Veg in a Pot or Planter
Its easy to gorw veg in a pot or planter but some veg are more suitable than others. If you are new to gardening then the list below should contain the basics. It will get you started but the key to growing veg is that if you don't like it then don't grow it! You will be eating everything from your garden and we don't want that to be torture. So feel free to skip any of these suggestions that you don't like...
Growing veg is a perfect opportunity to enrich your Home Schooling Schedule.
When some children answer the question "where do chips come from" with the answer "Sainsbury's" the time is right to act. Growing your own veg show them what happens when Sainsbury's don't deliver any more.
so the gardening ticks the science box but you can also
- write out growing instructions or a poem about your plant (English)
- draw pictures of the plants you are growing (Art)
- Estimate and measure the growing plant (Maths)
Soil v Compost
If your soil is good and full of nutrients then you could fill your planters with this. However, a safer bet is to use good multipurpose compost.
Many Garden Centres are still delivering even though they have been forced to close at the moment by Lockdown. (How strange it will be to re-read this blog in a few years time!) Anyway, most Garden Centres are taking orders over the phone and delivering compost, slow release fertiliser and seeds.
So - the first 5 veggies ( 5 more to come next week!)
1) Cut and come again leaves
These do exactly what the name suggests. Rather than waiting for a whole head of lettuce to grow these leaves can be harvested and eaten as soon as they get to the size you want. Rocket is one of the most common of these but the seeds are often sold as "Salad Leaves" . They may include plants such as Japanese Greens, Arugula, Rucola, Oriental Mustard, Pak Choy, Borecole. They grow fast so you wil lbe eating them in around 3 weeks.
These will grow in whatever pot you have. From a 6" Plant pot on your window cill to a Shallow Oxford Planter. The plants don't have deep roots so no need to waste compost filling a deep planter.
Once you have chosen your planter fill it with compost and sow seeds according to the packet instuction. You may want to sow them every week to ten days to keep a regular supply up. You can get three or more harvests from each sowing as they will regrow once cut.
Like cut and come again, lettuce don't have deep roots so a shallow planter - about 6" (15cm) - will work well. Make sure it has good drainage.
Sow your lettuce seeds onto the surface of your compost and cover with a fine layer of compost as the seeds need light to germinate. If you want to grow a whole head of lettuce then sow and thin to the spacings recommended on the packet. If you want to eat as cut and come again then you can simply scatter over the surface.
They can be planted from January to September so its hardly ever the wrong time to plant radishes. They take approx 4 weeks for sowing seed to harvest so its a great one for anyone impatient.
Again your contianer needs to be around 4" to 6" (10cm to 15cm) deep and have good drainage. As a guide a planter with a diameter of 16" will be Ok for around 5 radishes. Plant them around 1" ro 2" (2 to 4cm) apart according to the packet instructions.
4) Peas & Beans
Peas and beans work very well in pots and planters. There are two types of beans - climbers like Runner Beans and smaller bush varieties like Dwarf French Beans. If you are growing a climber then you will need a pot large enough to take a plant support such as a wigwam made from bamboos canes.
The planter you use has to be bigger than for the salad leaves. If you are really short of space then a 5L Vigoroot pot with a Water Saucer will allow you to grow a runner bean in a 5L pot. If you have a little more space then the Pea and Bean Planter holds 6 bean plants in the space of little bigger than a tea tray. It has pockets to slot your canes into so makes it easy to support them. This planter allows those with just a balcony or very little outside space to enjoy a summer's worth of home grown beans.
If you want to Dwarf Beans then a Medium Oxford planter will work
For full instructions on how to grow beans check out this blog: Grow at home: Green Beans
Whichever you grow, peas and beans will stay productive longer if harvested vigourously, the more you pick the more you get!
You will be surprised how easy these are to grow and how gorgeous the flowers are! These need a big pot or planter - around 40L . Potato planters are inexpensive and can be used year after year. However, if you can't get hold of any, potatoes can be grown in an old compost sack provided you ensure that they have enough drainage.
The good news is that growing potatoes in a planter is far less back breaking than growing in the ground. There is no digging to prepare the bed - simply fill the Potato Planter with compost. And when you come to harvesting just tip it over and collect your potatoes.
For full instructions on growing potatoes check out this blog Grow at Home: Potatoes
That's all for this week but we will be showing you 5 more easy to grow veg next week. If you do decide to grow some veg then we would love to see your progress os please share with us on Soical Media.