Tag Archives: growing vegetables in pots

Growing Cucumbers in Pots is SO Easy!

Imagine eating your own home-grown organic cucumbers. Hmmmm… delicious!

Why not challenge yourself to grow cucumbers in pots or indeed any container which has adequate drainage. Even if you only have a small garden or sunny balcony give it a try and let me know how you get on.

I usually buy about six seedling plugs from the market or a local garden centre in March . They are really cheap  (about 25cents each) and less frustrating/wasteful than growing from seed. If the seedlings are not available in your area then packets of seeds can be purchase in garden centres, DIY shops and even supermarkets.

Growing from seed means you lose about two weeks as they take time to germinate and I’m far too impatient for that. But sometimes needs must and we go with the flow.

Cucumber seedling plugs

Cucumber seedling plugs

I then plant into small containers such as yogurt or small flower pots using multi-purpose compost.

Baby cucumber plants

Baby cucumber plants

Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

Mini cloches - Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect the young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

Mini cloches – Old plastic water bottles are up-cycled as plant cloches to protect the young plants from cold winds and inclement weather until they are more hardy.

The reason I always buy more plants than I need is because some of the seedlings will probably be enjoyed by my pet snail ‘Sid’ and his family, and the runt of the seedlings usually die due to cold weather or just bad luck.

So out of six small plants I end up with three healthy specimens.

When the plants are a little more robust I then plant in one large container in good quality compost and some rotted manure (when available). I initially protect the plants by making plant collars from plastic water bottles

plastic collars to protect plants

plastic collars to protect plants

Once the first flowers appear I feed with liquid tomato feed available from garden centres, supermarkets or DIY stores which seem to sell everything bar toilet rolls. It seems to work well and as yet I’ve not found a more general purpose vegetable feed other than manure tea which if you are living in a confined space is probably not a good idea.

About ten weeks later your first cucumbers are ready to pick. Usually several at once!

Cucumbers grow well in pots

Cucumbers grow well in pots

I will plant my next batch of seedlings in June so these will take me through to October/November – depending on the weather.

Growing Tips:

– Feed every couple of weeks.
– Water daily
– If you let the the cucumbers grow too big the seeds become tough and bitter. I usually pick when the cucumbers are about 6 inches long.

My first crop of cucumbers - May 27th.  2017

My first crop of cucumbers – May 27th. 2017

When I have a glut of cucumbers I now pickle in vinegar with onion. They are delicious!

Pickled Cucumbers

5 Cucumbers
1 Kg onions, peeled and halved
80 grams sea salt
500 ml vinegar
350 grams granulated sugar
4 or 2 tsp mustard seeds (I only use 2 tsp)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Slice the cucumber and onions thinly, layer them in a bowl, sprinkle salt. Weigh them down with a plate and leave overnight.
Drain off the liquid, rinse well and drain in a colander.
Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, cloves and turmeric in a pan and bring slowly to boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, add cucumbers and onions and boil for 1 minute.
Transfer the cucumber and onions to a jar and reduce the liquid for 15 minutes, then divide between the jars to the top.
This will keep for several months.

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So who is going to take up the challenge?

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Piglet’s Gardening Diary: Seeds, Vegetables, Pots and Plot – February 2011

Chili Peppers grown in pots - February 2011

Chili Peppers grown in pots - February 2011


God loves a “tryer” and as Mr Piglet says I’m very trying! Every year I attempt to grow my own vegetables with varying degrees of success. I do not have a Horta (Allotment) but a patch of poor sandy earth in a small, windswept urban garden in the Algarve. High humidity and salt air, due to the close proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, wreaks havoc with many vegetables causing a white mold to appear on their leaves.

We have our own micro-climate and as yet I have not found a definitive guide to growing vegetables in the Algarve. Basically it’s very much trial and error! Frosts are rare and I have noted temperatures during February and March can be as high as 20C during the day, but at night can plummet to as low as 5C. I am still experimenting as to what to plant when and what’s successful and what’s not. I intend to use my gardening posts, instead of scraps of paper (which I usually lose), to keep a record and hope other aspiring gardeners in the Algarve and maybe even further afield may also find my ramblings useful and hopefully, even reciprocate by sharing their successes and failures. I’m not proud all suggestions welcome!

Courgettes growing in my new raised veg bed - February 2011

Courgettes growing in my new raised veg bed - February 2011


Last year I abandoned the space loosely but lovingly called my vegetable plot as the hedge and trees planted to provide shelter and privacy sapped any nourishment from the soil.
“Can’t” is not in Piglet’s vocabulary so I decided to experiment as to which herbs, fruit and vegetables grew well in pots. These included cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, squash, French beans, radish, basil, parsley, garlic, chili peppers, aubergines (egg plants) and bell peppers. So if you live in an apartment with a sunny balcony or have a small garden there is no excuse not to grow your own!

I admit the planning and location of my vegetable plot was not one of my “brightest” moments and one I came to regret. I am now pleased to say I’ve found a solution! Mr. Piglet, after much persuasion and groveling on my part, has just built me a raised vegetable bed!
Hooray!
I won’t tell you how many bags of soil and manure has gone into the bed so far plus my complete compost heap. I will still be filling it up from my organic compost heap next year…to the “dulcet” tones of Mr. Piglet saying “I told you it was too big” Don’t you just love it when men do that?

Garlic planted in December - February 2011

Garlic planted in December - February 2011


The plan this year is to grow my tomatoes, strawberries, garlic and chili peppers in pots, but grow spinach, French beans, beetroot, cucumber, squash, watermelon, lettuce, aubergines, yellow peppers, radishes etc in the raised bed.

Piglet’s planting diary – February
7/2 Bought baby courgette and strawberry plants from market. Planted courgettes in new raised bed but protected them with plastic collars made from the 5Ltr water bottles and strawberries in pots. I will sow further courgette seeds in April/May for a later crop.

Strawberry Pot - February 2011

Strawberry Pot - February 2011

10/2 Started seeds in pots: cherry tomatoes, beef tomatoes broad beans, French beans and cucumber.
23/2 Planted seeds directly into raised bed: French beans, beetroot, spinach and radish
23/2 Started seeds in pots: Lettuce, aubergines, schnaufer tomatoes and flat leaf parsley.

I prefer to start all my own vegetables from seed but sometimes I do feel they are doomed the moment I open the packet. It seems very hit and miss and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the soil, too much water, not enough light, to cold. I’ve tried to buy some fine Vermiculite to add to the soil but as yet I have been unable source any due to language/translation problems as I understand this may help.

My Tin of Doom (My seed tin)

My Tin of Doom (My seed tin)

Related posts: Container grown veg, fruit and herbs – success or failure?
Salad Days ‘Poorly’ Courgettes Grow my own Salad – now that’s a challenge!

If anyone has any suggestions or can offer any useful tips, as I said above, please PLEASE share!

Container grown veg, fruit and herbs – success or failure?

Strange tomatoes

What happened to these tomatoes?

As summer draws to a close and my experiment to see which fruit, vegetables and herbs would grow successfully in pots comes to an end – I look back on the highs and lows. I’m not keen on the word failures but secretly I have to admit to myself there were several.

For example, one batch of tomatoes I planted from seed which initially showed great promise as young robust tomato plants, when the tomatoes developed my initial elation diminished as they bore not the slightest resemblance to the picture shown on the seed packet. I have never seen such deformed tomatoes! They tasted OK, but ended up in a Bolognese sauce.

Not one to admit defeat, I grew another batch of tomatoes. These, to my relief, were perfectly formed plum tomatoes. I was delighted. However, disaster struck while I was away on holiday and an army of caterpillars burrowed their way into the tomatoes and destroyed the whole crop. As you can imagine I was not a happy Piglet. It’s now October so the saying “third time lucky” will have to wait until next year!

Courgettes proved to be another disaster, a couple grew quite happily while others just withered and died. See my post on Poorly Courgettes

So which fruit, veg and herbs grew most successfully in pots?

Radish, lettuce, French beans, chilies, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, mint, parsley and coriander.

Rhubarb – the jury is still out as my solitary baby rhubarb plant fights for survival!

Lemons – there are currently four baby lemons, each about a centimeter long fighting for survival in yhe salt air and winds straight off the Atlantic Ocean. OK, I am an optimist!

We will see what next year brings forth…

Which fruit, veg or herbs have you had the most or least success with?