Timeout Garden

Top tips on creating a pretty & edible urban garden as featured in Timeout London.

“At Secret Seed Society I spend my time making edible gardening easy and fun for kids and their families. I’ve designed this garden to inspire first time urban gardeners of all ages.” Amy Cooper

The plan

  • Create easy to manage growing space by building raised beds and filling them with good quality soil.
  • Choose varieties of edible plants which as well as being heavy croppers, hardy and delicious, add colour and structure to your garden design.
  • Make the most of vertical space with trained fruit trees, fruit canes, vines and trellis for beans & peas to creep up.
  • Get rid of the grass, life’s too short to be mowing a square metre of grass.
  • Use the wisdom of companion planting principles to get the best crop out of your beds.

Where to get things from…

  • Ready made raised beds, compost and ready grown seedlings are available from Quick Crop
  • Make your own raised beds, pergola and screening from recycled materials like Simple Homemade It can be easier than hunting around for sustainably grown products and much more satisfying.
  • We chose both our vegetable and flower seeds from the range at Kings Seeds, they also have rhubarb crowns and soft fruit canes.
  • Children’s seeds, vegetable storybooks, recipes and tools that will last a generation or two can be ordered from Secret Seed Society.
  • For vines, fruit trees and bushes Lodge Farm Plants has an excellent range. For knowledgeable advice give them a call.
  • Turn your kitchen waste into food for next years plants with a wormery. They are fun for small and big kidsWiggly Wigglers
  • Save water with a Water Butt and avoid the hosepipe ban. Most water boards offer subsidised water collection items.
  • Sustainable and natural products to encourage a healthy eco-system in your garden are available from The Natural Gardener
  • Between the raised beds put down gravel Stone Warehouse


  • Don’t make it back breaking! Digging is not necessary or advisable in this garden look at how Charles goes about no dig growing with Charles Dowding
  • Make the most of the smallest of spaces from window boxes to balconies with Mark at Vertical Veg
  • Companion planting
  • Secrets of growing from seed: making pots, cloche making, row markers.
  • Hosting wildlife, attracting birds, & make life easier and your garden healthier with Permaculature.
  • Benefit from years of organic gardening knowledge from Garden Organic.

Purple & Orange Kitchen Garden Plant Shopping List

Here’s more info on each of the raised beds in the garden, circulating clockwise from left to right.

Three Sisters’ Bed
The oldest and best known companion planting is Curcubita, Sweetcorn and Legumious families. We chose purple beans and golden courgettes.
French Beans Climbing Purple Cosse Violette (seed)
Sweetcorn (seed)
Courgette Jemmer FI compact plant yellow fruits (plant)
Nasturtium (seed)
Runner Beans, Rainbow Chard, Turnip
Runner Beans Celebration, pink flowers to add some brightness even at a shadier end of a garden
Turnip Milan Purple Top lovely colour quick to mature and hasn’t been in fashion for a while, so we think this year, turnip may make a play for our hearts and a space on our plate.
Rainbow Chard: Easy to grow from seed, they add big leaves and lots of colour. Not a fair weather friend chard will keep producing through winter.
Runner Bean, Cucumber & NasturtiumThe Crystal Lemon Cucumber is very prolific and does well on south facing it can be trained up canes so takes little ground space.

Children’s patch:
Rio Rocket: brings ferny foliage to the garden and a peppery flavour to salad, pizza and pasta dishes.
Carla Carrot & Sanghita Spring Onion: Keep carrot fly away from your carrots by planting them a foot above ground level with the company of stinky veg like onions helps to disguise the sweet carrot smell.
Grandpa Swede & Rudi Radish: Grandpa Swede is a figure of wisdom in Seed City and in the story ‘Bong Bong Bongity Bong’ Rudi Radish is filled with confidence when he remembers Grandpa Swede’s wise words. It therefore seemed fitting to put them next to each other. Radishes will grow fast and as they are picked will leave space for Swede to grow.
Cabbage & Salad Patch
You can play around with the design of this bed to make the most of the speedy salad leaves and the slower growing cabbages. Also take advantage of the mix of purple and green colours and different shaped leaves.
Mixed Salad leaf is pick and come again but if you sow it in batches throughout the year you will always have fresh plants to pick from.
Cabbage Kalibos red cabbage eat raw or cooked.
Winter Red cabbage / purple curly kale Redbor
Peas, Beet and Cavolo Nero
Beetroot is a great companion for many plants, but strangely not runner beans. Beets do make good companions for peas.
Beetroot Boltardy: slow to bolt which is important in a warm enclosed garden such as this, it’s crimson leaves as well as it’s bulbous root for salad
Mange Tout Peas, Oregaon Sugar Pod grow 1m high and have large crunchy pods
Nero Di Toscana is a stunning dark leaved kale for winter use.
Hanging Baskets
Tumbler Tomatoes cascade from your hanging basket and when planted with basil and chives make a tasty summer display. Chive flowers are edible and a colourful addition to any salad bowl.

Arbour of vines
Vines take a year to establish and then will quickly cover the arbour providing shade in Summer with big beautiful leaves which you can stuff, bake and eat. The Autumn will deliver you bunches of luscious grapes.

Sunrise Cordoned Apple Trees will make a great display along the garden wall starting with blossom in Spring and wild flower patches around their base will encourage pollinating insects.
Blackberries are normally thorny, which is good if you are looking to deter unwelcome fence hoppers, but make sure you prune it back hard each year to prevent it turning into a man trap.
Raspberry canes have attractive bright green foliage and the delicate fruit tastes so much better than what you can buy in the shops.
Rhubarb is delicious and if you find a spot in your garden it likes will do well each year.
This collection of herbs will give you flavours and scents for cooking, teas and to bathe in: Purple Sage, Rosemary, Mint, Lavender, Thyme and Bay. Herbs love to be cut; it keeps them healthy, productive and looking neat.