Container planting doesn't have to stop at just one plant per pot. Here are 10 clever container ideas to give you a productive vegetable and fruit haven.
Growing your own food is gaining popularity and so it should be! It's a small way that we can help reduce our carbon footprint and teach our youngest generation about where their food comes from.
However, not everyone has access to a proper garden space. If you don't have a garden, don't feel disheartened! Container planting is a way to still grow your own vegetables and it has some benefits that vegetable gardens don't.
Container planting means:
- Less weeding!
- You can move your containers around to the sunniest (or shadiest) spots in your property
- If you move house, you can take them with you
You could try -
- Pizza in a pot. Fill your pot with a dwarf tomato and a whole bunch of pizza herbs! Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley... This is all you need for a top-notch Italian sauce.
- Summer Vege Medley. A bush variety of tomato plus a scallopini zucchini makes a great pair. Choose a large pot for these two and keep cutting the larger leaves back as the plants grow bigger. Ratatouille for dinner anyone?
- Baby it's chilli outside. Chilli and capsicums are easy to grow in pots. Design a bright display in a large pot by adding in a chili, a capsicum, french marigolds, and trailing nasturtiums. The marigold and nasturtiums will help provide colour to attract the bees and provide pest control!
- Fresh green. Greens such as pak choy, mustard, chard, spinach can be planted around some lemongrass and thai basil to have what you need for some delicious fresh dishes.
- Summer Cocktails. Strawberry, mint and borage are a trio that will come in handy in a hot summer. Think of the yummy cocktails mint and strawberries make and you can make them look stunning by adding a few pretty blue borage petals. Mint is ideal to grow in a container as it will take over the vegetable patch plus the borage will help attract bees to the strawberry flowers.
- Corny but compact. Dwarf corn and dwarf beans make a good container pair. Find a larger pot, about 70cm wide and plant about 6 corn seedlings in a block in the middle and sow some dwarf bean seeds around the outside.
- Cut and come again. A lettuce mix is really a must-have in the container garden world. Mixed mesclun, some compact kale, a little land cress plus a pop of colour with some calendula flowers will give you the best summer salads in town.
- Eggplant and Beans. I love growing eggplants in containers because I can move the pot around to find the sunniest spots and lengthen the summer season. Dwarf beans grow well alongside eggplants and their pretty flowers will encourage bees to come to the eggplant flowers too.
- Herbylicious. Heat-loving herbs do well when planted together in a pot in the sun, while those that like shade can be moved to a sheltered spot. Choose herbs that have the same growing needs. Heat lovers: Basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, parsley, marjoram. Partial shade: mint and coriander.
- Cool as a cucumber. A simple bamboo teepee can be constructed with 4 bamboo stakes and twine, and a compact cucumber variety will happily climb it. Swapping out the teepee for 4 corn plants will give you double the harvest. Sow the cucumber from seed but plant corn seedlings so the corn is already a decent size before the cukes begin to climb.
Pot size and growing medium
Most things can grow in a pot if you get the right size and the right growing medium. As long as your pot has drainage holes at the bottom and enough room to hold the soil that your plant needs.
I have had yams growing in repurposed washing machine barrels!
The soil needed to fill the pots needs to have good drainage, a water-retaining substance, aeration, and food to feed the plant.
A pre-made potting mix has everything you need or make your own! A 1:1:1 mixture of homemade compost, coconut coir for water retention and something to help aerate it, like perlite or coarse pumice does the trick.
To help with drainage you can layer something at the bottom of your pots like broken pieces of old terracotta pots, or large stones. It helps to stop the drainage holes from getting clogged.
Stay on top of watering in the summer as the pots will dry out a lot faster than garden beds.