Growing Fruit And Vegetables..

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Growing Plants in Pots.

Growing flowers is wonderfully fulfilling. Growing fruit and vegetables is wonderfully filling. To pick and eat your own crops is a great thrill. You know they have been well grown; you know they are fresh and you know that, just like your own baby, they are the best in the world!

Here you can discover just how to cultivate your own fruit and vegetables – and you don’t need a big garden to do so. Edible crops can be squeezed into the tiniest of plots.You’ll be surprised at how good some of them look – it’s a shame to pick them really!

So, first and foremost..we have to choose the correct pots. We have to choose containers that are large enough for the eventual size of your plant. A good rule of thumb is choose pots between 20-45cm (8-17in) in diameter. Many compact herbs are ideal in smaller containers, while vigorous plants such as mint will need a bigger pot to spread. Root vegetables need deep pots with plenty of compost and big pots are needed to support top-heavy plants such as tomatoes. Plastic pots are cheap to buy, while glazed or plain terracotta look attractive. However, these absorb water which makes compost dry out more quickly. Remedy this by lining the inside of the pot with polythene, pierced at the base for drainage.

After choosing the pots, we have to decide what plants that we have to grow..

There's a massive choice of crops that can be grown in pots from strawberries to leafy salads. It's best to try compact plants such as sweet peppers, chilli peppers, aubergine and tumbling varieties of tomatoes, rather than tall growing vegetables such as Brussels sprouts that demand lots of water and can be blown down easily. Among the best for pots are courgettes, beetroot, carrots and potatoes, and fruit such as peaches, apricots, nectarines and figs. With lettuces go for varieties that you pick a few leaves at a time rather than the whole head at once. Herbs can be planted on their own or try growing ten different varieties in a strawberry planter. Most plants are ideal in multipurpose compost, but some have special needs, for instance thyme prefers well-drained soil and blueberries need acidic ericaceous compost.

For the greatest choice of plants grow from seed, but if you are don't mind too much about the variety, buy ready grown plants from garden centres or mail-order suppliers.

How To Plant???
Mix a handful of water-retaining crystals into your compost and fill your chosen pot to 2cm (1in) below the top. Gently tap to settle the compost and firm down with your fingertips to leave a level surface. Scoop out compost in the centre of the pot to leave a hole slightly bigger than the rootball of your plant. Remove its pot and place in hole. Replace compost around the plant and firm, making sure the surface of the plant is level with the top of the compost. If growing from seed, either raise in small pots before planting or depending on variety, scatter across the surface of the compost or sow in rows.
After that, what we have to do the plants that we grow.Keep leafy herbs compact and productive by removing flower buds and picking regularly. Keep all pots well-watered and feed fruit or vegetables with a high potash feed when flowers form. Support aubergine and chilli peppers with canes to prevent the stems snapping under the weight of their fruit.
Last but not least, even if you may not have room for a vegetable patch or time for an allotment, but you can plant up pots from early spring onwards with edible crops and enjoy fresh, tasty, homegrown produce all summer. Lots of varieties are happy in pots if you look after them well.
See you on the next issue!