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Garden Organic’s top ten tips for growing in pots
A nationwide campaign launched by Garden Organic will target a growing band of people that want to have a go at growing their own food for the first time. The campaign, the One Pot Pledge®, will help gardening newcomers to grow an edible crop in a pot. Here are the charity’s top tips for success:
- Make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom
If you’re using a reused item as a pot, such as a bucket or yoghurt pot, or even a plastic veg container then make sure you drill some holes for drainage.
- Don’t forget to water
Unlike plants grown in the ground, pots rely very much on us to keep them watered – even when it has rained. When watering, do it thoroughly, till the water runs out of the drainage holes and remember unglazed ceramic pots look great, but they will dry out more quickly.
If you’re going away, arrange for a neighbour to water them for you, or use a ‘self watering’ device available from The Organic Gardening Catalogue, www.organiccatalogue.co.uk
- Give your plant some room
Your basil or courgette might start as a tiny seedling, but it will grow upwards and outwards so make sure your final pot leaves room for it to grow.
- Choose a pot friendly vegetable
Not everything can be grown successfully in a pot so choose your plants wisely. See our One Pot Pledge® list for our top ten suggestions
OPP veg: Basil, Beans, Carrots, Chillis, Courgettes, Coriander, Cut and Come again salad, Potatoes, Rocket, Strawberries.
- Get the right compost
Its no good filling your pots with garden soil, you’ll need to buy (or make if you are really keen) a proper growing compost. A peat-free, organic compost is best. ‘Multipurpose’ composts are fine for some veg, such as carrots or lettuce but a ‘potting’ compost is better for things like potatoes and courgettes, which need a richer diet.
- Don’t just grow in round pots
Different veggies are suited to different size containers. Carrots for example can be grown in window boxes or used polystyrene fish boxes; strawberries in hanging baskets; potatoes in buckets. It’s easier to manage a collection of plants in a larger pot, than lots of separate small pots.
- Make your pots pretty
Not just for the sake of it but because by including other plants with your chosen veg, such as nasturtiums, marigolds or violets you can attract beneficial insects that might help keep pesky pests at bay.
- Location, Location, Location.
Put your pots in a location that suits the veg you are growing. Chilli peppers and courgettes will need a sunny sheltered spot to do well, and shouldn’t be put outside until the weather has really warmed up in May or June (depending where you live). Potato plants need protecting from the frost early in the year, but are then quite hardy. All plants need direct light for at least 6 hours a day
- Protect against slugs and snails
If you’re growing on a window ledge this might not be a problem, but if your pot is in the garden it is worth taking preventative action against these hungry molluscs! There are all sorts of ways of counteracting these pests without resorting to slug pellets.
- Some plants need feeding too
Quick growing plants such as cut and come again salads and lettuce should not need extra feeding, but potatoes and courgettes will. Use an organic liquid feed, following the directions on the bottle. For the best selection visit The Organic Gardening Catalogue, www.organiccatalogue.co.uk
To join the campaign, go to The One Pot Pledge® website, www.onepotpledge.org, which from Monday 22 March will feature everything from Garden Organic’s suggested list of perfect pot produce, to guidance on what size pot a new grower will need.
For more information, please contact:
Sophie Rivett-Carnac email@example.com
Charlotte Corner firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
- *B&Q Research carried out by ICM on 30th Jan- 1st Feb 2009 and 1,003 people interviewed
- The One Pot Pledge® concept was originally devised by Food Up Front, the urban food growing network. One Pot Pledge® is a registered Trade Mark of Food Up Front.
- If you are a gardening writer or correspondent, we would love to sign you up as one of our Gardening Gurus – please get in touch if you think you could support the campaign.
- Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic gardening charity with 40,000 members. Dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools it uses innovation and inspiration to get more people growing in the most sustainable way.
One Pot Pledge® concept devised by Food Up Front