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Growing in containers

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Is your early education and care service tight for space?

What about planting your garden in containers?

Here are some tips:

  • If you don’t have enough space for a full sized garden bed there are many different vegetables that you can grow in containers including pots, vertical gardens, fabric bags, wall pouches, hanging baskets and any recycled containers that can hold potting mix and water and have holes made in the base.
  • Most vegetables will need a pot at least 20 cm deep to grow, vegetables with deeper roots systems such as tomatoes, or root vegetables like sweet potatoes will need deeper, around 30cm or more if possible and lettuce will manage in a 10 to 15 cm pot.
  • When choosing your containers, keep in mind the spacing requirement of the plant (which can be found on the seed packet) and make sure you don’t over crowd them, especially in a container where they will be competing for nutrients and water.
  • When planting in containers, it is best to use a mix that complies with Australian Standards (it will have the Australian standards ticks on the front – black ticks for standard mix and red ticks for premium mix) and that is especially designed for growing vegetables to ensure it contains the basic level of nutrients required, a “premium” mix will have enough nutrients to feed you plants for 3 months. Alternatively you can make your own potting mix, which is relatively simple (kids can do it!) and cheaper.

Look at all these yummy options;

These vegetables should all do well in the appropriate container but this list is not exhaustive, almost all vegetables would be worth trying but the following have been proven to be successful.

  •  Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Spinach
  • Chives
  • Sweet Potato
  • Beetroot
  • Bok choi
  • Celery
  • Carrots (short varieties)
  • Radishes
  • Cucumber (with a climbing frame or next to a trellis but prefer to be in the ground)
  • Cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets
  • Citrus trees
  • Beans (some require a climbing frame)
  • Zucchini
  • Blueberries
  • Capsicums
  • Herbs such as basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley and mint
  • Australian Bush foods such as Midgen Berry, most Lilly Pillys and Warrigul Greens

Remember that vegetables growing in pots dry out quicker than in the ground or raised bed so check the mix regularly to see if it needs water. Also, once the plant has been harvested there will be little or no nutrients left in the mix, so new plants will need new potting mix, or at least a used mix that has had organic matter and fertilizer added. Don’t use potting mix for ever though, it can harbor diseases and pests and pass them onto your next crop.

Happy planting from Vanessa the Veggie Lady



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