Crops in Pots: Learning from the Experts

RHS Wisley Garden is a great resource for all things garden-related. It’s a wonderful garden, with acres of plants, fruit and vegetables. It has some good model gardens to gain inspiration from, a glass house, garden centre and a library full of all the gardening books you would ever want to read. They have good children’s activities and a new outdoor natural playground. My visit this week was, unusually, without children in tow. I attended a talk on growing vegetables and fruit in pots. Two hours of tips and advice from two RHS fruit and vegetable specialists plus a tour of the gardens they manage. Heaven.

Here are a few snippets of information I picked up. The grow bag of choice was an organic peat free one from New Horizon. They had found it performed really well. For strawberries and other water hungry plants it is best to slit more drainage holes along the side of the grow bag. The strawberries in the photo had been taken in under glass in early spring to force on. I also learnt that you can get pink flowered strawberries. I’ll be on the look out for them next year.

All fruit bushes and trees grown in pots need to be repotted every couple of years and, if necessary, some of the roots cut away before being repotted in the same container. No wonder my patio pear, never repotted, has just about stopped bearing fruit.

You’ll see from the photo the approach to growing carrots. Complete protection from the carrot fly. The fleece stays over the carrots until they are harvested. I am now beginning to wonder if I am being too optimistic in not having any protection over mine.

They were growing two types of leaves in pots which I had not come across before. Mustard Green ‘Red Giant’ which looked very ornamental with lime green and purple leaves. On checking it out I find that it only takes 45 days to grow and has a mild mustard flavour. The other was land cress. Both are suitable for over wintering so they will be on my seed list for the autumn.

On a more local note my local horticultural society held a plant fair at a nearby allotment site last weekend. It was a well attended event with lots of local families there. So much better to buy plants that have been grown locally. So I took the opportunity of rejoining after a 5 year gap. Membership was £2.50 and came with a free moneymaker tomato plant. Bargain! I know this is where the local gardening experts will be and I intend to make full use of my membership.

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