It is possible to grow an increasing range of tasty vegetables and herbs in hanging baskets, here are some top tips to get you started.
Edible crops for baskets
- Tomatoes –the trailing bush types.
- Dwarf French beans.
- Salad leaves such as rocket, mizuna and corn salad.
- Nasturtiums for colour but are edible too.
- Herbs including parsley, chives, basil, mint, oregano, sorrel.
Top tips to basket growing
- Use a large basket at least 40cm (16in) diameter.
- Use a multi-purpose compost and if possible add some water retaining gel at planting time.
- Most crops do best planted in the top of the basket but some could be grown through the sides of the basket including lettuce and salad leaves like rocket.
- Keep the pots well watered and hang in a sunny position.
- Feed weekly with ageneral purpose fertiliser.
If you grow the right variety then tomato basket crops can be very successful. The popular ones to grow are ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ and ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’ but if you check the seed catalogues there is now more choice for these compact trailing tomatoes.
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Young plants can be ordered from catalogues or garden centres or you can grow your own from seed. If growing from seed start these off in pots on your windowsill from March to May.
Tomatoes are tender crops and will be damaged by cold weather so will need to be grown on in small pots in protected conditions until all danger of frost has passed.
When the plants are about 10cm (4in) high they can be planted up into the baskets. In a small basket (30cm/12in diameter) you could plant three plants. In larger baskets maybe one or two more plants. If you are planting up in April or May keep the baskets in a conservatory or greenhouse at night and place outside during the day to harden off.
By early June in most parts of the country you can safely hang up outside. Place in a sunny or partly shaded spot and keep the basket well watered. Feed with a proprietary tomato feed at least once a week.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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