August 3, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
Growing your own veggies at home is both rewarding and great fun. In days gone by it was believed that organic vegetables could only be grown in garden beds. However, with the modern advent of organic potting mix and organic fertilisers, we can now grow organic homegrown vegetables successfully in pots.
Pots are easy to water without wasting water in areas without plants, they are relatively easy to shift around the garden to find the right position and sunlight and if you use decorative pots, they create an extra feature in the garden. You do not need to do heavy digging and turning of the soil and most importantly, veggies grown in pots are very successful and delicious!
CHOOSING YOUR POTS
The first step to success is to use a large pot. As veggies are vigorous growers and require a large amount of soil for their thirsty and hungry roots, large pots are essential. Pots 40cm to 50cm in diameter (across the top of the pot) have proven to be perfect. In fact, a 40cm pot will hold about one 30 litre bag of potting mix and a 50cm pot will hold about 2 bags of potting mix, making it easy to calculate how many bags you will need for your pots.
Almost all veggies can be grown in pots with just a small number of exceptions.
The most popular vegetables for planting in pots
Basically, veggies that are not too large and cumbersome e.g. sweet corn is better suited to the garden bed.
WHICH ORGANIC POTTING MIX TO USE
Searles has launched a trialled and tested certified organic potting mix, called Searles Organic Potting Mix. This mix has been developed using the latest organic processes and technologies to provide a premium organic mix ideal for organic growing of all plants in pots. Never use garden soil mix or compost in pots. These products are designed specifically for use in garden beds and when used in pots, they tend to hold too much moisture and do not provide adequate aeration of the soil. This all leads to waterlogged root systems and less than ideal plant growth. Potting mix is structured to provide ideal aeration and water retention for optimum growth.
Plant seeds or seedlings according to the directions on the packet or punnet. Seeds work very well in pots as potting mixtures provide good conditions for seed germination. Because seedlings start out so small, a common mistake is to plant them too close together. As the plant matures however, they become crowded and do not perform or taste as good as they would have if they had had plenty of space. Tomatoes will do best with one strong plant per pot. Beans and peas will do equally as well with 2 to 3 plants per pot.
Mulch well to save water and keep the potting mix in good condition. Seedlings can be mulched immediately after planting. If planting seeds, wait until they have sprouted before mulching, otherwise, the mulch can prevent them from growing through the surface.
Potted veggies can be fed the same way as veggies in garden beds. All good potting mixes will contain a starter fertiliser but for good veggie growth, you will need to apply more fertiliser through the growing period. Apply 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser - Vegetable & Herb to the soil after seedlings have established and hardened off. You can also apply liquid plant foods while you are watering the pots. Use organic plant foods such as SeaMax Organic Fertiliser, a mixture of both fish and seaweed fertilisers. Apply this over the plants' foliage and the soil to drench the roots. Doing this every 1–2 weeks, growing vegetables is a pleasure with the absolute minimum of pest problems. Continue to feed the plants up until maturity of fruit set, then stop fertilising through the plants final stages.
This is one area where pots are of great benefit over garden beds as vegies generally growing in pots are relatively insect and pest free. Typical culprits like snails find pots less attractive and are easier to spot. If you do notice insect activity, use a soft organic spray such as Searles Bug Beater (pyrethrum spray) or flick them off the plant and squash them. When growing tomatoes, attach fruit fly traps to the tomato stakes above the pots. This trap kills the male fruit fly and stops the breeding cycle.
Recycle and reuse!
After a crop of veggies in pots has finished, you can re-use the potting mix for another crop. It is good practice to grow a different type of vegetable to avoid any potential build-up of plant disease. Simply re-invigorate the potting mix with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser - Vegetable & Herb and start again. You will find that 'vegies in pot' growing is very successful if you make sure you use large pots and adequately water and feed. The plants are very easy to maintain and the results are great tasting, superb organic homegrown produce!Bon appetite!