Thursday 28 July 2011

Snack Size

When I look through seed catalogues, I notice more and more seeds being sold which are suitable for growing in containers. Having grown edibles in containers myself before taking on my allotment, I know you don't need a huge garden to grow at least some of your own food. I decided I would have a go at growing some courgettes - Firenze in a container this year. This is one of those varieties which is billed as ideal for growing in containers. I've grown Hestia runner beans in containers previously. This is also a variety which is especially suitable for growing in containers, but I wasn't very impressed with the amount of beans I got from the plants. I was much more successful planting normal runner bean seeds and giving them some canes to grow up. I'm afraid that I'm of the same opinion with these Firenze courgettes. I have previously grown normal courgettes in a container with great success, whereas the ones I have just harvested from my plant are extremely small. I've grown lots of things in containers before I got my allotment, all regular varieties, and was thrilled that most things did extremely well, even things such as sweetcorn which I thought would need a much larger growing space. My advice would be to give anything a go, I've found that most things work, just so long as you give them a little extra attention, especially making sure that the container doesn't dry out.

It's a lovely day today so I shall take a trip to the allotment. I need to harvest anything which is ready as we go on holiday on Saturday for two weeks. Let's hope the gorgeous weather we've got today continues.


  1. AnonymousJuly 28, 2011

    This is my first year growing veg and I'm doign it all in containers. I have a large garden, a lovely greenhouse and plenty of space, why then am I doing them in containers? The reason is simple, I live on Dunstable Downs. Anyone from near me will know that further than 3 inches deep and you just hit chalk, and that's all you hit! It is more economical for me to do it in containers then to try and get the soil to a point where I can actually grown decent vegetables. I have used normal seeds and so far everything is doing great. Laura xx

  2. I've just harvested 6 courgettes to have with our tea tonight. Ours (grown in the ground) have just started to mass produce so it's courgettes with everything. Today they will be baked with garlic and parmesan cheese.
    How do you cook yours?
    Love from Mum

  3. I am trying a late sowing of Hestia for the first time, will be interesting to see how it works out. The most surprising result I have had from container grown plants - is carrots, beautifully straight finger carrots, can't recall variety but well impressed.

  4. My seeds germinated better this year than I expected so I've got 13 (!!) courgettes plants at the moment - eight in the ground, five in containers -- a few different varieties but none specially for containers.

    The growing ones in containers started producing earlier but aren't quite a prolific as the ones in the ground (not at problem, we've got more than enough!). The ones sharing a bigger container (3sqft of space) are doing better than the ones on their own in a little ones (1sqft of space), even if they have roughly the same amount of space overall.

  5. Hope you have a good holiday Jo.

    Seems the moral of container growing is not to buy seeds specially 'designed' for containers!

  6. AnonymousJuly 28, 2011

    I know someone who has to grow everything in containers and she's tried most things over the years many of which have been successful!
    Enjoy your holiday! Flighty xx

  7. We have grown all of our courgettes in containers. 3 plants in total and we must have enjoyed about 30 courgettes. Amazing isn't it!

    Great post!


  8. I have successfully grown several veggies in containers. I've been very pleased this year with my container-grown carrots. And the spuds!

  9. Hi Jo, I grown the same plants from seed in containers and on the plot, some in the greenhouse and some outside, and every year each one performs completely differently - go figure!
    have a great holiday x

  10. Interesting to hear how your 'Firenze' courgettes fared Jo. I think that some of the seed companies are just cashing on on the idea of seeds that are specially suitable for containers. Hope that the weather stays good for you and that you have a fabulous holiday xxx

  11. We are having courgettes with everything at the moment - mine is in a raised bed and doing very well. I agree with Anna - perhaps the seed companies are just jumping on the 'grow your own' bandwagon.

    Hope you harvested lots of good things from the allotment.

    Have a great holiday - where are you off to?


  12. AnonymousJuly 29, 2011

    Jeanne@Cottage Garden they're off to Cornwall and Devon, see Jo's Through The Keyhole blog top right! Flighty.

  13. Thats interesting about the special pot varieties - sound best avoided!
    We have 4 courgette plants grown from seed, just a normal variety (cant remember which!)and i put them all in containers and they have been producing steadily for weeks now - every other day i seem to pick a couple of good sized courgettes, and a forgotten one achieved marrow size easily!
    Would never have thought to try swetocrn in a container - as you say, give everything a go!
    Hope you have a great holiday Jo, and fingers crossed for good weather for you!
    Gill xx

  14. I'm a bit late in leaving this comment - you'll be away on your hols by this time so I hope you've had a lovely break with good weather. Devon and Cornwall can be heavenly at this time of year! This post has "contained" some good advice - especially interesting about growing sweetcorn in containers, something I'll try next year so I can extend my growing space.

  15. Dear Jo, This is a very informative posting.I love trying new methods and plants. I hope you are having a fantastic holiday. P. x

  16. I grow a lot of vegies in containers and find that they actually do better than the ones in the beds much of the time!
    Love zucchini but they can grow ENORMOUS can't they!!

  17. You can definitely have lots of success with containers. We're overrun with courgettes, why do we always grow too many plants??

  18. I grow my cougettes in containers ,The containers are actually 2 very large hanging baskets whic have very big resevoirs in the bottom.I gow midnight and we started picking the last week of May and we are still picking now.I put slow release fertiliser in and have to water every 2-3 days as the revouir holds loads

  19. Good luck with your container gardening, Laura. It sounds like you're taking the sensible approach if your soil is as bad as you say. Glad to hear that everything is doing so well for you.

    It's great when the courgettes start producing well, Mum. I use mine in many ways, but love the overgrown ones stuffed with mince and tomatoes, in fact I've just harvested a large one so this will be one of our meals this week.

    Thank you for visiting, Elaine. Carrots do seem to do well in containers. I grew some stumpy round ones in a container this year as a back up in case the ones I sowed at the allotment didn't make it, and they were delicious. I hope you have more success with your Hestia's than I did.

    One good thing about having so many plants is that you can do a trial, Louisa. It sounds like you'll know exactly what their needs are when you come to plant them out again next year.

    Thanks, Sue, we had a lovely holiday. I've definitely had better success with normal seeds rather than those marketed as specifically for containers.

    Thanks, Flighty, we enjoyed our holiday very much. It's amazing what can be grown in containers, which is great for those people who have no other option than growing in containers.

    You've had great success with your courgettes, Martin. I'm having better results from those plants in the ground rather than those in containers, but I suspect that my findings are down to the seeds used as I've grown them in containers previously with no problems.

    I've grown my early potatoes in containers this year, Mark. They've done really well. Even though I've got an allotment, I still prefer to grow some things in containers for different reasons.

    Thanks, Freerangegirl, we had a wonderful holiday. It's funny how things can perform differently from year to year, I expect the weather and growing conditions have a lot to do with it.

    Thanks, Anna, the weather was mixed but we still had a fabulous time. I agree with you about the seed companies cashing in on container growing. These seeds are often much more expensive than normal seeds too.

  20. Thanks, Jeanne, we had a wonderful holiday. We've been to Cornwall and Devon, we love it there. My outside courgettes are getting going now, so I'm sure we'll be inundated with courgettes shortly too.

    Thanks, Flighty.

    Thanks, Gill. The weather was mixed but it didn't stop us enjoying ourselves at all. I harvested a marrow sized courgette on our return, from the allotment courgettes so we'll have that stuffed with mince and tomatoes, nothing goes to waste here.

    Thanks, Caro. We love Cornwall and Devon, we're already planning next years holiday there. I'll look forward to hearing how you do with your sweetcorn next year. It's always good to hear if others have the same success.

    Thanks, Pam. We did have a fantastic holiday. It's good to try new methods when growing plants, there's always something new to learn with gardening.

    I also grow many things in containers even though I've got an allotment, Mrs Bok. I grow lettuce in containers as it's always so much cleaner than those in the ground, and we don't eat a lot of lettuce so it makes sense to grow it this way for us. Courgettes can grow very large, they still get eaten here though.

    That's the million dollar question, Damo, I'm just the same. Better to have too many than too few though.

    Thank you for visiting, Flowerlady. Your containers sound great for growing veg, especially as they have a water reservoir. This should make sure that the containers don't dry out.

  21. Over the last couple of years I have tried out several new varieties but not been overly impressed with yield or germination rate so I have now decided to stick with what I know and love on a yearly basis. I will definitely try out 'new' things as I came across them but stick with the old varieties that has always been kind to me before.

  22. I'm getting to the point now where I know which varieties work best for me, and I'm tending to stick with them, Tanya. I can't resist trying something new each year though, that's half the fun of gardening.


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