Say ‘container gardening’ and many of us think of flowers in pots, but in reality almost anything from vegetables to fruit trees can be grown in a container providing it is big enough! The choice is endless: baskets, window boxes, tubs and troughs, grow bags and flexible planters for vegetables. But whatever container you decide to use there are always a few things to remember.
- Try to use the biggest size container that you can. This will prevent the pot drying out and give the plants plenty of room to put down roots.
- For floral containers plant too many rather than too few. A packed container will present a lush, full effect. Just make sure you fertilise and water thoroughly to compensate for the extra plants.
- However warm it is during the day, pots and hanging baskets containing annual plants must not be left outside until the danger of frost has passed.
- Pots in an exposed position will lose more water than those in a sheltered spot and clay pots are porous and will lose more moisture than ones made of other material.
- Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering, this will also keep containers looking tidy and prevent fungal diseases. Because plants are close together, the opportunity for disease is greater than in a normal garden plot. • Feeding and watering are the key to successful container gardening. Never allow the compost to completely dry out and feed weekly during the growing season.
- Water either early in the morning or in the evening, so that the plants can take up the moisture before they are in direct sunlight. But if they are drooping around midday check how wet the compost it about ½ inch down. If it feels damp then the plants will pick up when the sun goes down. If you are interested in growing vegetables on your patio, take a look at our Patio Fruit and Veg growing guide which includes suggestions of what to grow, how to plant and what kind of container to choose.