Feed your interest

Plant herbs in smaller pots and move to catch the sun. Picture KATH GANNAWAY

Growing vegetables in pots is a fantastic way to eat fresh and save money over summer.

Whether it’s space, time or physical ability that rules out the big backyard vegie plot, growing vegetables and herbs in pots can a rewarding way to get out in the garden over summer and reap the culinary rewards.

Potted success in six easy steps:

1. Choose a spot for your pots which gets five to six hours of sun each day. If your garden is shaded, include some smaller pots that can be moved around to catch the sun.

2. Decide what vegetables or herbs you fancy. Vegetables that can be planted now include tomatoes, lettuce varieties, zucchini, Warragul greens, capsicums, silver beet, radish, parsley, oregano, basil, leeks, Vietnamese mint, fennell. Ask your local nurseryman for other ideas.

3. Choose the right type of pot for the plant and for your decor. Larger pots can be planted up with a mix of lettuce or herbs but basically any shallow-rooted plants will grow successfully in pots that are around 25cm deep. Standard tomatoes and root crops such as beetroot will need at least 35 to 40 centimetres in depth. Hanging baskets can also be great space savers and there is a good selection of tomatoes now available which thrive in a basket. Strawberries can also be grown in baskets. Baskets will however dry out more quickly so need more attention to watering.

4. Use a good quality potting mix, preferably with a slow-release fertiliser, or add a slow-release fertiliser to the mix.

5. Water seedlings in with a good quality liquid fertiliser and continue to feed every two to three weeks to ensure a good crop.

6. Crushed egg-shells scattered around seedlings will help deter snails and slugs.