Why Bother Growing Your Own Salad And Veg?
Growing and eating food you have produced yourself at very little cost is an absolute pleasure, and grown organically without the use of the toxic chemical insecticides and fungicides necessary to protect commercially grown produce, the health benefits are obvious.
My Experience Of Growing Fruit And Veg In A Small Space In Containers
If you have a garden can you spare a bit of it to make a vegetable plot or even place a small greenhouse ?In my own small garden I opted for the greenhouse ( 6x4 foot) and this allowed me to grow tomatoes, peppers, runner beans and peas from seed in the UK´s sometimes less than hot summer climate.
The Tomatoes and Peppers I kept in the greenhouse but the beans and peas when big enough were then transferred into large pots outside.
Grown up bamboo cane´s for support I placed three plants in each pot and they made not only striking plants to look at ( specially the runner beans) but also gave me a good crop of chemical free veggies.
Backyards, Balconies, And patios...Container growing
Even in a very limited space like a back yard or patio or even a balcony or roof terrace, it really is possible to grow something edible and tasty, and you don´t have to spend a fortune on fancy containers either, unless you want to of course.
Watering and Feeding Your Crops.
It´s very important when growing in containers to make sure the plants are well watered and fed. This is a must with Tomatoes otherwise the fruits will split if allowed to dry out too much between waterings and may also developed rot.
Compost can dry out really quickly and therefore it´s better to use plastic rather than terracotta pots. If you prefer the look of terracotta make sure to line inside the pot before filling. Even an old plastic bag will do the trick, but make sure to punch some holes in for drainage.
If you have let your containers dry out a bit too much and find it hard re wetting them, try adding a few drops of washing up liquid to the water, this should stop it running straight out of the container. It is far better to stop this happening in the first place though. Maybe if you find watering a chore or are so busy you keep forgetting you could install a watering system with a timer.
Feeding. Is really important too as plants in containers can´t reach down for nutrients as they would if growing in the ground, so you have to provide everything they need.
Potatoes can be grown in an old dustbin or large bucket or even a couple of sturdy bin bags, one tucked inside the other. Cherry tomatoes and strawberries can be grown successfully in hanging baskets. Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and many other crops that don´t need a huge depth of soil (such as Carrots and parsnips) can be grown in a grow bag. When you start thinking about it anything which can hold sufficient compost can be turned into a growing site. What can you recycle?
Grow bags are really cheap to buy and a great idea to save weight if you are gardening on a balcony.
Vertical growing is a good idea as you are then taking up less ground space. Tomatoes, Peppers, Runner beans and climbing peas can all be grown this way. Put all the tall growing plants to the back of whatever space you have and either add low growing items to the same containers, or place containers filled with low growing plants in front.
Hi Rise Gardening.
Don’t forget if high rise gardening to put some screening around the bars of your balcony or roof terrace if you don’t have a solid wall, to give your crops some protection from the elements, and make sure everything you have up there is securely weighted or better still tied down. It may look funny in cartoons when someone has a plant pot complete with drooping Daisy dropped on their head , but wouldn´t be in real life.
Do you have something to catch any overflow when watering ? Your neighbours below may not appreciate an unplanned shower or flooded balcony.
The amount of weight you are adding is also something you need to consider. Containers full of water, soil, and plants can get pretty heavy.
6 Great Tips.
1. Plants can´t read labels. So organic tomato feed is relatively cheap and perfect for feeding any crop grown in planters, or pots or grow bags.
2. Insect and slug/ snail attacks can be controlled with organic sprays or manually. Spreading crushed egg shells around your plants also helps to keep the slugs and snails away.
Make sure to keep an eye on your plants so you notice any attack from bad bugs before you have an infestation. You can pick off slugs, snails and caterpillars. Rub off aphids, white fly and mealy bugs .I would suggest you put on rubber gloves for this as squished bugs make a mess on your hands. Or simply blast them off with a strong jet of water or spray with soft soap diluted in water.
3. Grow a nice selection of herbs in your window boxes. Add a splash of colour by sowing in some nasturtium seeds, the whole plant is edible and great mixed in a salad.. Flowers and all. But do be vigilant as aphids love nasturtiums.
4. Choose your varieties carefully. Choose varieties that will crop well (produce a lot) Cut and come again lettuce are great as you can take off just what you need and leave the rest to grow on. Also grow varieties that would be expensive if bought already grown from the supermarket.
5. Put up hanging baskets and use these to grow cherry tomatoes and strawberries. Try small wild strawberries for a real hit on the taste buds.
6.Try to grow something throughout the year. How about early, middle and late varieties of potatoes in your containers or sacks ?
The Last Word.
Eating things you have grown yourself organically gives a great sense of achievement and you know you are not ingesting toxic chemicals with every bite you take.
AND the big plus is what you have grown will probably taste loads better than anything you can pick up from the supermarket.
So don´t let having a tiny back yard or even just a balcony stop you from growing your own salad and veg in containers, give it a go...what have you to lose.
Happy Container Gardening and Good Eating To You All.
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- How To Make A Garden On A Budget - Top Money Saving Tips
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A Little About bac2basics
As my writers name suggests I am all about getting back to a simpler life, saving money where I can and passing on those hints and tips to others. However I also write on many different topics apart from frugal living and gardening. Some of my favorites include the spiritual world and visits from my loved ones who have passed. Travalouges and happy holiday memories. Health problems and solutions to them. Recipes for the time short thrifty cook. Life and the wildlife in Spain, plus the odd poem or two and anything else that grabs my attention at the time. All can be found here on Hubpages.com.
Your comments and votes are always really appreciated so please feel free to leave some..Thank You :)
Anne (author) from Spain on July 16, 2014:
Hi B leekley.
Thanks for stopping by to read and also for sending your wife the link. I hope she picks up some tips she didn´t know about already :)
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on July 16, 2014:
My wife is into container gardening. I'm emailing her this link.
Anne (author) from Spain on September 15, 2012:
Hi sherri. You are so right, and isn´t a great pleasure to eat something you have actually grown yourself ?. Many thanks for taking the time to read and comment :)
Sherri Tuck from Virginia on September 15, 2012:
This is so true. When we grow our own food, we begin to understand where our food comes from and we stop taking nutritious food for granted. Very well said.
Anne (author) from Spain on September 14, 2012:
Hi Au fait and Deepak. Thank you both very much for reading and taking the time to comment. The share is great news too and very much appreciated :)
Deepak Chaturvedi from New Delhi, India on September 14, 2012:
Good idea to grow items serve as salad and other useful things.Thanks to share voted it up and shared.
C E Clark from North Texas on September 14, 2012:
Container gardens can be so pretty indoors and out! This is a great hub for getting people started and I love the idea of home grown veggies year around. Voted up, useful, and will share!
Anne (author) from Spain on September 01, 2012:
Hi Nat...By heck love , that was quick. Good to see you and an honour to add a link to your superb hub. :)
Natasha from Hawaii on September 01, 2012:
Link success! I remember seeing this hub when you first wrote it, so finding it again was easy =)
Anne (author) from Spain on July 12, 2012:
Hi Diplorging. Many thanks for reading and your comment. I hope you do give container gardening a go , it's really a great feeling picking and eating your own produce. Best of luck.Anne.
diplorging from Serbia on July 10, 2012:
I live in an apartment, but always looking for advice on growing herbs and vegetables at home and on the terrace. Thanks for the useful informations.
Anne (author) from Spain on June 27, 2012:
Hi Silvana. Thanks for reading and your comment. Have a great life in Italy. It is fantastic living where there´s more sunshine. Hope your garden does really well :)
Silvana on June 27, 2012:
Love it....moving to Southern Italy soon and one of these gardens is in my plan! Thank you for sharing your ideas.
Anne (author) from Spain on June 05, 2012:
Hi Dee. Many thanks for reading and leaving a comment too, I´m glad you enjoyed the read. Hope you enjoyed eating your salad !!
Dee42 from Beautiful Arkansas on June 05, 2012:
I especially love the Last Word. You are so right on this. With food in stores, you don't know what you're eating. Loved this hub, it made me want to eat a salad. Ha. I'll have to bookmark this. I'm a fan.