What to grow in Container gardens
Almost anything can be grown in a container. But, before you rush out to pot anything, take a moment to think about what you want your container garden to achieve.
- Are you looking to grow food such as vegetables or herbs?
- Are you running out of space in your polytunnel?
- Does your garden need colour, height and texture?
- Is your growing season short and you are looking for something that can come inside?
You can grow a lot of vegetables and fruits in containers however, some plants are better suited to pots than others:
How to make sure your potted plant is happy
After you’ve thought about what you want, consider what you can provide the plants given your environment, space and time commitment.
Find out how big your plants will be when mature and make sure your container can accommodate that. Dwarf varieties usually do well in containers since they are small by nature and they do not grow very tall.
Container plants do best in a potting mix rather than in garden soil which can compact easily. Your potting mix needs to be light, fluffy, well-draining and contain enough organic material to hold water and nutrients.
Here is how you can make a basic mix:
- 1 part mature compost
- 1 part garden topsoil
- 1 part perlite or clean builder’s sand
You can also use coconut coir and manure in the mix.
A balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer may also be added to the mix.
Because the potting mix is usually less dense than garden soil and thus holds less water, the watering routine will be different. Additionally, the pot size restricts the amount of soil to hold water. And because the pots are above ground, they don’t have all that soil mass around them to keep cool. Too much or too little water will kill your plants. The idea is to keep the soil moist throughout, but not wet. You may attract undesirable insects such as gnats. Many container-grown plants need to be watered once or twice a day when it is hot, especially if they are in the polytunnel.
Adding organic mulch to the top of your containers will retain moisture on warm days and add nutrients to the soil (remember that nutrients leach out each time you water and need to be replaced.). you can also add a little bit of clay balls which will retain the water or some broken hay.
Nutrient solutions such as worm teas made from worm castings, as well as liquid organic fertilizers will give a boost to your plants.
Most plants need 6-12 hours of sunlight a day (especially herbs and vegetables with fruits).
Check out Sow Diverse for dwarf tomatoes and cherry tomatoes varieties, aubergines, peppers, lettuce, spinach, radish, summer squash, cucumbers…