Grow Your Own Vegetables
It’s easy, inexpensive and fun to grow your own vegetables, and you don’t need a big garden or an allotment. They will happily grow in pots! If you place a strawberry barrel in a sunny spot it should produce plenty of fresh fruit.
What can you grow?
Most vegetables adapt well to growing in pots e.g. carrots, lettuce, spring onions, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes etc.
Herbs are also a great asset to your garden. They can be used in cooking and give a much better flavour than dried herbs. Make sure to plant mint separately as it will quickly take over your herb garden if everything is planted together. Bord Bia provide information on the varieties of vegetables that can be grown in Ireland.
What do you need?
You can buy plastic or ceramic pots from a garden centre, or you could even use plastic bags or some old buckets. Just put some holes in the base for drainage. Large containers are best as they give the roots space to expand and your crop will be bigger.
Use good quality compost to get best results. You can also use a mixture of soil with some compost from your compost heap.
Plants in containers need to be watered more frequently than those in the ground. Check them each day by putting your finger about 3 inches into the soil of your pot. If it is dry, then its needs watering, but never leave plants sitting in water. This can drown the roots.
Decide the location in your garden. Sunny areas are best as plants need about four to six hours of sunshine a day.
If weeds start to grow around your vegetables, pull them instead of using spray. The less poisonous sprays on your vegetables, the less poison you consume.
How do I start?
Fill the container with a mixture of soil and compost, adding a little plant food. Add some water to the soil to moisten it a little and place the pot in a sunny spot in your garden. Dig a hole, place the vegetable transplant in and press in more soil around the edges. Water your vegetables after planting. You can also buys planting seeds at the garden centre and follow the planting instructions on the pack.
Further information and support on growing your own vegetables and producing organic food in back gardens, allotments and community gardens can be obtained from Grow It Yourself (GIY) Ireland or by contacting your local GIY group.
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