Archive for the ‘Growing in containers’ Category

A new course and discussion group on growing your own
fruit and veg has started at

Ventnor Community Cafe, 3 Albert St, Ventnor, PO38 1DS
Thursdays from 7pm to 8.30 pm.

This is a great opportunity to share and discover new ideas and tips for the coming season.

Healthy CropsIn the current economic climate many more people are thinking about growing their own fruit and veg as it is so much cheaper and healthier but could do with a bit of help and advice.

How do you get from a load of weeds or bare soil or an empty pot to delicious, healthy crops.

Where do you start?

What to do in the garden now?
Where to seeds and when to sow them?
How do you make good compost?
What sort of fertilizer to use and when?
How to deal with garden pests?
What can you grow in pots?
How do you prune things?



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Broad beansAs there is not much to sow this month I have combined seeds to sow and what to do in the garden as there are a few important jobs you can be getting on with.

You can still sow broad beans, best variety to sow now is Aquadulce Claudia; pea varieties like Feltham First or a newer variety Meteor.

You can sow Mizuna for some winter salad leaves if you are in the south of the UK or have a poly tunnel or greenhouse.

Winter lettuce varieties like Winter Marvel or Reine de Glace and spring onions can be sown in the greenhouse or a poly tunnel.

November is also the best time to plant garlic.


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Potato Bag August

Having run out of potatoes I decided today that it was about time that I emptied out the compost bag that I planted up back on the 30th April.

I planted two manky potatoes that were lurking at the back of the fridge into an old compost bag after hearing that they grew well in bags and not having enough ground to plant some in.

Well was it worth the effort?


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Lacy LeavesHere are a few things to keep you busy this month (sorry it is a bit late), if you can get outside.

Keep checking for cabbage white butterfly eggs on your cabbage family plants as it is far easier to squish the eggs than find caterpillars and they cause so much damage as you can see!

I am off to buy some netting today which will stop the butterflies laying the eggs in the first place. Make sure there are no leaves touching the netting or they will still be able to get them.

Try and water tomatoes every day especially those in pots and grow bags.

Also try to give them an even amount of water as sudden large amounts of water can cause the skins to split. Continue feeding with a tomato or high potash feed and remove any yellow leaves.


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By August/September lettuce is often getting past its best and can be prone to mildew as the days get shorter.  Here are a few suggestions for some alternatives you might like to try growing for salads and stir-fries.

Lambs Lettuce (Valerianella locusta) or corn salad

Lambs Lettuce (Valerianella locusta) also known as corn salad

Taste/type:Juicy, mild flavoured leaves.
Sow: during July and August, try and remember to sow every 2 – 3 weeks for continuous crops.
Germination takes: 7 – 21 days
Spacing: thin seedlings to about 2″ apart for leaves or 4″ for whole plants.
Container Growing: Grow in a pot at least 4″ deep.
Harvest: you will have leaves to use up to about October without protection and you can extend their use by covering with cloches, growing in a poly-tunnel or greenhouse.
Comments: Contains beta-carotene, B6, B9, Vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids and three times as much Vitamin C as lettuce.
Photo: Tarquin


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The Edible Container Garden by Michael GuerraThe Edible Container Garden
– Fresh food from tiny spaces
Author: Michael Guerra
Publisher: Gaia Books
ISBN: 978-1-85675-220-6
RRP: £11.99
122 Pages

This book is packed with useful information, easy to read, interesting, with beautiful photos. This is not one of those books that has been researched but not tried out, it is the result of the author buying a house on a suburban estate in North London with a 32ft long x 13ft wide garden and growing a huge range of fruit and vegetables. The last chapter is his account of changing a bare paved area into a productive permaculture garden, there is a plan of his garden included. Michael and his wife have both done permaculture design courses.


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Toxic Manure

Important! Please read this post if you are growing vegetables,  some bagged composts contain manure.

Most of you probably know about this – gardeners all over the UK have been affected by using manure contaminated with industrial weed-killer. It is not just people who have used manure on their gardens and allotments, some bags of compost bought from garden centres contain manure too.

The herbicide Aminopyralid is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, for the control of ‘injurious’ weeds such as docks, thistles and nettles and it appears that residues of it have turned up in manure. Animals eating grass treated with the product excrete it in their manure as it travels through the body without breaking down, it seems that residues of aminopyralid may last several years in manure heaps. The product has a label warning farmers not to sell manure that may have residues in it. It is not licensed for use on food crops although some farmers might have used it if they did not read or ignored the small print.

Dow AgroSciences state:

It has long been known that it is possible for low levels of product to be found in manure and that the use of such manure as a fertiliser or compost may, in some circumstances, cause damage to sensitive crops.

Call me suspicious if you like but if this product is excreted in manure is it stored in the bodies of food animals or finding its way into milk?


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