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Vegetable Container Gardening

by Lesley J. Mairs

Growing your own fresh, organic vegetables is so easy to do and freshly harvested vegetables taste fabulous. Anyone can grow them and there is no need to have a large garden.

Even if you only have a window box you can grow cut and come again salad leaves, radishes, salad onions and if you have room for a hanging basket then tumbling tomatoes to go with your salad!

If you are growing vegetables on your patio then any container or pot will do as long as it is at least 25cms or 10 inches in diameter and approximately 12 inches deep. Plastic pots are better than terracotta as the compost doesn't dry out as fast but all pots and containers must have drainage holes.

There is no need to buy new pots - recycle where you can - potatoes can be grown in buckets, simply plant one seed potato per bucket. You will tip out a great harvest of lovely, clean potatoes!

Fill your containers with a good sterile compost which can be mixed with top soil to aid water retention but not garden soil as this can contain diseases. Putting a good layer of well rotted manure in the bottom of the containers not only acts as an organic fertilizer but also helps with water retention. If you have really deep containers you can place a thick layer of polystyrene in the bottom first. This will mean that you don't use as much compost filling the containers up.

Put copper tape around the top of the pots to stop slugs and snails which gives them an electric shock or use bird friendly slug pellets.

Remember that container grown vegetables will need watering properly and once every two weeks feed with a good organic general purpose fertilizer.

Try to give them a sunny spot with a south or south west facing position.

The list of vegetables that you can successfully grow in containers is endless. I said earlier tomatoes can be grown in hanging baskets, one plant per basket, try 'Tumbling Tom' or 'Balconi Yellow'. Grow standard tomato plants in pots or grow bags - 'Bloody Butcher' is an excellent tasting, heirloom tomato. One plant per pot or two plants in a grow bag with a cane stick for support.

Dwarf runner beans 'Hestia', dwarf french beans 'Purple Teepee' and 'Kenyan Safari' are great in pots and need no support. You could grow a climbing french bean, 'Blue Lake' is good and use either cane sticks or an obelisk to support the plants. The more you pick the beans, the more they grow!

Courgettes and squashes can be grown and left to scramble across the patio or try 'Trombocino' courgettes and 'Festival' squash which will both climb. These would look stunning growing up an obelisk. 'Defender' is a good courgette variety that never fails to deliver tasty courgettes.

There are carrot varieties especially bred for growing in containers.

'Parmex' is a round carrot and 'Little Finger' is a small baby carrot.

Give Pak Choi and beetroot a try. These are both easy to grow and the beetroot leaves can be cooked like spinach.

One thing that you mustn't forget is cut and come again salad leaves and salad onions. Buy a mixed selection of salad leaf seeds so you are guaranteed a colourful and tasty side salad.

Remember to water and feed the vegetables, enjoy growing them but most of all enjoy eating your own grown, organic vegetables!!


Vegetable-Gardens.co.uk is a new, fresh looking, friendly site aimed at helping you, the gardener, grow wonderful fresh, tasty vegetables and fruit.

Over the coming months they will be adding a library of growing guides to the site with each guide covering a different variety of vegetable. Everything you will need to know from planting, growing and even cooking the various vegetables.


 

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