Growing My Vegetables in Containers

Potato sacks

You can grow fresh relatively clean vegetables in containers. This is useful for gardeners with restricted space or where you want vegetables close to the kitchen door.

Selecting Containers

  • Growbags get there name for a good reason. They are the first container to consider for vegetables.
  • Old large plant pots are fine as long as you clean them thoroughly. Disinfect with jeyes fluid in necessary.
  • Your own selection of containers, troughs, window boxes, even old drain pipes may be brought into service.
  • Depth for most crops should be at least 1 foot to avoid watering problems.
  • I use an old dustbin to grow ‘large long’ vegetables – it doesn’t always work but they do attract attention.

Compost or Soil

  • To get good results we recommend using sterilised potting media
  • John Innes No 3 holds nutrient, water and has some weight and body.
  • Proprietary potting compost are equally of use.
  • Good quality loam or garden soil will be fine but may lack nutrient, harbour insects and disease.
  • Mix in 20% of well rotted manure if you wish to grow organically.

Crop Selection

  • Sow Broad Beans from February 6-8″ apart.
  • Round carrots like Nantes and Amsterdam sown from February to June. The pots height can stop or deter carrot root fly.
  • Herbs and salad crops do well in containers. Small lettuce can be sown successively from January
  • Potatoes are my favourite as they come out clean and problem free. You can grow lots of varieties this way. One tuber for every foot of container diameter.
  • Peas with edible pods can be sown from March as can beetroot.

I start a few seed potatoes as soon as they arrive, end January/February. They are just starting to flower so I can pick some fresh tubers anytime from now on. They were in a double container if you count the greenhouse and vertical grow  bag.
I cover with fleece in very cold weather and happily move the pots for protection of the really early spuds. If the crop fails I have only lost a bit of effort and I can get on with full quantities in March.

Early Salad Varieties of Potato

Aim for a waxy texture with your salad potatoes and you will probably get some of the best flavoured spuds you have had in a Salad. Waxy potatoes remain intact after cooking and do not go into the water. Waxy potatoes tend to be Early to crop 75 -95 days. Waxy potatoes lend themselves to growing in large pots, barrels or containers.

Charlotte is resistant to blight and has a good cooked waxy texture.
Roseval is an attractive, high yielding pink skinned potato will make attractive salads.
Anya has a distinct nutty taste and waxy texture. Very long oval tubers with brown skins and cream flesh but susceptible to greening.
Maris Peer looks creamy yellow with regular shaped tubers.
Nicola will produce a high number of uniform tubers per plant.
Jersey Royals are a well known ‘new potato’ with good flavour but hard to grow well.
Belle De Fontenay is a variety I am trying for the first time this year .
Maincrop varieties include the knobbly Pink Fir Apple, Ratte an heirloom variety and Aura.

 

Gardeners Tips on Salad Potatoes

  • Grow your spuds in half a grow bag stood on its end and you will get clean tubers.
  • Containers can be stood on paths or decking to increase your cultivated area.
  • Provide good drainage and top up the compost when leaves show to avoid green on the tubers.
  • Do not put too many tubers in each pot or container.
  • Save some tubers to plant later in the year – I have had new spuds on Christmas day.
  • Make a list of possible varieties and go to a good seed merchant who sells loose potatoes. Do not worry if some of the varieties you list are not available, try a lucky dip.

3 Responses to Growing My Vegetables in Containers

  1. Emmon August 30, 2011 at 16.03 #

    Hi (Brian?) – I just love the photo of the bag planters. If you don’t mind my asking, how have those been working out for you?

  2. admin August 31, 2011 at 16.03 #

    The bags were very good producing clean spuds quickly. It was a bit hard to water them but I didn’t fill the compost to the top so the fabric bent over. I will use them again!

  3. Francesca May 21, 2019 at 16.03 #

    Brilliant tips. Growbags are a lifesaver for those with limited garden space. I hope you get some great crops.

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