Going Potty!

Container gardening: a beginner’s observations

A glimpse of my “veg plot”!

Many of my pots are used for seasonal planting such as geraniums, or for herbs and vegetables. This spring I was given a great load of second-hand containers and pots, which enabled me to grow more veg! I have grown zucchini and butternut in pots for many years. The butternut squash does not always produce much fruit, probably due to my irregular watering! The zucchini always do very well, despite getting mildew almost every year.


This year I branched out into new territory, growing chard, spinach, peas (most have been eaten by the mice!) and spring onions. I also planted large containers with beetroot, parsnips and runner beans. Everything was grown from seed – no plug plants as I have only had bad experiences with them!



The advantages of container planting in my garden are mainly the ease of watering/feeding, positioning plants in the best possible spot with shade or cover from rain, and the ability to protect them from snails and mice, my main pests here. (It also keeps my mint under control!)

Dill and garlic chives, bayleaf, beetroot, salad and zucchini

This copper tape around my parsley pots prevents snails and slugs from climbing up to feed… they get a tiny shock from the copper, and retreat! It does really work! I believe most garden centres stock the tape… or look here.

Copper Tape

My cold frame is on a hard uneven surface, so it has fly netting taped on the base, making it inaccessible to mice, slugs and snails. Precious plants get shut in there at night! This was also very successful.

Cold Frame

Most of my herb and vegetable containers are on a balcony area far from the garden, which means mice and snails do not even reach it. The plants also have cover there… important for basil and also invaluable if we have heavy rain or hail. This does, however, mean carrying heavy watering cans over there!

Basil Forest!

I also grow salad leaves such as rocket and babyleaf in pots, as well as dill, coriander and chives – all from seed. Then there’s lemon verbena, sage and thyme, and rosemary and bayleaf (which come indoors over winter). These all do well if given the right spot… plenty of sun for most of them. (And the sage gets very thirsty).


Herb Pots

I hope the mice will leave me enough peas for just one meal… (I’d let them have them all if they would just stop eating my tulip bulbs!)

I would love to hear of your experiences with container veg… and any useful tips are always welcome!

Thanks for stopping by. In the next few days I’ll be posting some of the dishes I’m making with all this lovely produce!

27 thoughts on “Going Potty!

    • Hi Carol. I’m organized in a kind of disorganized way… I’m always forgetting to water or harvest things! Growing herbs and stuff is fun and rewarding though! 😀

  1. Beautiful!
    The first food I ever grew for my now-husband was a pot of salad greens on the front porch. He was so enchanted with being able to cut fresh greens every evening, that it wasn’t long before he was helping dig real gardens, all over the yard…

  2. First let me say I LOVE THE POST
    My garden has really shut down with all the rain you would have thought it would look as good as the WEEDS!
    Next year FLOWERS will take over fenced in area meant for edibles and I too will go back to the POT where I can control a lot more well except the Bees and Sun.

    • Hi there! Glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, pots are safer/easier to keep a check on I think. A plot in the garden is just out of the question here, with all the pests and hungry creatures who come visiting!
      Have a great weekend!

      • You too!’

        I used to grow so many things in pots (NO WEEDS) but then he found a rototiller at the dump with in 10 min he had it running and asking if he could turn my old garden area over. He did then put up a fence and my old gate was once again used. Perfect till this body hurts too bad to fight all the weeds. I love flowers and have started a whole hill of wildflowers(never need to leave home for a lovely shot lol)
        So I will add more flowers and some root veggies and leave tender crops in pots like you. I am now searching the dump for pots for next spring

  3. Dear Cathy, your pictures with all the carefully planted pots, with all the green vegetables and herbs give me the impression of a horticulture nursery. You really are a gardener with a “green thumb”.

  4. I have lots of flowers in pots, and some herbs, but plan to do a lot more in the future. Have you tried any of the tomatoes developed for containers?

    • I have grown tomatoes in containers, but not for a few years as I never had much success… They need so much water and mine got a virus several years in a row. There are probably better sorts now though. The zucchini are the most successful thing so far, and the chard and herbs.

    • Thanks Donna. I must feed my poor veg more regularly. They had some organic fertilizer about a week ago, and once several weeks before… I’m getting better at watering though!

  5. How lush your containers are! I have found that I can grow a lot of things in containers that are not supposed to do well in my zone and I also able to protect my strawberries from hungry bunnies if they are in pots close to the house!

    • What a great idea – strawberries in pots! I gave up on growing them in the garden several years ago, so might give this a try next year. Thanks Strawberry patch!

  6. I see inspiring container gardens such as yours are, but have learned over the years I just don’t enjoy caring for containers. Isn’t that odd? They are too dependent and I invariably forget to look after them. But yours are lovely and so productive it makes me reconsider.

    • That’s nice – I find it easier to have everything near the house and partly under cover… away from the hungry snails and mice! It’s also easier to check on them in bad weather or move things away from strong sun. And they are partly decorative too. 😀

  7. Hello! What a beautiful garden you have/had! Just wondering about what size pot your zucchini is in… I’d love to try it on our balcony this year, but I have no idea how much room it really needs to do well. Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Malaya! I usually put two plants in a bucket sized pot… that’s about 10 litres. They’ll need feeding regularly, and do better the more space you can give them. Good luck!

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