You might have your main veg growing on the plot, but it’s also nice to have a few things growing close at hand – quite literally on your doorstep! – fresh and ready for making the most of in the kitchen. You don’t even need to have a garden to get growing things like salad leaves, potatoes, beans, peas or lettuce – they can all be grown in pots and containers. If you’ve got an area like a little path at the back of the house, or a patio or balcony, you’ve got plenty of options for growing your own supply of lovely fresh produce in pots.
In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice for growing salads and vegetables in containers this season. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the tips, tricks and equipment you need to grow your own at home.
Tips for Growing Vegetables in Containers
- Vegetable varieties such as dwarf peas, spring onions, kale, ruby chard, beetroot, courgette, dwarf French beans and dwarf runner beans are all great candidates for growing in pots and containers.
- If you’re growing veg in containers, the number one thing is to make sure you’re keeping them watered, as they’ll dry out very quickly – quicker than if you had them in the ground – and especially if you’ve got them in a sunny position. So be sure to check them on a regular basis.
- Water them every other day and, occasionally, if it’s very hot, it might be worth standing the pots on saucers so that they can absorb extra moisture.
- Check the compost to see if it feels dry. You can also give your container plants a liquid feed over the top just to make sure that you’re keeping your plants nice and healthy and green.
- If you’re harvesting some container-grown first early potatoes this season, then hold onto the compost after you’ve done with your plant and use it to grow some salad leaves. Most of the nutrients will have been used up or washed out by the potatoes, but salads only need a very low nutrient compost, so it’s perfect for recycling to grow salads like lettuce in containers.
How to Sow Salads in Pots and Containers
Much like when you grow potatoes, you don’t want the salads you’ve sown to all to be ready at the same time – the idea is to stagger the sowings. Growing salad leaves in pots is a really handy way to keep on top of your sowings and make sure you’ve got access to those tasty leaves all year round.
What you’ll need to grow salads in pots:
- Plastic containers
- Salad seeds – salads to consider growing include Lettuce Lollo Rossa, Lettuce Mixed Salad Leaves and Lettuce Salad Bowl Red and Green from our friends at Mr Fothergill’s.
Step 1 – Get your container and fill it with compost. Don’t firm the compost too much, just level it and lightly firm it for an even surface for sowing on. Give it a little tap to help level it out.
Step 2 – Sow your seeds by sprinkling them thinly and evenly on top of the compost. This is also known as broadcast sowing. Scatter them evenly so that you’ve covering all the compost.
Step 3 – Cover the seeds with about 1/4-1/2 inch (or 5mm) of compost. Use a sieve, or simply sprinkle some very thinly on top with your hand.
Step 4 – Be sure to stick a label in if you’re growing lots of different types of salad, and include a sowing date so you can keep on top of when you sowed them for successional sowings.
Step 5 – Give your pot a drink of water, stand it outside somewhere nice and cool, and in 4 weeks you’ll have some delicious salad leaves. Voila!
If you’ve got 3 or 4 bowls on the go, you can have lettuce and salad leaves right the way from spring through virtually to Christmas. Remember to not pick your leaves from one end, pick them from all over as it thins them out as you do. Salads will normally be good for a few weeks once they’re ready for picking, so soon enough you’ll have an abundance of delicious fresh leaves to choose from!
Darlac Hand Tools
At Darlac, we have a range of garden hand tools to help make sowing and growing salads and vegetables a breeze. Check out our rubber hand tool range, or if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly garden tool then our bamboo hand tool range is for you. Some of our top picks are the DP544 5in1 Trowel, DP540 Garden Trowel and our DP2550 Mini Essentials garden hand tool set. Find them in store from your local garden centre, find your local Darlac stockist here!
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