A container vegetable garden
You may be short of outdoor space, but that doesn't mean you have to do without home-grown vegetables. There are lots of veg which do brilliantly in containers, whether windowboxes, grow bags, pretty terracotta pots or just tin cans nailed to a fence.
Growing in containers has many advantages: perfect soil, easy planting and your crops are kept well out of reach of slugs. These days, there are lots of innovative new ideas around to help you get started: look out for wall-hung vertical planters, automatic watering systems and even special varieties of veg bred for growing in pots, all available from your favourite garden centre in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare.
There's a huge range of veg you can try in containers, from herbs and salad leaves to tomatoes, chard, beetroot and even climbing French beans trained up against a wall. Just follow our five golden rules for a summer of plenty from your patio.
1.Use the largest containers you can
The more room veg roots have, the happier they'll be (you can pack more veg in to larger pots, too!) So always buy the biggest containers you have room for.
2.Water, water, water
Plants in pots are completely reliant on you for water supplies. Water container-grown veg every day – twice a day in hot spells.
3.Feed, feed, feed
After the first six to eight weeks compost runs out of nutrients, so add weekly liquid feeds to your watering routine.
4.Re-sow fast-growing crops every month
Keep picking continuously by sowing new containers of fast-growing salads, herbs, and quick crops like beetroot and turnips once a month.
5.Choose the right varieties
Look for the words 'container veg' or 'patio veg' on seed packets: special varieties like Courgette 'Patio Star' and Aubergine 'Ophelia' will crop brilliantly in pots.
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about a container vegetable garden.