Growing vegetables in Containers
Growing vegetables, fruits and other edibles as part of a container garden, has become very popular in the past few years. More and more seed houses are offering varieties bred especially for the patio and container garden. Over a number of seasons, I have trialed many container varieties including tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, cucumbers, baby gourmet vegetables, lettuce and greens, herbs and flowers.
The tomato is the edible most talked about in terms of container gardening. There are many determinate tomato varieties suitable for growing in containers in small spaces. Some of my favourites are "Jolly Elf", "Patio", "Husky Red Cherry", "Siderno" and for a truly mini tomato try "Tiny Tim".
Cucumbers are also a good choice. I recommend "Salad Bush", a compact, bushy dark green plant that produces dark green-skinned durable cucumbers that are sweet and compare in taste to my favourite garden varieties. Each plant produced 6-8, 8 inch cucumbers.
Sugar Snap Peas are also an excellent choice for containers. I grow the dwarf variety "Sugar Ann" that reaches a maximum height of 1.5 feet, perfect to fit inside my SunPod Bounty and Gourmet mini greenhouses, or grown inside my full size greenhouse. Fresh peas are a treat and can be grown in succession for harvest 7 months of the year.
Sweet peppers and Hot peppers are actually best grown in containers. They can be moved to increase sun hours and require little beyond heat to grow well. Covering peppers ripens them earlier and keeps them later in the season.
It is important to group your containers with other companion plants such as Basil and pots of herbs and flowers to aid in pollination.They will also require more frequent watering than in ground gardens to maintain and produce sweet fruits and vegetables.
Copy and Photos 2015 By Rachel Lloyd