You can feed plants in containers with shop brought fertilisers or your own homemade feeds. Monty makes nettle and comfrey liquid for his plants. Nettle feed is high in nitrogen which is great for leafy growth. Comfrey is high in potassium but also nitrogen and phosphate making it a balanced fertiliser, great for plants which are flowering and setting fruit.
To make comfrey feed, cut fresh comfrey leaves and place in a bucket, fill with water and brew for four weeks. Dilute the resulting mixture to a ratio of 1:20 comfrey to water, and use on chillies, tomatoes and other flowering and fruiting crops.
The guide below should help you find a feed which will suit you and the plants you’re growing.
Carol Klein and the new gardeners’ patio pots
When creating containers, use plants that enjoy the same conditions and soil. Then group pots together for impact. The beauty of containers is that you can grow anything you like, so even if you have chalky soil in the garden, you can still grow lime-hating plants like blueberries by using a container filled with ericaceous compost.
New gardeners Dan and Dominique have transformed their garden with the help of Carol Klein. The patio has areas of sun and shade which Carol helps them decorate with containers. Pot recipes for both aspects are below and work in this setting but the possibilities are endless.
Canna ‘Tropical Red’ (Indian shot plant), Dahlia ‘Classic Swanlake’, Osteospermum Voltage White (African daisy) and Lantana camara Tangerine Dream.
Solenostemon Trusty Rusty (Coleus), Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’ (Tobacco plant) and Bacopa Blue.
Containers – Summer Selection (www.rhs.org.uk)
Cut and come again salad bowl
One of the easiest edible plants to grow is salad and even easier, is cut and come again salad in a container. There’s no end to the type of vessel you can use to grow salad, just make sure it has drainage holes.
The seed mix you use for your cut and come again salad can be bought especially or you can mix your own to include your favourite leaf varieties. Mixes can be hot and spicy or mild and sweet. The choice is yours.
Fill your container with multi-purpose compost. Sow a thin layer of seed and cover with a fine layer of compost and then water with a fine, light spray. When the plants are of a useable size, cut as much as you need for your salad, leaving 2cm stubs to regrow. Water and within weeks you’ll have fresh salad to cut again.
Cut and come again salad (www.rhs.org.uk)
Niki Preston had to learn quickly how to garden, after she took on a large space with a new house. But disabilities meant that the techniques and tools available to her had to be adapted to suit her needs. Not only did Niki turn her garden into a flower filled haven, but she also found a new career as a garden blogger and writer as a result. You can find a link to Niki’s blog to the right of this page.
In 2012, Niki won a regional Gardening Against The Odds award run by The Conservation Foundation in association with The Sunday Telegraph Life and Telegraph Gardening. She is now one of the judges of the awards.
To nominate yourself or others for the award, which celebrates people gardening with physical disabilities, mental and psychological problems and those who garden in difficult environmental conditions (ie. awkward spaces, inhospitable climate and poor soil) have a look at the link below. The closing date is Monday 1 September 2014.
Gardening Against The Odds (www.gardeningagainsttheodds.com)
Jobs for the weekend: Cut sweet peas for continued flowering
Sweet peas will keep producing a steady flow of fresh flowers all summer but only if you prevent them going to seed. Cut the flowers every few days (where the stem joins the main plant) and enjoy them, and their scent, in the home. If you can't cut them regularly, just remove all old flowers and seed pods when you can.
How to grow sweet peas (www.sweetpeas.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Support plants throughout summer
Summer rain, let alone summer storms, can wreak havoc in a full border, so check your supports, adding new ones where you think necessary. Monty uses home-made metal ones but anything will do the job, as long as you follow the golden rule of giving plants support before they need rescuing.
Perennials: staking (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Clear autumn sown broad bean crops
It is time to cut your losses on autumn sown broad beans. Pull up the plants and harvest the remains of the crop. If possible, compost the spent plants and empty pods. Rake over the soil to create a level space for another crop to follow them. Brassicas are ideal after broad beans.
Crop rotation (rhs.org.uk)
- Monty Don
- Carol Klein
- Niki Preston
- Series Producer
- Christina Nutter
- Series Editor
- Liz Rumbold