Grow Food in Containers – Part 3
If you’ve been following my guide on How to Grow Food in Containers, your salad crops should be almost ready to harvest now, but don’t worry if you haven’t sown any crops yet as all types of green, leafy salads are best sown every 3-4 weeks to guarantee a continuous supply until late autumn. As well as mixed lettuces, rocket and spinach, I’m growing landcress (which tastes like watercress) and it’s doing really well.
Grow Beans and Peas
Beans and peas should be winding their way up the bamboo canes and courgettes (zucchini) and cucumber plants should be growing well. Pot on courgettes and cucumbers individually in 12”/30cm pots filled with a rich, organic compost and place in a sunny spot. All the above crops should be ready to harvest within about 2 months from sowing – so not long!
As a rule of thumb, when potting fruit or veg, make sure they are planted to the same depth as they were in the original pot.
There are other tasty crops which can be sown outside now including beetroot, carrots and radishes. These are easy to grow, but as they are root vegetables, and develop underground, the pot will need to be fairly deep, about 12”/30cm should be ideal.
Hardy Crops in Containers
I know it’s summer and the last thing anyone wants to think about is winter … but, if you sow some winter hardy crops during July, you will be rewarded with delicious home-grown veg during winter! My favourites are Swiss chard or spinach beet, winter spinach, kale, mizuna, oriental greens, winter lettuces, spring cabbages and broad beans (fava). All these will grow happily in pots over winter as long as they are sheltered from the worst of the weather. Mind you, I’ve grown chard in freezing temperatures and it just seems to bounce back time and time again.
To keep your crops more protected, drape over an old blanket or several layers of horticultural fleece overnight during severe weather, or better still, invest in a heated greenhouse! Another crop which I always grow is garlic; I use it in cooking almost daily. Garlic can be planted in large pots during autumn and the bulbs will be ready to harvest the following spring. Garlic is amazing as its strong scent will deter pests from other crops.
Water is Vital
It is important to keep crops watered well in summer, and if possible, water first thing in the morning and again in the evening. Water the soil rather than the leaves as strong sunshine may scorch wet leaves and damage the plant.
I feed all my crops every couple of weeks with an organic liquid seaweed food during the growing season. If you don’t want to buy fertilizer, nettles make a good choice for leafy veg. Google it – it’s easy to make, very smelly but loaded with vitamins and minerals, plus of course, it’s free!
Advantages of Growing in Pots
The advantages of growing in containers are:-
- Pots can be used in the smallest of spaces.
- They can be placed near the house which makes watering and harvesting easier.
- Containers can be turned around so that the sun shines on them evenly.
- Pots can be moved to a shady spot if the sun is too hot and they can be moved to a sheltered position if strong winds or cold weather are forecast
I grow a lot of my crops in containers, and there’s nothing more satisfying than feeding my family with freshly picked, organic food!
It’s so relaxing being outside with nature, listening to the bees buzzing or watching a small bird landing on the plants to eat the greenfly. Do have a go at growing your own food – perhaps even a few herbs to start with, but I guarantee, you’ll get hooked![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]