Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A-Z Simple Living: T = Tips for Tubs and Pots

Even though I have several garden beds downstairs, I am wanting to start a few vegetables in tubs so that I can move them around as the climate changes here. We do get frosts in winter but usually late in the season, and last year we did not get one, but I still want to be prepared for it - as well as that other f-word I hate (flood). I also thought some of you who rent or only have a small garden could find this information useful too.

I stumbled across this great image in my Facebook feed today which summarises all of the best things to grow in tubs:

Urban Organic Gardener

And here are a few tips gleaned from various gardening sites:

Apparently bigger containers or tubs are the best for growing vegetables. Small plants such as lettuce need a pot that’s at least 20-25cm (8-9″) deep and about 30cm (12″) wide, while more robust plants such as tomato and eggplant (aubergine) demand pots that are 30-40cm (12″-15″) deep and 40-50cm (15″-20″) wide. With larger vegetables and fruits, choose more compact varieties that don’t fill the pots so quickly. 

A lot of vegetables like full sun… but it’s good to select a spot that offers some protection in the hotter times of the day because pots dry out quickly. If you are limited for sunlight, say on a balcony, you can grow most leafy veg with as little as three hours direct sun a day. Fruiting plants however demand at least 5-6 hours to perform well.
And, because tubs and pots dry out quickly, it is important to start off with a good quality potting mix, and water every day when vegetables or fruit are growing. Also, keep them heavily mulched to reduce water evaporation.

I have my eye on some wicking beds which our Yandina Community gardens make up and sell for $20 each (complete with medium, soil, pipes). They have a water reservoir in the bottom which draws water up into the plants so you don't have to water them as often. Many people found them perfect during the drought we had here...and anything that saves water is a bonus. You can easily make them yourself as this post from Milkwood demonstrates. There is also great information, like the image below, and DIY instructions at Permaculture News.

Have you had any success growing edibles (besides herbs) in pots? I would love to hear your tips :)

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