minutes (until fork-tender at the top of the pod), then toss with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Raw pods (whole or cut) also freeze well. 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,497
    Glenjjones   You should be able to grow 24 runner bean plants in one square yard/metre of space, and onions grown through roofing felt can last a full year as per pic.
  • Lettuce, pak choy & radish have been relatively easy for me but it's a battle with the slugs. The red loose leaf lettuce (lolla rosa) seemed less appealing to the slugs than the other varieties. French beans are also low maintenance if you can keep the slugs off during the first few weeks.

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,548
    If you want tomatoes,  try the Bush varieties,  they require a lot less attention.  I agree with comments about salads,  I also agree about growing what you like to eat.  Some herbs are a good bet, some of the supermarket growing pots have multiple plants in them and can be split and planted out. 
    AB Still learning

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