Growing Vegetables in Containers
Ranks of Terra-Cotta Pots
Large terra-cotta pots are stylish, easy to care for and look perfect arranged along the edge of a flight of steps or on a patio. This patch of light shade suits sage, mint, thyme and parsley well, although almost any herb will flourish in a container when well watered. To keep plants compact and bushy, regularly pinch out the growing tips or clip with shears.
Recycled Kitchen Colander
Hanging baskets are a great way to create extra growing space, and a kitchen colander, with ready-made drainage holes, is a quirky alternative to standard designs. Tumbling varieties of bush tomatoes, with trusses of colorful fruit, will cascade over the edge of the container, as will fast-growing orange-flowered nasturtiums. Herbs, such as parsley and thyme, are perfect for filling in any gaps. Hang the basket out of strong winds and keep it well watered.
In a small garden, it is even more important to get the most out of all the available space, so choose large containers and grow fast-maturing crops, such as lettuce, with slower-growing vegetables. Here red-leaved lettuces, planted around a zucchini, are ready for harvest, while the zucchini plant still has a long fruiting season ahead of it. The neighboring sweet pepper plant shares its pot with a fine specimen of basil.
Be imaginative and use containers of all shapes, sizes and finishes, and arrange them in groups to create an exciting and colorful effect. This tiled patio is given a modern feel with metallic containers filled with the bold foliage of Asian greens and colored stems of Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'. All kinds of improvised pots work well, including galvanized garbage cans or colorful plastic containers, provided that drainage holes are drilled in their bases.
Text copyright 2007 Royal Horticultural Society