What to do in February

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With spring just round the corner, February is a month of expectation in the container garden. You can also start sowing seeds again (hurrah!). Chillies, peppers and aubergines are particularly worth sowing now. For keen growers who want to get a head start, there are other crops you can sow this month, too - see [...]

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 [...]

My experimental container garden (and front yard larder!)

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What can you grow to eat in containers on a concrete, north facing (and windy) front yard? I’ll be finding out at my new (ish) home, in Newcastle, North England. And blogging here about what grows (and what doesn’t), how me and my family eat it, the rewards and challenges - and how it changes the way we eat and [...]

How to Grow Chillies in Containers

Twilight Chilli - ideal for a smaller pot on the windowsill - looks great, too.

Chillies grow very well in containers - but they do have some specific needs. To discover the 'tricks of the trade', I met up with (and filmed) professional chilli grower, Steve Waters. Few other plants can match chillies for 'flavour for space' ratio. One plant will often give you a hundred chillies or more. So all but the most dedicated [...]

How to grow oyster mushrooms at home

Home grown pink oyster mushroom.

Have you ever wondered if there’s an easy way to grow mushrooms at home -  without needing to buy a new kit each time? To find out, I went to visit mushroom expert, Ivan Lucas, who runs Mushroom Box. Ivan explained that the choice of the mushroom you grow is critical to success. The easiest are the [...]

Five unusual and exciting salads

Mixed salad with society garlic flowers.

What's your favourite crop to grow in containers?  Impossible to chose perhaps, but salad would be well up there for me. It's so easy and quick to grow, tastes incredible when freshly picked, and you can enjoy a diversity of flavours and colours that money can’t buy. Favourite salad leaves that I grow every year [...]