My monthly garden diary continues with my ongoing attempts to grow fruit and vegetables in pots and various containers. After various gardening disasters in May I learned some valuable lessons such as a basic understanding of soil nutrients, watering (under and over) and the size of the pots I should be using to name a few!
Growing Peppers in pots
The red bell pepper plug plants planted in March are just beginning to ripen but, the orange peppers are still green. It’s a shame the pots I used are too small (8inch) as further research revealed containers should be at least 12” wide and deep for dwarf varieties and 16” diameter or larger for regular to large. Not speaking Portuguese I’m not sure which variety I bought – I’m just relieved they turned out to be be bell peppers not chilli peppers! So another lesson learned for my next crop. “Forewarned is forearmed” as they say, so I’m prepared for the worse should I not reap a good crop from each plant. I expect the leaves will probably start to yellow and…no doubt, I will have other problems as well. But at least I’ll know why! I feed the plants weekly with miracle grow at the moment and since doing so the leaves have turned from yellow back to green.
Tip also worth noting: Do NOT let the plants dry out or allow to stand in water.
Growing potatoes in pots
I happened to mention to a friend (as you do) that I fancied growing potatoes in pots. Her hubby’s attempt had proved successful and they’d generously given me some of their surplus potatoes, which were delicious! Next thing I knew she was on the phone not only offering me 4 seed potoatoes, but also the loan of 4 pots to go with them. Before I could procrastinate further they were delivered to my door. I planted them immediately.
I put a layer of gravel in the bottom of each pot followed by a few inches of soil, then the chitted potoato, which I covered with about 6 inches of compost. Apparently, potatoes grow from the fresh stems so you must keep the soil topped up as the foliage grows.
I’m told they take about 12 weeks to grow?
Growing tomatoes in pots
After my previous tomato disasters in May see How did I kill my tomato plants? I bought and was also given a selection of tomato plants to start again. This time I planted the tomatoes in larger pots, and changed the compost and fertilizer.
The turning point came when a friend kindly gave me some MiracleGro plant food to try, and my vegetables are now doing well. There is a downside, however – I can’t buy this product in Portugal and as far as I know, I can’t order online!
Growing cucumbers in pots
My three cucumber plants continue to grow well and yield about two cucumbers a week. Next year I may attempt to make a frame so they can grow upwards rather than trail along the ground.
Growing strawberries in containers
My strawberry plants continue to give me a daily dish of mouth-watering strawberries. Forget the “forced” tasteless strawberries grown in Spain that seem to grace the supermarket shelves here in Portugal, everyone should try and grow their own! You can grow strawberries in a variety of containers from crates to plastic boxes in fact any containers you can lay your hands on. Just make sure you give them adequate drainage and good soil!
I inspect my strawberry plants regularly for any signs of pests and diseases. This week I noticed some of the leaves were going brown and closer inspection revealed the dreaded white mold on the base of some of the plants. I removed all the plants and disposed of those with white mold. The remaining plants I repotted in new soil and individual pots, away from the main crop. The container sterilised and recycled is now used for a baby leaf crop (lettuce).
Growing Rhubarb in Pots
This year, dare I say, the rhubarb growing in a large container is doing well. However, I’ve started to feed with MiracleGro on a weekly basis and it has responded well. Fingers crossed!
Looking at the picture above (April 2012), it’s amazing how much the rhubarb has grown.I’d only left it in the pot to overwinter as I was unable to find a suitable place in my garden to plant it.
Growing Fruit trees in pots
Growing fig trees in pots
I’ve made many attempt to grow fig trees directly in the ground without success. What makes my failure so frustrating is that the pigging things grow wild along the road side and in the middle of nowhere. I read or was it someone told me I should try one in a pot – so here goes. This is a black fig and planted in worm pooh earth. It came with six figs, lost two and is now growing another.
Growing Peach trees in pots
I was given a little peach tree (sapling) last year which had seeded from a stone thrown onto a friend’s compost heap. I repotted the little fellow in the spring into a larger pot and it’s now growing like a weed. Apparently it is an American variety of peach tree which is disease resistant. Good, poor little thing it needs some luck on its side living on Piglet’s plot!
Once I’ve repotted in a far larger pot a friend is going to show me how to graft a cutting from the original tree (see above). Watch this space!
Growing Lime Trees in Pots
Gasping for life and especially winter sunshine I made the executive decision to dig up this baby lime tree and rehome in a pot. It will now enjoy all year sunshine in a sheltered location. And, it will not have to compete with the invasive hedge roots!
GROWING LEMON TREES IN POTS
My lemon tree is doing well and this year has produced an abundance of lemons. The only problem being half the tree has died off and it is now rather uneven.
Other Fruit, herbs and vegetables I’m growing in pots
Please don’t forget if you have any suggestions on growing fruit and veg in pots or would like to share your experience, please share in comments below!