Timings vary depending on the crop, but the main
The period of time when an individual plant is in active growth. This will depend on the local climate and light levels, and can vary between different plants, although it is broadly from spring to autumn.
Pots, troughs and grow-bags can all be used to allow gardeners without time or room for a vegetable plot to grow fresh, tasty produce
Container-grown vegetables can be started off in a glasshouse, conservatory or porch for earlier crops
Smaller containers can result in a lack of moisture and nutrients for plant roots. Aim for containers with a depth and width of at least 45cm (18in), otherwise frequent watering and feeding will be needed
Use sterile peat-free potting
Can refer to either home-made garden compost or seed/potting compost: • Garden compost is a soil improver made from decomposed plant waste, usually in a compost bin or heap. It is added to soil to improve its fertility, structure and water-holding capacity. Seed or potting composts are used for growing seedlings or plants in containers – a wide range of commercially produced peat-free composts are available, made from a mix of various ingredients, such as loam, composted bark, coir and sand, although you can mix your own.
Home-made mixtures of two parts soil and one part well rotted organic matter fortified with extra fertiliser can be an economical substitute, but home-made mixtures are not sterile, so may pose a risk for pest and disease problems
Organic growers who wish to avoid fertiliser use can get good results from mixing well-rotted manure into the potting compost in the lower half of their containers – 20 per cent by volume should be sufficient
Aftercare should involve provision of a constant water supply, but take care to avoid prolonged waterlogging. A feed of general-purpose liquid fertiliser can be applied every two weeks. If frost is likely, cover the plants with
Horticultural fleece is a soft fibrous, translucent material, also known as a crop cover. It is laid over or around vulnerable plants to protect them against the weather (heavier grades of fleece give a about 2°C of protection from frost); pests and to help plants to grow in the warmer conditions underneath.
Rewarding vegetable crops for containers include: