Philip Aubury came to Ticknall Garden Clubs meeting in May to reassure his audience that there is plenty of scope for planting even without a garden. He included the use of gro-bags, pots, hanging baskets, plastic bags, raised beds and window boxes with lots of useful advice along the way.
Tomatoes are ideal subjects for gro-bags with cane and string supports. Strawberries can be raised off the ground in them followed by a crop of lettuce. One could try planting four chitted potatoes (the variety of Rocket was recommended) in any large container or plastic bag. Place on a layer of old compost and keep layering with more as green shoots appear. Feed with chicken pellets or Growmore. He assured that potatoes planted in August would provide new potatoes for Christmas! He also plants mini cucumbers in the same way. Carrot seeds planted late and densely in a plant pot will yield a crop of delicious finger carrots as it avoids the early carrot fly.
Other vegetables which grow successfully in pots include French and runner beans, chilli peppers and bell peppers. Salad leaves can even be grown in a washing up bowl.
Herbs are very adaptable for any setting and can be handily placed at the back or front door. He demonstrated a planting idea of a tower of pots fixed in place with a pole. A raised bed can be designed for the smallest of spaces and a rotation of crops makes it productive. Even a trough or window box can yield a crop of strawberries, tomatoes or lettuce. With the development of dwarf rootstocks it is now possible to grow apples, pears, cherries and plums in confined spaces.
Plant growth in restrictive areas inevitably makes watering more crucial as drying out is more of a problem. A timer on a tap attached to a hosepipe is useful as is a drip feed system. It is important to give a thorough soaking when water is needed.
Philip assured he was cutting down on peat in his compost although admitted he had not yet found a completely satisfactory peat free variety. Adding water gel to compost helped to preserve moisture.
He used Growmore and Vitax Q4 to feed plants while organic gardeners could feed with chicken pellets and fish, blood and bone.
Philip provided a wealth of ideas and advice for growing in confined spaces. He certainly convinced us that having no plot was no problem!