A container of salad-bowl veggies makes an attractive addition to the patio, and a useful source for the kitchen.

This container was planted up using seedlings purchased at a local garden centre—two leeks, two lettuce, two tomatoes, two Swiss chard and two green onions. In hindsight, the gardener believes she planted too many seedlings in the available space—but the rather cramped veggies certainly add to the visual appeal, and their tight fit didn't seem to harm the taste. If you're thinking of starting a container veggie garden of your own, consider the following: • Drainage is important. Choose pots with holes in the bottom or sides, so excess water can drain away. And use a potting mix that drains well, such as a soil-less mix. • Opt for large pots—such as half-barrels. This gives the veggies room to grow, and in a larger container, soil dries more slowly in the summer heat. Small containers lose their moisture very quickly. • Fertilize every two to three weeks. This is especially important when plants such as tomatoes and peppers begin to flower.