Back Door Vegetables
Looking for something to pick in just weeks?
We suggest the perfect container planting schemes for fresh, tasty- and quick – summer crops
Growing conditions are ideal now, with frosts behind us and hours of daylight stretching
out into the warm summer evenings a perfect time for Back Door Vegetables
Maybe June has crept upon you, but even if you haven’t spent the last few months checking catalogs, cultivating the ground, and nurturing young plants, don’t worry!
It’s not too late to make a start.
A patio veg box planted now is a simple way to fast track your veg.
The container’s style and shape don’t matter; be sure to choose one that’s at least 20cm deep.
The crops are all easy to grow from seed, or you can get a step ahead by buying plugs of chard and beetroot.
Seeds of lettuce, spring onion, and radish are quick to germinate and can be sown straight into the compost in your container.
The vivid colors in this scheme make an attractive display, especially from the five-color chard. With careful picking, it will keep sending up bright new shoots right through the summer.
Back Door Vegetables
Along with fresh lettuce, tasty beetroot, and quick salad crops, this is the perfect
combination for the taste of home-grown summer.
These crops will do best in rich, free-draining compost, with plenty of light, although the chard and lettuce will need some shade when temperatures rise.
Lettuce and radish sowings can be harvested from 28 days after planting, and the onions should be ready soon after.
Depending on size when planted, beets and chard should be ready from five weeks.
When looking for chard plugs, ‘Bright Lights’ is widely available and similar to the ‘Five Colour Silverbeet’ variety widely used.
Gourmet lettuce seed mixes are delicious and will provide a continuous supply of salad when sown successionally. You could also try radish ‘Sparkler’ for a quick, tasty crop.
Growing tips for your veg box
Compost, with an added general-purpose fertilizer.
Sow six chard seeds, 10 cm apart, with three beetroot plugs on either side. Keep the beetroot well separated so they’ll produce more significant roots.
Sow the lettuce thinly in 1 cm deep drills at one end.
Germination is quicker when it is more relaxed, so sow in the evenings during hot weather and water with cold water.
Sow six salad onions at the other end – or use plug plants to save time. Pop radish seeds into any spaces.
Sow some backup seedlings of lettuce in small pots.
These will come in handy later on, saving time on sowing directly into the container when filling gaps after harvesting.
Thin out excess seedlings. Thinnings can be potted on if you handle them carefully by the leaves or eaten.
If your plug plants were grown under cover, remember to acclimatize them gradually to outdoor temperatures. Don’t forget to label them.
After the first six weeks, feed your veg with a high-nitrogen fertilizer every fortnight. Keep the box well weeded and watered and kept checking for and picking off – slugs and snails.
For the best flavor, harvest beetroot when young, gently levering roots from the compost. They are ready when the foliage starts to go limp.
Grow extra lettuce and beetroot ready to fill any gaps in your container
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