What veg to plant

Below are mini-guides as to what veg. to grow in your windowbox and how to grow it, with recommended cultivars that are known for their ease of growing, good flavour, size or hardiness. Simply click on the icon with the starting letter of your vegetable for details..





Summer Purslane

A nice crunchy, mild flavoured addition to summer and autumn salads, coming in green and yellow formed varieties. Best planted in a sunny, sheltered spot in sun.
Sow seed: 1cm deep, 15cm apart from late spring to mid summer

summer purslane


Salsify is a hardy biennial with long thin roots and edible young shoots that can be eaten throughout the Autumn and Winter. It is also known as the ‘Oyster Plant’ because of the flavour of its roots, which may or may not be to your liking. Grow in a sunny spot in free-draining, sandy soil with reasonable depth.
Sow seed: 1cm deep, 10cm apart in early to late Spring
Varieties: Giant, Sandwich Island



A good winter staple, Swedes are easily grown from seed sown in-situ, in a light, fertile soil, getting a reasonable amount of light.
Sow seed: 2cm deep in late Spring to early Summer
Varieties: Best of All, Invitation, Marian, Ruby



A hardy, perennial vegetable that is native to the shores of the UK. Cultivated varieties are grown for their flavoured stems that are eaten raw and may also be forced in the same way as Rhubarb or Chicory to be more tender (see pic2).
Plant in a very free-draining, deep, sandy soil in full sun.
Sow seed: 3cm deep thinly and transplant to 15cm apart from early to mid spring
Varieties: Seakale Angers

sea kale in the wild
Forced seakale


If the height isn’t going to restrict light into your house too much then having one or two sweetcorn plants in your windowbox is a bit of a fun novelty – and if you’re lucky you might get a couple of cobs to eat too. Sweetcorn needs a warm, sheltered and sunny site to do well in light, fertile soil.
Sow seed: 2 ½ - 4cm deep, 35-45cm apart in mid-late spring.
Varieties: Dickson, Dynasty, Ovation, Sundance



Very similar to salsify, but with black roots and perennial. Growing conditions as per salsify.
Sow seed: 1cm deep, 10cm apart in early to late Spring. A 2nd crop can be sown in late Summer


Sweet Pepper


Sweet pepper plants can be grown from seed indoors and later planted out in summer to fruit in your windowbox, provided that they have a good sunny and sheltered site to move to. They like a fertile, moisture-retentive soil that drains well.
Sow seed: Thinly in pots, lightly covered with potting compost in early to mid spring, kept at 18 – 21oC. Once germinated, grow on at 16-18oC.
Varieties: Ariane (Orange fruits), Gypsy (Long, green to red), Luteus (Yellow), New Ace (Red)

Sweet Pepper


Planted as ‘sets’ (small bulbs) or sown from seed, shallots can have yellow or red skins and are used in cooking or pickling. Prefers a fertile, well-drained soil in sun.
Sow seed: 2cm deep, 2cm apart or sets 15-20cm apart with tips just showing
Varieties: Atlantic, Pikant, Matador



Grown as a hardy annual the leaves have a distinctive taste and flavour that can be cooked or eaten in salads. Will grow well in a fertile, moisture-retentive soil in sun or semi-shade.
Sow seed: 2cm deep, thinly then thin to 8cm apart from early spring to early autumn for cropping from mid spring to late autumn
Varieties: Atlanta, Monnopa, Palco


Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a tender perennial, which is best grown in a greenhouse for best results, so is not recommended here

sweet potato

Swiss Chard & Spinach Chard

Related to beetroot, but used more for its leaves than the insignificant roots, Chard can be used as an alternative to Spinach – and is usually easier to grow. Swiss Chard has prominent mid ribs which can be chopped up and cooked separately to the leafy part (particularly nice in stir fries). Chard is best used as a cut-and-come again crop and comes in some very colourful varieties making a bright addition to a windowbox.
Sow seed: 3cm deep thinly, then transplant to 10cm apart. Sow from mid-spring to late summer
Varieties: Bright Lights, Perpetual Spinach, Rhubarb Chard

swiss chard

Spring Onion

Alternatively known as ‘Scallions’, Spring Onion can be harvested from spring and into early autumn through successional sowing. Grow in a fertile, free-draining soil. Best sown in-situ.
Sow seed: 1-2cm deep, 1cm apart from early spring through to mid autumn
Varieties: (Spring): Laser, White Lisbon (Autumn) : Ramrod

spring onion

Sprouting Broccoli

Sprouting broccoli are in the ground a long time before flowering and are generally too big to warrant considering for a windowbox.

purple sprouting broccoli