Growing your own veg is most definitely de rigueur for 2012, but if your garden’s no bigger than a potting shed, and there’s a five-year waiting list for your local allotments, how can you keep up with the gardening fashionistas? The answer is to plant in pots. Garden companies have sussed that space is an issue for many of us, and they’ve come up with loads of great ideas for productive patios, including stylish wooden raised beds and growing tables, and a wide range of vegetables that grow happily in containers.
First, check out the fantastic range of goodies available now at ACHICA’
s Botanica promotion, and snap up a reduced raised bed, beautiful wall pots and a plant propagator to start off your seeds. Then browse specialist seed companies, such as Suttons, Dobies and Thompson & Morgan for a selection of exciting new veggie seeds to plant later in spring – I’ll be showing you how very soon, so keep checking here at ACHICA Living. Here’s some of the new varieties to whet your appetite…
1. Basil ‘Floral Spires’ from Suttons
Herbs are so easy to grow and this beautiful new basil looks as good as it tastes. Sow some seeds indoors in March and plant out in early summer in hanging baskets, window boxes and pots for a bounty of tangy leaves till autumn.
2. Beetroot ‘Chioggia Pink’ from Dobies
Packed with nutrients and delicious in salads or roasted, beetroot is dead easy to grow, and the plants’ burgundy-tinted leaves make attractive container displays too. Try this pretty pink root with its white and red rings to add some sparkle to your dishes.
3. Lettuce ‘Delicato’ from Dobies
Loose-leaf lettuces like this smouldering red variety, which has an unusual nutty flavour, are ideal for patio gardens. Sow seeds every few weeks in wall pots or window boxes, and when the leaves reach a decent size, snip them off as you need them – the plant will then reshoot to produce more.
4. Chilli pepper ‘Gusto Purple’ from Suttons
Find a hot, sheltered spot for chillies. I like to combine chilli plants with summer flowers in large containers and this year I’ll be including the medium hot ‘Gusto Purple’, with its long fruits that ripen from green to red to purple, giving a three-tone effect.
5. Squash Butterbush F1 from Dobies and Thompson & Morgan
All the top chefs are mad about squashes, but most plants are giant, trailing monsters that would swamp a small garden. Not to be defeated, plant breeders have now solved the problem with ‘Butterbush’ , a compact plant ideal for a large container, which produces a good crop of butternut-flavoured, white fruits.
6. Radish ‘Helox’ from Suttons
If you’ve never grown vegetables before, radishes are a great crop to start with. They mature about six weeks after sowing and need very little care – just keep the compost moist. Try this red-skinned variety, which has a crisp white centre, and sow seeds every few weeks for a continuous supply all summer.
7. Courgette ‘Sunstripe’ from Thompson & Morgan
One of the easiest veg to grow from seed, courgettes thrive in big pots on sunny patios and have large, architectural leaves that create a lush, tropical effect. This colourful new variety produces white pinstriped golden yellow fruits on compact plants.
8. Tomato ‘Bajaja’ from Thompson & Morgan
This little gem is set to become a real hit with gardeners, as it has everything you could want from a cherry tomato. Compact and perfect for growing in tubs or containers, each plant promises up to 700 small red fruits – enough to keep you and your family in salads and sauces for months from late summer.
[Top image: Brian North]
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