So we’re into April – which means the growing season is well and truly underway and you can really get cracking with sowing seeds.
You may not have an allotment or a large vegetable plot in the garden, but there are lots of vegetables that can be grown really successfully in containers. Here are my top container vegetables to plant this month.
Carrots have a bit of a reputation for being tricky to grow, because they don’t like stony or heavy clay soil, but growing them in a container avoids all this. Plant shorter varieties or pick them when they are young. An added activity for the kids is to grow fairy carrots in a jar – I’m definitely doing this with mine this year!
A great container crop, salad leaves are fast-growing and perfectly happy in a small space. Don’t sow too many at once; for a constant supply of leaves over the next few months you need to sow at regular intervals. Harvest by pinching off the tops of the leaves, leaving the stump to re-grow. I usually buy a packet of mixed seeds, which gives a nice variety of taste and colour.
Beetroot is much tastier if harvested when young and small, so it’s well-suited to a container. The seeds will need a bit of warmth, so either sow under cover in a greenhouse or on a windowsill, or sow outdoors and cover with a cloche.
Obvious I know, but herbs grow really well in containers. And having a pot just outside the kitchen door is super-handy when cooking. Parsley, coriander, chives and rocket can be sown outdoors now, and basil can be sown under cover for planting out in late spring. For a more unusual choice try Garlic Chives – the edible flowers have a mild garlic taste and are also a big hit with pollinating insects.
For lots of ideas on creating a herb garden check out my Pinterest board.
Don’t rule out plants which climb and need support for container growing. Mangetout can be sown now at 15cm spacings, remember to add some supports for the plants to cling to. Make sure you pick the pods when they are still young and tender.
As well as being very space-efficient, growing container vegetables has the added bonus that it’s really easy to get the kids involved; my two love filling up the pots with compost and sowing the seeds. They also can’t resist a request to help with the watering!
What are you growing this month?