Being time poor or living in an apartment or a smaller property is no excuse not to grow a few veggies and flowers. A number of edible crops have a very small root zone, and if well watered and placed in an area that receives sun for at least half the day, they will reward you with fresh produce throughout the year.
Straight up - vertical grow bags or wall planters
If you have a sunny fence or wall, grow some vegetable crops in hanging planters. Either make your own by attaching plant pots to the wall, or look out for specific wall hanging grow bags at your garden centre.
- It’s easiest to fill and plant these planters flat on the ground, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix, allow the soil to settle and plant.
- Water and then allow the water to drain before attaching to the wall using a strong nail or hook. The soil, water and plants are heavier than they look.
Crops to grow in vertical bags or wall planters:
- Lettuce, salad greens, parsley, coriander, arugula, chives, and nasturtiums.
These are indeed very handy and not just useful for growing herbs. Simply fill with Tui Vegetable Mix each season.
Crops to grow in herb planters:
- Numerous crops willingly grow in herb planters.
- Edible flowers such as violas and nasturtiums are good options.
- Small leafed lettuces, mizuna, cress and arugula are good salad choices.
- Strawberries work well, as do cranberries - remember to provide a little shade for the cranberries as they prefer a cool root zone.
It’s in the bag!
- Lay the bag flat, and simply poke some holes in the bottom of it for drainage. Flip over the bag and place somewhere in full sun.
- Next cut some criss-cross holes in the bag, opening a space about finger length, just enough room to fit a small seedling into.
- Cut as many incisions as you like, an average bag of Tui Vegetable Mix can take 6-9 seedlings.
- For tomatoes, stand the bag of Tui Tomato Mix up and cut the top, fold back the plastic a little and then plant your tomato. For a sweet 100 cherry tomato you would only plant one into the bag. For dwarf varieties you could lay the bag flat on the ground, put holes in the bottom for drainage and plant three tomato plants. Stake tall tomatoes at the time of planting.
Top tip: Put the bag into position before planting and watering, as once it’s wet it will be quite heavy.
Crops to grow in bags of Tui mixes:
- Good crops are perpetual or come again lettuces that can be harvested leaf by leaf.
- Rocket, parsley, chillies, spinach, chives, thyme, strawberries and tomatoes also work well.
- Add some edible flowers such as Violas or Calendula; they are not only pretty but fully edible too.
Baskets and window boxes are often overlooked as being space saving ways to grow plants and crops.
- For something a little different a kitchen colander makes an attractive hanging basket.
- Line the container with sphagnum moss, fill with Tui Pot Power, plant and hang.
Crops to grow in hanging baskets:
- Strawberries, parsley, coriander, chives, nasturtiums, thyme and chervil are all popular and reliable options.
Recycling, reclaiming and reusing pallets for vertical or flat gardens are becoming increasingly popular.
- Pallets can be lined with plastic, filled with soil, stood on their edge vertically and used to plant salad crops and herbs.
- Alternatively they can be laid one on top of the other and used to place plants and pot crops on top of, to save bending over.
- Be aware that the timber isn’t treated so it won’t last more than a season or two, but it’s free or cheap and looks effective, so well worth the effort.
Crops to grow in pallet gardens:
- Salad crops and herbs are good options for planting in pallets.
Replenish and Replace – the golden rule on space saving plantings:
Replace potting mix once a year, or replenish the soil with Tui Vegetable Food each season. Crops grown in confined spaces use more fertiliser and water than they would if grown in the soil. Keep the plants well fed and watered and you will reap the rewards!