What to do in July

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July is a month of lush growth and expectation in the container garden - with the best harvests of the year just round the corner. With luck, you might already be harvesting peas, courgettes, strawberries and beans now, along with the first tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are usually the first to ripen). If you want to keep [...]

Mint for life… (the secret of keeping supermarket mint alive)

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If you've tried growing a pot of supermarket mint, you might have discovered that it usually looks sad and dies after a few weeks. (At least, that is what happened to my first attempts!). But did you know that there is a super easy way to make supermarket mint grow, flourish and last for years? Find out how [...]

Harvesting the bounty

The flavour of spring - mint, chives and fava shoots to lift a stir fry.

How much can you actually get to eat from containers on two growing ladders that span six feet (2 metres)? This week I'm sharing pictures of some of the harvests from the last two weeks and how we ate them.... I hope to highlight how even a small container garden can contribute something special to your meals every day. [...]

The easy way to grow lemon grass in containers

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When you start to grow your own food, a nice surprise is that some ‘exotic’ plants turn out to be easier to grow than you might expect. Lemon grass is one.  A few years ago, I thought this only grew in the warmth of Thailand or Vietnam. The good news is that it also grows [...]

How much food can you grow in six foot?

Growing ladders are simple, effective way of growing more in a small space.

How much food can you grow in six by three foot (two by one metres)? After growing £900 of food in a year on my London balcony and £548 in six months in my Newcastle concrete backyard, I'm intrigued to find out. I've built two growing ladders (see picture above), which enable me to have three or four [...]

Biochar and container growing

Biochar can be added to a growing media to help improve drainage and water and nutrient retention.

What is biochar? And is it the magical ingredient some claim? Before reading further, you should know that it is not essential to know about (or use) biochar to grow successfully. If you want to keep your growing simple, skip this post. However, if you want to create a growing mix that can be re-used successfully [...]

Growing in the wind – three solutions

This reclaimed perspex lid offers excellent shelter from wind.

Strong winds can be a headache if you're trying to grow food in the city. Balconies and roof tops are often exposed. Wind gets funnelled between buildings. Some air movement is good for plants (it helps reduce disease), but persistent or strong winds are not.  It can be difficult to grow successfully in very windy [...]