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The Potty Gardener puts her planters to bed

Written by Hannah Collis

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This week I decided that my well-travelled potted veg garden had given its all and was ready to be put to bed for the winter. The pots and planters have had an exciting year travelling from greenhouse to garden. Then from the Cotswolds to Chelsea and finally settling in their new spot on top of a windy hill in Dorset. 

Healthy Potatoes and other Vegetables grown with Haxnicks Products

My final colourful crop was a healthy collection of oddly sized, strange coloured veg that nevertheless gave me a grin of self-satisfaction and made me wonder a few things….

I wondered...

Q Are the satisfied smiles of celebrity gardeners that glare out of my gardening magazines perhaps true grow-your-own grins rather than I-can-charge-an-enormous-fee faces?

A Of course.

Q Can I call my giant courgette a marrow?

A I can if I want to. Marrows and courgettes are both members of the squash family (cucurbit) with just a few horticultural differences. Strictly speaking, according to my research, if you want to grow marrows you need to choose the right seeds. You should choose a thicker skinned variety of courgette designed to grow big. Also, make sure that you are happy to spend most of autumn making chutney!

Q Can I ripen the last few green tomatoes without the Indian summer that I was expecting?

A Yes with a banana! Put the green toms in a box or jar with a ripe banana and it will release its magic ripening gas to turn your tomatoes red. Wouldn't we all go red if we were trapped in a confined place with a banana?

Q What can I do with the seemingly useful looking soil that I have emptied from the planters?

A The soil will have lost its magic, drained of goodness and gusto for growth. As with crop rotation in veg plots you don’t want to be growing the same sort of veg again in the same soil. This risks pests and diseases that would turn your grow-your-own grin into a grimace. Put the soil on the compost heap or spread it on borders. However, beware of the escaped potato from your potato planter soil. There will be at least one and it will pop up in your flower bed next year. It won't care how out of place it looks.



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