A simple way to grow vegetables in your garden
We have all been there; you choose your varieties of vegetable seeds, bring
them on lovingly to healthy seedlings and then plant them out in the garden with
great care. It all looks so promising! Then come the slugs, weeds and snails.
You get to water the plants for a couple of days and all your dreams of luscious
home grown vegetables vanish like the slug-munched lettuces! You begin to
realise that a productive vegetable patch needs quite a lot of planning,
preparation and commitment.
One extremely good way of having fresh vegetables available is to grow as much as you can on the patio (or back yard). For a start the crops are near the back door for easy watering. There is virtually no weeding to do and pests can be easily spotted and dealt with. Use a good compost and large plastic pots. Bring on the seeds in seed trays and then plant them out in the correct time into your containers. Tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, radishes and carrots can all be grown like this and now there are special varieties of many vegetable seeds including cauliflower, aubergine/eggplant and runner bean which have been specially bred for growing in containers.
There are varieties of tomatoes which are suited to container growing especially those which do not need staking up. "Cut and come again" lettuces are exceptionally good for growing in pots. They grow very easily and quickly and you just cut the leaves that you need and they are rapidly replaced by new ones. A few plants can provide leaves for the whole summer.
If slugs and snails are a problem (they do tend to go for lettuce) the pots can be placed on a patio table (or something similar) out of harms way. It is as well however to check under the rim of the pots every day just to make sure that a pest hasn't crawled up there awaiting night fall. If you choose to use a mini greenhouse great vigilance is needed because slugs and snails can slither up the inside of them.
Tomatoes are a perfect crop for a sunny patio. They don't tend to be targeted by pests and they taste wonderful. You could grow several varieties for an interesting mixture and as they ripen there will be fresh tomatoes every day. If at the end of the season you are left with some tomatoes that have not yet ripened it is well worth making them into a green tomato chutney.
There are special potato growing containers available so you can have tiny new potatoes right next to your kitchen door. Get a large pot of mint growing to go with them when you cook them.
Chillies and cucumbers, as long as they are outdoor varieties, can also be grown in pots.
The experience gained by growing vegetables in containers on the patio/yard can be great use another year if you decide to embark on a full vegetable patch in the garden or even on an allotment. Containers growing allows the gardener to achieve good crops of produce in a limited amount of space and the novice can learn the real joy of harvesting his or her vegetables.
If you are looking for a manageable, low maintenance way of getting home grown vegetables, this may be an option for you.
See also:Vegetable Gardening in Containers (external link)
Allotment Growing (external link)
Royal Horticultural Society (external link)