Just as with any gardener outside, your plants will be under attack from pests.
Slugs & Snails
The first and worst problem is the slug. The beasties crawl across the concrete at night, climb into your pots and in the morning you wonder where the seedlings went.
Your first line of defence is a barrier to stop them. One fairly new innovation is copper tape that you can put around your pot. The slugs won’t cross it. You can also get a slug protective mat that is impregnated with copper that the pot sits on.
Having stopped the slugs from gaining entry, you could still find them in your pots – the eggs may have been in your compost or slipped in on a plant root. Traps take up too much space but you can use Advanced Slug Pellets that are perfectly safe around pets and children being based on Ferric Phosphate.
Butterflies, Caterpillars and Carrot Flies
The butterfly is beautiful but we don’t want caterpillars eating our crops. Your first line of defence is going to be a barrier. Horticultural fleece is good, especially for carrot fly, but maybe not very pretty for a patio. Since you are not going to have a whole field of cabbages but maybe a couple, you should inspect the underside of the leaves and remove any eggs you find – or, of course, caterpillars.
Cabbage Root Fly
The best bet for this little devil is to make a collar around the stem. Just cut a circle of something like old carpet underlay or even some thick plastic. Make a cross in the middle and cut straight into the centre. It should be about 4″ in diameter.
Place around the stem (the cross gives room for expansion) and the fly cannot lay her eggs by the plant. Or you can buy ready made cabbage collars that do the same job.
Since you are going to change the compost next year, you need not worry about crop rotation. The inter-planting of different things close in pots (you could have leeks, spring onions, lettuce and carrots all together, for example) seems to confuse many pests.
Planting some marigolds into the tomato basket will help ward off the white fly.
If you have a real aphid problem you could use a spray but I prefer to let the ladybirds (a friend as they eat aphids) do the work for me.
Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about anything except the slugs.
Useful Links in the Allotment Shop:
Container Pot & Patio Growing, Flowers, Vegetables, Fruit & Herbs – Information & Advice
- Container Gardening – Container Vegetable Growing
- Container Gardening – General Advice Guide & Tips
- Container Gardening – Protecting Your Plants & Crops From Pests
- Growing Tables for Vegetables, Fruit & Herbs
- The Basics Of How to Plant Container Gardens
- What Vegetables Can You Grow in Containers?
- Winter Care of Container Fruit Trees