Tag Archives: container growing

Container grown vegetables – the results are in!

21 Aug

We have been enjoying the fruits of our labour the past few weeks! Last night we had a lovely meal and the only thing that didn’t come from our garden was the cold chicken!

In the spring, we purchased a small raised vegetable bed and excitedly filled it with beetroot, carrot and green bean seeds.  I am amazed by how productive it has been. We also had an old water-butt that had a leak in it so we cut that in half and hey-presto we had some fantastic containers for our potatoes. They tasted amazing and the children had great fun digging for them. Just look how pleased they are with their crop!

Lily and Thomas are now expert pea shellers! If you haven’t tried this with children you really should give it a go. It keeps them amazingly quiet! I couldn’t think of any songs about peas but we managed to make up a few funny ones of our own whilst we were doing this.  Lily LOVED eating the peas raw straight from their shells and it really took me back to my childhood when I used to sit at my grannys table helping her to shell the peas.

We’ve also been growing Tomatoes in grow bags and Courgettes and Peas in pots. Despite the growing season being very wet for us here in Devon, everything has done really well and we will definitely be growing our own next year.  I think the most successful thing for us was the runner beans.  We planted these in a half barrel that we picked up at the garden centre a few years back. We lined it with an old compost bag before planting so that it would retain some of the moisture and it worked really well. We were picking runner beans non stop for about a week before growth started to slow down.

The one thing we didn’t have much luck with was Strawberries.  I think this was just due to the amount of rain that we had, they were all mushy inside and very watery.

If you are growing beetroot this year you might want to try this little recipe which I cooked up the other night! It is really yummy and I found it a great way to use up green beans and beetroot (which we seem to have a glut of at the moment!)

Beetroot and Green Beans with Garlic.

Boil your green beans for around 7 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the green beans and your (pre-boiled) beetroot.

Add a clove or two of fresh garlic and some salt and pepper.

Fry for about 5 minutes tossing the garlic and vegetables around and making sure the garlic does not burn.

Serve it hot or cold, it is very tasty either way!

Seared Green Beans and Beetroot with Garlic

Have you been growing fruit and vegetables this year?  Do you have any tips for container vegetable growing?

Vegetable growing with children

2 Apr

No matter what size garden you have, there is always some kind of space you can use to grow things in.   If you have no garden you can use a sunny windowsill, a window box or even a pot outside the door.  Children LOVE to see something grow which they have planted themselves.  It is a good project for teaching them how to look after something and if they forget to water it for a few days it has less scary consequences then forgetting to feed the pet rabbit!

This year we thought we would attempt growing some vegetables with the children.  We wanted them to be able to see the whole process through from sewing the seeds to picking the crops. In an attempt to keep it fairly easy for them and to keep everything in one place, we invested in a raised bed from our local garden centre. It is easy for them to access and just the right height.

Watering in our seeds!

We decided to grow a few easy crops to start off with. Carrots, Beetroot, Lettuce and Green Beans. They are all vegetables that they enjoy eating, and I’m hoping this will help to keep them interested. We’ve also got a couple of half barrels which we have planted up with potatoes.

The following crops are all suitable for growing in pots or grow bags. If using pots then plastic is better than clay as they are less quick to dry out. Just make sure that your pot is deep enough to accommodate the roots and that the vegetables have enough room to grow.

  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Herbs
  • Beetroot
  • Strawberries

If you have a greenhouse or a very sunny window sill, you could also try peppers or aubergine.

Of course you don’t have to use conventional plant pots, why not reuse other containers. You can use old baskets lined with plastic, old buckets and boxes and hanging baskets. As long as there are suitable drainage holes in the bottom and it will not dry out too quickly, anything goes. I once saw a row of old wellies all planted up with salad leaves – I think we might give this a go too!

I will let you know how we get on later in the year.  Are you growing anything with your children this summer?