Before everyone rushes out to buy enough equipment and plants to fill Kew Gardens, I can assure you it isn’t needed. I’ve heard folks say they can’t grow anything because they don’t have a garden. If you have a windowsill, you can grow something in a pot. Supermarkets and garden centres sell the usual Parsley, Basil, Thyme herbs for you to grow and if you are happy with that, that’s fine but there are many other edible plants, small enough to grow in pots and part of the fun is experimenting.
I am growing Pipiche, a Mexican coriander which is lovely to look at and very tasty. It only grows about a foot high with fine delicate stems and leaves and with a taste described as a kind of lemony cilantro.
Another herb, probably more for it’s looks than it’s taste, is Indian Mint. It makes a superb hanging plant and has a lovely smell, the kind of smell you want to go to it and give it a really good sniff. The long trailing stems bear roundish leaves and tiny white flowers.
Not much can beat Basil for fragrance, but there are different varieties worth having a look at and one which I intend to try, is purple Basil. The leaves are absolutely beautiful and if grown in a happy environment, they will shimmer with a reddish/burgundy iridescence.
If however you get seeds, or cuttings, the only thing you will need is some decent compost to get them going. Many things can be used at pots. I sow seeds in seed trays then transplant the seedlings into ordinary little plastic drinking cups.Yogurt tubs can be used as can the waxed carton that juice comes in, all they need is a drainage hole at the bottom and a saucer to sit them on. My tools for indoor planting are the aforementioned drinking cups and a plastic spoon. The plastic spoons have hollowed out backs of the handles and make an excellent means of lifting and placing small seeds, as well as being a mini trowel to fill the cups with compost. You could add a permanent marker pen, to write the name of the seedling on the cup – thus saving buying plant markers. When it comes to watering plants indoors, I often give mine a drink of tea (minus the sugar and milk of course), I also save water that eggs have been boiled in, it’s rich in calcium.
If you feel you want to venture out to trying out a window box or similar container, there are also vegetables that can be planted amongst the flowers. Beetroot and carrot needn’t be the bigger garden varieties but they, along with shallots, onions can be grown in small spaces. Chioggia beetroot is small, and when you slice it, it is very pretty cream and pink rings, they can of course be grown in pots. Round carrots don’t need the depth of the regular size and shaped ones.
Now we’re getting into the serious stuff with a decent size pot, planter or some other form of container. Again you can use whatever comes to hand. I’ve grown onions in a wheelbarrow before! Plastic storage boxes do fine with some holes in the bottom and are deep enough for deeper rooted and more robust vegetables. In one black box, I planted Kale, Peas and Achochas. Kale because I like it in soup, Peas because I like eating them fresh and Achochas because I’d never grown them before, so whilst the Kale occupied the main area of the box, the Peas and Achocha are climbers so they were left to carry on onward and upward. One box of Kale has been harvested and is now in the freezer and I left the roots in the box to help restore the nutrients back to the compost but I will be planting onions in that box for harvesting later in autumn. I kept the Tromba squash to itself in a pot but it does share the arch everything else climbs up
I can only grow my produce in pots and containers and I will deal with the variety in another page. My garden is made up of pots and containers and I hope I will continue to harvest some very interesting produce.
One vegetable I tried earlier in the year was Komatsuma Japanese Green Boy, a bit like Pak Choi and a really nice tasting vegetable, it prefers the cooler weather and unfortunately I left it too long and it went to seed. I will be sowing more seed later in the summer for harvesting in cooler weather.
This is just the first year of my journey into container gardening and growing less common plants. I’m always interested to know how others fare with their gardens and if they have been successful – or failed with experiments.
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