Last week we were all faced with some frighting images of people looting and burning shops and delivery truck, blocking roads and bringing large parts of South Africa to a stand still. What was even more frighting is how quickly stores ran out of fresh produce and other daily essentials. Soon pictures of empty shelves were doing the rounds on social media and then the pictures of petrol and diesel tankers, safely parked at depots started the rumor that soon there would be no fuel and then even less food. Now, if you are like me (and most people are not) this would not worry you. You would have a water tank (or pool that doubles as water storage), you have alternative sources of electricity, fuel for your car, first aid kits, food that could last a month (with and without a fridge) and your own veggie garden so you don’t have to eat canned food all the time.
But as I said, most people are not like me. Most people don’t have gardens to plant veggies in. So how can you, living in a small townhouse with not even a meter of grass, grow fresh veggies? Pots! Well, any container will do to be honest. It might surprise you just how many fruits and vegetables can be grown in pots.
Here is a list and some tips on how to grow your own produce in pots:
- Green Bean
- Herbs (go crazy, I have yet to find a herb that doesn’t do well in a pot)
HOW DEEP DO I SOW MY SEEDS?
The general rule of thumb is to plant twice the depth of the seed’s smallest dimension at the spacing indicated by your seed packet. I’ll be honest, with tiny seeds, I don’t worry too much about proper spacing or depth. I sprinkle them in and cover with a light layer of soil. When they begin germinating and sprouting in the spring, I thin as needed.
Vegetables Growing Tips
To grow healthy vegetables in your home, proper plant care must be taken. Here are few growing tips that help your vegetable plants to grow effectively.
- Water the plant early morning or evening time to prevent from evaporation.
- Avoid overwatering the vegetable plants as it may result in the plant to root rot.
- Wear gloves, face masks and goggles while fertilizing and harvesting the vegetables.
- Follow the instructions & warning labels on seed covers, fertilizers before utilizing them.
- All these plants should receive sunlight for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day to thrive when placed in pots.
- When the plants mature to a certain height, transplant it to outdoors and fertilize the plants once in every 3 months with organic matter.
- Keep children and pets like dogs & cats away from plants as they chew the plant leaves and spoil the growth (damaging fruiting).
- Add organic mulches at the base of these plants to suppress weed, maintain moisture levels and keep soil temperatures cool during the hot season.
- Make sure the pot has enough holes at the bottom for air circulation purpose and to drain water completely when you start growing vegetable plants from seeds or by cuttings.
- After harvesting vegetables wash them with warm water and can store in the refrigerator for 7 days without any spoilage.
- When the plant is young pinch off growing tips regularly to bloom faster and also prune the top of leaf bud plants in winter or spring season before it establishes a new growth.
All you need is large rubbish bin and a place to put it. Preferably not too close to any open windows. Here are some weird things that you can add to your bin:
Hair (human or animal)
Ash from the braai
Don’t let anything go to waste. Use what you have to start your new garden.
We all have these bottles lying around. Why not put them to use watering your plants. Drip irrigation saves water, saves you time and saves your plants from you over watering them.
Need a nursery?
Not all soil is created equal.
Soil is the foundation for growing healthy plants, so it’s very important that you always use high quality soil for container plants. Never cheap out on potting soil for container gardening, because you really do get what you pay for here. If you start with a good mix, your plants will grow much better. It may be a bit more expensive to buy, but a quality container soil mix makes all the different in the world!
Many new gardeners make the mistake of using garden soil in pots. I mean, your plants grow great in your garden, so why wouldn’t that same soil work in containers too? You might get lucky and have no problems at all. But… you’re taking a BIG risk if you use garden soil in containers. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, garden soil has lots of potentially nasty stuff in it, like bugs and other creatures, disease organisms, and weed seeds. Put all of those yuckies into a container, and you’re just asking for trouble. Plus, garden soil is too heavy for use in containers, and will quickly become compacted in there. When that happens, it’s extremely difficult for the plants to grow. So it’s best to leave the garden soil in the garden, and use potting soil for containers to ensure your plants will grow and thrive.
Choosing the best soil for outdoor potted plants is important, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. First, be sure to always read the label to see if the soil was created for a specific purpose. For most outdoor plants, choosing a good quality, all-purpose soil mix for containers is usually the best option. If possible, open the bag to check the consistency of the container garden soil mix before you buy it. Like I said above, they aren’t all created equal, and companies have their own formula. So, it’s best to check to see for yourself. Here are some things to look for in a quality potting mix for containers…
- the medium is light and fluffy
- it has good drainage, but also holds moisture
- it’s porous so that water and air can easily reach the roots of the plants
- there aren’t any weed seeds germinating in the bag, or tiny bugs flying around it
- there’s not a large amount of bark or sand in the mix
- it’s moist but not soggy, and the smell is pleasant
And you don’t have to be handy to do any of this. It’s so easy that even the kids can jump in and get a veggie garden going. I suggest doing a little research on Google before getting started but don’t wait to long, spring is here and you want your veggies settled in their pots before the heat of summer beats down on them. This is a great way to get more family time and less screen time.
Good luck and have fun.