Patio Growing

I’d great plans for Sunday but once again it all went Pete Tong as they say in London. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans, so John Lennon wisely said. Still, it wasn’t completely wasted from a growing point of view.

Plague of Snails

It’s been a bad year for snails and I’ve been wondering where they all come from. Well, I’ve found out! I was looking for a large pot to grow a tomato in by the side of the greenhouse and found it full of the little devils. (See photo below)

Patio Growing

Although we’ve lots of room on the allotments, we grow some salad crops and herbs at home anyway. It’s just more convenient to pop out of the back door for a salad or a few herbs for a dish than to head to the plot.

Now the herbs are incorporated into the garden as decorative elements as well as being practical. It’s funny how our minds work, I was talking with a someone just the other day who had a pair of standard bay trees framing the front door. They’d never connected that the leaves were the same as those they bought dried to flavour a dish.

I suppose we’re like a lot of people in that we eat salads when the weather is hot and sunny but not as often when it’s cold and miserable. So in the average British summer we can more than supply our needs for lettuce and salad leaves from just a couple of small troughs.  Check out the allotment shop seeds section for mixed leaf salads.

The troughs take up less than 3 square feet and I just thinly scatter a mixture of seeds – you can buy mixed salad seeds – over the compost and then let them grow thickly. Just pop out with some scissors and cut a salad.

The one thing not to do is to let them grow too big. Small is sweeter. Ours were getting too big so we took a cut off and filled a carrier bag which was donated to my daughter’s rabbits.

I grow tumbler cherry tomatoes in pots outdoors and a couple of standard tomatoes in the home greenhouse. Spring onions do well in quite shallow troughs and, once again, are very convenient in the garden.

When we lived on the Isle of Man, our entire ‘garden’ was covered in concrete which would have been too big and expensive a job to rip up at the time. So I grew all sorts of things in pots and containers.

We had one big tub that we put bamboo canes in and grew a pyramid of runner beans up that never failed to attract interest from visitors and keep us supplied in beans. Even cabbages can do well in pots although my success with cauliflowers in pots was spotty. So if you don’t have an allotment plot or big garden, don’t think that you can’t grow your own.

Patio Planter

My daughter, Cara, has a small garden which houses her hens and ducks. Now lovely as they are, and great for clearing slugs etc., they’ll eat their way through a garden in no time. This means her safe growing area is very limited but she wants to at least make a contribution to her food by growing it.

One way to increase your growing area is to think vertically – vertical growing is a big thing in the US cities apparently. She’s now trying a patio planter which is a clever stand that gives you three tiers to grow in.

Update on the Hamster

The hamster we found in the garden hasn’t been claimed so is now living in the lap of luxury with Cara. Hammy has been renamed Hammée as he is definitely a she – luckily not pregnant.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
One comment on “Patio Growing
  1. Steve in Salford says:

    Your not wrong about the slugs and snails this year, I take it back, I planted 2 melons and 2 courgette plants last week in what I thought would be safe some leaf litter that I have a section of my plot.

    Came back two days later to find there were no remains of the melons and just one sorry looking stump for the courgettes. Now where did I put that ray gun….exterminate!!!!

    Another plot holder at our allotment had no problem last year but has had 2 attempts and is going for his third with the courgettes, yet the plot next to mine has not been touched at all. Obviously hers are not as tasty as mine were which is why they have been left alone……

    Having managed to clear two 4′ by 33′ strips I am now well on my way to getting some crops growing this year, the potatoes should be ready soon, planted some lettuce, beans, perpetual spinach and some some beetroot, with companion planting of marigolds, chives and basil by the tomatoes. Rhubarb will be ready to pick next year and this year I should have some strawberries and black currants in a week or two. So it is not all a lost cause.

    The remainder of the plot is waiting to be turned over to break up the hard pan that is my growing space, about to construct my second compost bin as the one I have is full already….so getting there slowly but surely. Awaiting the Blackberry, Gooseberry and Raspberry offer from Thompson & Morgan for the princely price of £15.

    Being very frugal in my plant buying begging, stealing and borrowing or taking up offers of would you like this from other allotment holders, so far, have got 4 more blackcurrants, my potatoes, 12 strawberry plants and a mint which has found a home in an old washing machine drum which are all doing nicely. More plants will be propagated from cuttings saving some money at least.

    Your right though the best laid plans of mice and men seem to go astray when you decide to go down to the allotment something else always crops up, looks like it will be Wednesday before I get down there again….oh well at least it will give my back a rest

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