Having a productive space doesn’t belong just for those that have acres of land or large gardens. There are a variety of reasons you may want to grow in containers even if you do have the space.
Growing edibles to help supplement your weekly grocery bill can be done even in the smallest of spaces like courtyards, small backyards, verandas, indoors and even rooftops. Utilising vertical spaces such as pergolas, walls, fences and posts are also the new norm.
So, why grow in pots? • Poor existing soil profile. • Complete lack of soil due to paved areas and or concrete. • Only having balcony/ veranda options. • Movability, which may be needed due to seasonal changes, sun or shade requirements and prevailing winds. • Proximity to house for ease of harvest. • Ease of application of protective measures, such as exclusion netting to keep insects off. Or larger pests such as possums. • Having raised planters can make weeding, planting, watering, and harvesting easier for the elderly, small children and those with mobility issues.
Some of the disadvantages of growing in pots, can be: • Smaller crops in general can be experienced. • Extra watering and fertilising will be required when growing in containers. • Pot or container walls can become hot and will need to be monitored. • Effort involved in possibly needing to repot or relocate containers.
Getting Started- How to grow food in pots:
Container choice. Make sure your container of choice has adequate drainage holes. Are you choosing pots, baskets, troughs, raised planter beds, wicking beds or planter boxes?
Considerations will be positioning, and the weight of the container once filled with potting mix. Will it need to be moved at any stage? How will re-potting occur if needed?
Upcycled items can also make for quirky and creative containers for growing a few herbs and edibles.
Potting Mix: always choose a premium potting mix. For best results growing certified organic produce use Rocky Point Organic Potting Mix. Regular watering: Plants grown in containers will need more water than ones grown in the ground due to the smaller area of soil that the roots can access moisture from.
To reduce watering needs, mulching the tops of containers can be beneficial. This will help reduce moisture loss. If you’re unsure of when to water, use a Rocky Point Plant Water Meter or the trusty old finger into the potting mix a couple of inches deep to check moisture levels.
Fertiliser: Most good quality potting mixes will have a certain amount of slow-release fertiliser in them, but this generally only lasts several months (check the bag for details). You will need to apply additional slow-release fertiliser and regular applications of liquid fertiliser will also be beneficial for your edibles to perform their best.
Location: Most vegetables and herbs like a full sun position, which equates to around 6 hours of direct sun per day.
Re-potting: potting mix doesn’t have an infinite life. It will break down over time and lose its capacity to hold moisture. Topping up or replacing potting mix completely can be done after each seasonal harvest.
What edible grows when, will apply to seasonal vegetables and herbs.