There is absolutely nothing better than eating fresh home grown fruit and vegetables. Anyone can do it, even if there’s no dirt to dig. If you have a small outdoor or temporary space growing fruit and veg in pots is your best option.
When the weather is miserable it’s convenient to keep veg growing a few steps away from the kitchen. The plants are happy as well – they grow quicker in well-drained, sun-warmed container mix than they do in wet, soggy ground. They will suffer less from the wind and frost in a sunny, sheltered location, as well as absorbing any added warmth from the concrete paving. Furthermore, container gardens near the living are less likely to be forgotten about. Feeding and watering becomes a simple part of the household routine. Slugs, snail and weeds become less of a problem. To add warmth during winter and early spring, use a cloche or build a cold frame from an old window.
You can use any container, so long as they contain holes for drainage and space for their growing medium and roots. Garden centres provide a great range of containers, including grow bags and UV-resistant plastic pots. Easy raised beds come in kit set varieties, and these are fully-transportable.
Resourceful gardeners produce edibles in all types of found objects, including baths, basins, old furniture, plastic fish bins, derelict wheelbarrows and feed sacks with the tops rolled down. Wine barrels are perfect for vegetable gardens, and they also look great. Fruit and vegetable plants require plenty of sunlight. Put your containers in a sunny, well-sheltered spot.
If gardening is a new hobby, start small. Try just a few wine barrels or a one metre box you can grow enough fruit and veg to feed the family.
Year-Round Container Crops
Loose Leaf Lettuce is perfect for all kinds of containers. Choose small varieties for pots, such as “Tom Thumb” and “Little Gem”. Pluck the outside leaves when you need them, but allow the plant its ability to carry on growing. For a sweeter taste, regular feed and water.
Microgreens are leaves consumed during the tiny seedling stage, two leaves from their sprout, a week or two after germination. During this early stage of growth they hold high fibre concentrations as well as nutrients and flavour. The leaves of any herb or veg plant can be consumed as a microgreen, including celery, carrot, peas, beetroot, fennel, nasturtium, radishes and peas. They can all be easily grown from their seen in trays or bowls. Sow a complete tray of one style or a variety of plants. Seek out premixed seeds or even create your own.
Herbs that thrive in dry Mediterranean climates, including sage, oregano and thyme will also thrive in pots. The various types of mint are also perfect for pots and will grow in semi-shade. They perform best in cooler weather.
Beetroot begins with seeds or seedlings. The juvenile leaves are delicious eaten raw or steamed and are highly nutritious. However, you don’t want to pick too many if you want the crop to continue to thrive.
Silverbeet is a beautiful container plant, especially if you’re growing the vibrant “Rainbow” variety. Harvest the outer leaves and the plant will continue to grow new leaves. A single plant can fill a 30cm diameter pot or 5L bucket. Otherwise, you can grow two or three plants in a wine barrel or large tub edged with pretty viola flowers or green lettuces.
Rocket thrives in cool weather and is simple from the seed. The nutritious green leaves provide a spicy tang to a salad or sandwich.
Radicchio Is one of the more beautiful winter vegetables with its colourful red leaves. The crunchy vegetable can be consumed raw or cooked. It is delicious when grilled with olive oil.
Chinese cabbage is great for growth in containers and best eaten young. Sow the seeds every few weeks to promote continuous supply.
Broccoli doesn’t seem like a container plant, but you don’t have garden soil there is no reason to not grow broccoli in containers or pots. One plants fills a 5L pot. Seek out the sprouting types so that you have side shoots to eat once the main head is picked.