For small spaces, or for those who prefer not to trudge down to the allotment in winter, getting a few crops planted up in pots outside the front door is a good option for autumn planting.
Here are some top tips for those keen to get started:
Make sure pots have good drainage
They will need at least one drainage hole at the bottom, and if you can raise them onto some stones, or place them on gravel or an old pallet, then this will help to stop them from becoming waterlogged. This’ll help the plants thrive as well as prevent the waterlogged soil from freezing and expanding and breaking pots when the winter weather sets in.
Set pots at different levels
This is a good way to help plants reach maximum sunlight – if you just raise the pots at the back by stacking some bricks and laying across a plank of wood to make a raised area, then this will help. It’ll look more appealing too.
Add some wormcast fertiliser to the compost when planting
It’s a good way of boosting nutrients. Also, use a liquid feed once a month just to keep them going (you shouldn’t need to water them otherwise, as it will inevitably rain plenty!)
Use copper tape to protect plants from slugs
Easy to buy at the garden centre, copper tape is a fairly effective way of keeping slugs out of pot grown plants. Wool pellets also work well for growing in pots – you can sprinkle the wool pellets around the surface of the compost after planting.
Give plants plenty of root space
Avoid overcrowding when growing in pots, especially in autumn and winter – you’ll receive a full growing guide with your plants, so follow the advice in there. As a general rule, we’d suggest sticking to one plant per pot, unless growing the following: spring onions | corn salad | wild rocket | frills mustard |
Lettuces and salad leaves are an excellent choice for pot growing
You’ll get to harvest plenty for several weeks over the winter season, so if you only have limited space, then that is where we’d recommend you start!
Using cloches or fleece will really help
You can get cloches to fit each individual pot or lay a sheet of horticultural fleece over several pots to help keep plants warm over winter – the warmer you can keep them, the better they will grow.
Put pots in a sheltered site
Nudge them up against walls so that they are not pelted by rain, hail and wind – this will really help growth. If you have a greenhouse or polytunnel, you can grow loads in pots in there at this time of year, and a light porch would work well too.