Some lucky green-fingered people have a large enough space to house a glorious garden and put it to full use, growing spectacular harvest and organic produce with the help of companies such as Agrarian Organics.
Some of us are not so lucky. We might have a small patio, or no garden at all. But there’s no reason why we can’t create our own organic garden with the help of a windowsill and some simple pots and tubs. A few well-placed containers can liven up a conservatory, kitchen or lounge, and are also beneficial for oxygen production in a home.
Organic Gardening says: “Container plants also add versatility to gardens large and small. They lend instant color, provide a focal point in the garden, or tie in the architecture of the house to the garden. Place them on the ground or on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch.”
A wide variety of vegetables and fruit can be grown organically indoors, including beetroot, beans, salads, tomatoes, chillies and peppers, figs, grapes and oranges. A small pot of burgeoning herbs nearby, easy to pick and throw into meals, completes the look.
Research how much sunlight and space your produce of choice needs before buying a pot or trough which doesn’t fit into your preferred ‘gap’, or doesn’t allow your various vegetables space to breathe. This is an investment which should yield food for some time if done properly, so forecast the size of the plant at full maturity. Bear in mind that smaller containers hold less soil and therefore moisture – so will need to be watered more.
You can use an every day container if you wish, or even a quirky item scavenged or retrieved from a garage sale or dump. But take heed of advice from Anne Gibson at Themicrogardener.com, who says: “Do you know the history of the item? If you are salvaging it from a farm or garage sale, has it had contact with agricultural chemicals like herbicides, fungicides and pesticides? Or has it held other toxic chemicals or dangerous substances? If so, it would likely not be safe to plant into and especially not for food.”
Most vegetables need to be planted in late winter or early spring, so plan ahead. Once established, buy a container and some organic compost/potting soil.
If you are buying plants choose only strong, healthy ones, and give them a day or two in front of a sunny window before moving them to containers.
If possible avoid using tap water – storing rainwater outside in a bucket or butt, is a better, more environmentally friendly option. The air will be dryer inside the house, especially in winter, so spray the plants with water mist and perhaps place the pot on a tray which will need to be filled regularly.
These tips show that you do not need a gigantic garden to get the best out of organic produce – use your space and sunlight wisely and good results will follow.