If you don’t have a vegetable patch do not despair! Many vegetables perform well in pots, and arranged near your kitchen they are both attractive and convenient to pick. What container? Terracotta pots look attractive but tend dry out faster than plastic. Plastic pots are also lighter to move about.
Consider recycled planters like old wooden boxes, buckets or even a pile of old tyres filled with soil. All containers must have drainage holes and will benefit from broken crocs or gravel placed in the base before filling with soil.
You can also grow vegetables in grow bags and vegetable planters. Shallow pots are ideal for salads, spring onions, radishes and beetroot, but potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and courgettes need more soil depth. The larger the container the less the risk of the soil drying out which reduces stress and improves productivity. Which vegetables? Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, Radish, Baby Beetroot, Carrots, Spring Onions, Chicory, Rocket, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Beans, Chillies. Apples and Pears on dwarf (M27) Root Stocks may also be grown in large containers as well as Blueberries in ericaceous compost) and Figs.
Compost Selection and Feeding and Watering:- the best soil for growing vegetables is John Innes No3. It contains some soil which retains moisture better than purely peat composts and provides greater stability for plants. Peat based compost tend to dry out quickly and therefore you should choose one containing water retaining gel or you should consider mixing it in before planting.
The addition of controlled release fertiliser to your compost such as Osmocote will assist with feeding your crops over a period of weeks saving you the need to liquid feed so much. Fill the compost to 2cm from the rim of the pot so allow space for water in summer. Feed fruiting crops like tomatoes a high-potash feed like Tomorite. Leafy crops like lettuce prefer a high Nitrogen feed such as Miracle-Gro.
Root crops prefer a phosphorous-rich feed. If in doubt use any liquid feed recommended for vegetables. Feeding should take place weekly once plants Compost needs to be moist at all times and must be watered depending on the weather.
Larger containers dry out slower than small ones so if you are planning to go on holiday try and choose larger pots. Sowing Ensure that soil firmed down in the pot before sowing. Follow the instructions on the packet. Water in with a fine rose. Pots can be started off in a greenhouse to encourage rapid germination and moved out when 1cm high. Alternatively they can be sown and left outside after May.
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