Garden Diary: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – April

My garden diary this week focuses on my efforts, given the COVID-19 lockdown, to grow as many fruit and vegetables as possible in an assortment of pots, containers and plastic crates as I can lay my hands on. The only problem is that I normally buy established seedling plugs from the plant guy at local markets. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option as all the markets are closed, so I now need to germinate my own. We will see.

Growing a Kumquat Tree in a Pot

This little kumquat tree has now been growing happily in this large pot (16 inch diam x 17inches deep) for two years. During that time we’ve faced a few challenges including most of the leaves being attacked by the citrus leaf miner and the leaves turning yellow through lack of nutrients.

Kumquat tree growing in a pot
Kumquat tree growing in a pot

I am excited because this is the first year the tree has produced fruit!

Kumquats
Kumquats

I note the leaves are starting to turn yellow so I must remember to feed with another application of Epsom salts.

Growing Potatoes in Pots

I started these potatoes at the end of January. Unfortunately, I don’t know the variety as I bought the chitted seed potatoes from an old farmer at our local monthly market. They are growing in pots 16inch diam x 17 inches deep. As they have not flowered and the foliage is already beginning to die off, I somehow managed to persuade my garden gnome to plunge his hand in the earth nearly up to his elbow to see if he could feel any potatoes. Success.

Growing potatoes in pots - 18-04-2020
Growing potatoes in pots – 18-04-2020

I cut the potatoes in half, sealed the open wound with cinnamon powder to help prevent viruses and the left to dry for several days before planting.

chitted potatoes sealed with cinnamon powder
chitted potatoes sealed with cinnamon powder

I placed some gravel in the bottom of the pot for drainage and then added about 4inches of compost before placing the chitted potatoes in position.

Chitted potatoes in pot

After just twenty-two days the potatoes had almost grown to the top of the pot.

Potatoes after 22 days
Potatoes after 22 days

 

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

These cherry tomato plants started life as established seed plugs which came from the plant man at our local market. These were planted out the beginning of March and the baby tomatoes have already formed. I used good quality horse manure-based compost, two plants to a pot. The pots have a water reservoir at the bottom of the pot. Apparently, it is better for the plants. We will see. I feed weekly with liquid tomato feed.

Cherry Tomatoes grow well in Pots
Cherry Tomatoes grow well in Pots

 

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

 

I also have two pots of Rosa tomatoes planted at the same time. For those not familiar with this variety they are like beefsteak tomatoes and grow HUGE. I don’t have any seeds to grow more so hopefully, I will be able to save some once I harvest the first tomato.

Rosa Tomatoes
Rosa Tomatoes

 

Newly formed rosa tomato
Newly formed rosa tomato

Radish growing in pots

Radish grow really well in pots. These were only planted on the 21st March and I expect to start eating these in another few weeks. I will now plant up a new pot every six weeks to ensure continuity of supply through the summer.

Growing Radish in Pots
Growing Radish in Pots

Growing Ferrari French Beans in Pots

This experiment evolved purely by accident as I had six extra healthy seedlings which needed a home. I used a mix of manure based and multi-purpose compost. The pot is 14 inches deep x 16inch diameter.

French beans
Ferrari French beans
Ferrari Green Bean flowers
Ferrari Green Bean flowers

Let’s hope the Ferrari variety lives up to its name.

Growing Runner Beans in Pots

Another experiment. Usually, it is far too windy to even consider growing runner beans as the aggressive salt winds shred and shrivel the delicate leaves. For this experiment, I chose the sunniest and most sheltered corner of the garden. What I had overlooked were the hot southerly winds. The cover is to protect from the rain as the earth is already saturated.

There are two pots of beans one 16inches tall by 16inches diametre and one 10 inches x 16 inches diameter. I have used a mix of horse manure-based composts and multipurpose. I fed with a liquid-based tomato fertiliser once the flowers started to form. However, this week I fed with a sprinkle of Epsom salts granules as the soil was far to wet to apply liquid feed. There are already some baby beans – fingers crossed.

Growing runner beans in pots
Growing runner beans in pots

Physalis are Perfect for Pots

Physalis self-seed so I always have several plants in various stages of development. Did you know Physalis have amazing health benefits – no niether did I.

source: https://www.nature-and-garden.com/health/physalis-health-benefits.html

Plant in good soil in a sunny location.

Phyllis
Physalis

Rocket (Eruca Sativa) Growing in Plastic Crates

Over the years I’ve rescued several plastic crates from the rubbish bins as they make the perfect container to grow salad crops. I reuse plastic compost bags to line the crates, cut plenty of drainage holes and then fill with good quality compost.

This variety is Eruca Sativa. I planted the seeds directly into the container 16th March. The spinach planted in the other half of the container was a fail, so I’ll top up with some more rocket.

 

Rocket growing in plastic crate
Rocket growing in a plastic crate

Winter Lettuce

This is the last of my winter ‘Lollo’ lettuce bought as established seedling plugs from the local market in February. They normally grow a lot better than this and under normal circumstances, I would discard and start again as the leaves are rather tough. Unfortunately, my lettuce seedlings planted a month ago, are struggling and I doubt they will survive so I have planted a different variety direct into the large containers.

Lettuce Pot
Lettuce Pot

Growing Agrião – Watercress in Containers

watercress seeds

Much to my Gnome’s surprise the watercress actually grew!

watercress-13-03-2020

I covered with another crate to filter the sunlight so the soil remained damp at all times.

A month later the watercress is now past its best and the contents of the crate ready to be recycled on the compost heap.

.

Agrião - watercress
Agrião – watercress

Growing Onions in Containers

I planted both the red and standard onions in mid Jan as onion seed plugs bought from the market. I pick for spring onions and will leave the red onions to grow on.

baby red onions

onions

 

Growing Cucumbers in Pots

A fellow gardener gave me these seedlings so am unsure of the variety.

growing cucumbers in pots

***

I now need to focus on growing seeds and try to ascertain which seeds to plant when and where and how long from seed to harvest.  I need a planting plan and some idea of crop rotation! I also need some more compost.

4 thoughts on “Garden Diary: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – April

Add yours

  1. When I grew citrus trees in the early 1990s, it annoyed me that citrus were considered to be appropriate for container gardening. So many of they want to get bigger than they can in containers. Although they do well and are very productive in the ground, most are not worth the effort of confinement, just to get a few inferior fruit. However, the kumquats are some that happen to be quite proportionate to container gardening. If the clay colored pot is actually plastic, I would suggest adding some small annual or perennial to the pot to cascade over the south side of the pot, or maybe just hang slightly over the edge to shade the exposed plastic. It does not need anything fancy; maybe just shake some old alyssum over it to drop some seed, or plug a nasturtium seed. The light color is certainly better than black vinyl, and it tapers inward at the bottom (so is exposed an even slighter angle) but can still get a bit warm. If you touch the south side of the pot in the early afternoon on a warm day, you might determine that it is not a problem at all.

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