The Garden on a miserable January day
My son and I are gardening in a small courtyard but at least we do have borders. I appreciate that lots of you may only have space for a few containers, so this is just for you.
In many ways it is easier to grow veggies in containers. Although you must water daily, avoid waterlogging and feed regularly, at least you know you have to. When you grow veggies in the ground you can become a bit complacent (read lazy) and then when you do bother to visit them, they have died. Pots are also great for kids because they are easier for them to manage.
My top tip is to use mulched veggie peelings mixed in with the soil. As it continues to rot down in the pot, the soil is fed with goodness. It also saves having to wait for your veggies to rot down completely in a compost heap, which is important when you are short of space.
You can pretty much grow anything in a container but here is what we will be growing in containers this year.
We are going to try growing mint and coriander pots. We have never successfully grown coriander before but if nothing else, it will teach my son that not everything that you plant actually grows. Mint on the other hand is really easy to grow. We bought a few pots of it from a supermarket years ago and after they were cut down, we left them on the kitchen counter and a few days later, we noticed the little stalks were shooting new leaves. Two years later we have more mint than we know what to do with.
We have previously grown salad leaves in troughs. The great thing about salad leaves is that you don’t have to pick a whole lettuce to use. You just pinch out the leaves as you need them and they keep re-growing through the summer.
Tomatoes actually grow better in a pot or grow bag than in the ground because they thrive on nutritious compost. I have been saving the odd split tomatoes that you find at the end of shop-bought tubs of tomatoes. Rather than throw them away, I have let them dry out. I will sprinkle the seeds directly into pots later in the year. I learnt this by throwing some rotten tomatoes into the wormery and then using the worm compost months later and accidentally growing tomato plants that were full of really tasty tomatoes.
We have never grown them before so we will have to see whether they are an easy grower but having done some research, they are suitable for container gardening.
Carrots are great in large pots. The pots need to be quite deep for a standard carrot but you can get dwarf varieties for smaller pots. We successfully grew them last year. We should have left them longer to get bigger carrots but the leaves looked so bushy and healthy, I could not resist harvesting them. Also, we have a house rabbit and I was impatient to feed him something homegrown that wasn’t a dandelion! This year I will try to be more patient.
I have friends who have successfully grown beans and peas in pots and none of them are what you would call gardeners. I have not grown peas before but they look very pretty and they attract butterflies and bees and any successful garden needs its insects.
ONIONS & GARLIC
I have tried both in pots before and they started well but we neglected them so the onions did not grow very big and the garlic rotted. This year my son and I will look after them properly so hopefully we will see good results. Garlic does not need much room but if you put them in tiny pots, they can be starved of nutrients. We fortunately have an abundance of worm wee to constantly top up the nutrient content of our pots but I will still use slightly larger pots than I did last year, to ensure the garlic thrives. To get a decent crop of standard onions, a larger pot is needed.
So there you have it, our plans for container gardening. Is anyone trying other veggies in pots?