1. Measure your garden & make a plan
Firstly, you've got to get the space ready for your container garden. Sunlight is super important for growing veg in pots: a very shady space won't work.
Plan out where you want to position your planters – do you have a fence or wall to encourage a climbing plant such as runner beans, raspberries or peas? Do you plan to colonise a balcony with swathes of fragrant herbs? If so, clear the space, plan out your seating area - then you can measure up and work out where your planters and pots will sit.
2. Which containers are best for growing veg?
If you're a bit of a Handy Andy you might consider screwing some planks or pallets together for some rustic, made to measure planters. These can be great in an awkward space.
You'll just need weatherproofed timber from a builders' merchant and your power tools (don't forget the safety kit too).
You can simply buy the right sized containers - you'll find a great range of plant pots at Argos. For a bumper crop of tasty vegetables go for wide, deep containers so your veg have room to grow and won't end up sickly and pot-bound.
You'll also have to figure out how you'll water them: these days you'll find some great space-saving terraced water butts which also double as planters, great for using in a small patio garden.
3. Onwards & upwards: vertical gardening!
There's nothing like the taste of freshly picked herbs, they don't need much space to grow and make a great choice for wall mounted planters and, once established, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme can live outside all year round.
Training crops to grow vertically keeps the produce off the ground and enables you to plant more in a smaller area. Tomatoes, pole beans and peas work well on a trellis. Crack the garden tools out and create a classic runner bean teepee with the kids to inspire your little gardeners.
4. Growing fruit in pots
Being short on space doesn't mean you can't grow fruit trees. Heavy, stable pots are best for fruit trees – they're less likely to be blown over in strong winds. Training fruit trees to 'espalier' or grow out horizontally along a fence or trellis is a nifty space-saving trick.
If you're very tight on space, fruit trees might become a challenge quite quickly - you'll need to re-pot them at least every other year, or they'll become pot-bound. Gooseberries, currants, strawberries and raspberries might be a better bet than apples and pears on a balcony garden!
Save waterby lining terracotta pots with plastic bags to stop the pot absorbing water and drying out the compost.
For a colourful gardenpaint containers bright colours before planting - use spray paint or chalk paint to create patterns or bursts of colour.
Stack pots verticallyto save water: Water the top pot and excess water will drip down to the containers below!