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Tiny yard, pretty much everything has to go in pots

(20 Posts)
drspouse Mon 07-Mar-16 20:29:18

We have a back yard rather than a garden, a couple of small beds and some window boxes at the front. I'm thinking about planting some flowers for the summer but - black thumb alert - I read the seed packets and things like sweet peas say "plant six inches apart", how many can I put in a pot? Can I put anything else in as well? It just seems as if with a 12" pot you can't really put more than one!

What is good in pots also? At the moment I have bedding plants (violas and primroses I think) in the window boxes and large perennial herbs in pots (lavender, oregano etc).

OverScentedFanjo Mon 07-Mar-16 20:33:15

Do you want flowers or veg as well? I grew amazing runner beans in a pot one year.

Medium to large pot with canes tied at the top.

I normally grow sweet peas in a pot with canes. I plant them closer than they say. So far they've always been ok. I water twice a day and keep a check on the tendrils so they don't get too tangled before they flower and wrap around each cane evenly.

drspouse Mon 07-Mar-16 20:40:49

I'd love to grow veg and I got a little wooden greenhouse thing recently. I was thinking of tomatoes as I know they are good in pots. I may buy seedlings though.

Hadn't thought of runner beans but that's a good tip about canes in pots.
I seem to remember I tried lettuce once and the slugs just ate them all even in pots...

Kr1stina Mon 07-Mar-16 21:31:25

Can't you make the tiny beds a bit bigger ?

Cathpot Tue 08-Mar-16 10:16:28

Can you use the walls/ fences? Lots of interesting pots and planters you can get that attach to walls, including hanging strawberries or tomatoes. Or a trellis of some sort that goes over a bench or leads to a gate or something, so the plants are there but up and over, not taking up floor space? Have you got a path to a back gate? Gravel / stepping stone and plant through the gravel- lots of lovely low growing rockery type plants. Plant shade tolerant things under benches , trellis a fruit tree like an apple against a wall- easy to do if you start with a young tree and train it in.

EBearhug Tue 08-Mar-16 10:49:14

I've grown sweet peas in pots - they can do very well. Big pot (1m diameter?), put up a frame, which in my case has 4 legs, and I plant 3 sweet peas between each leg.

Other things I have in pots - mint, rosemary, marjoram, strawberries. I've had peas and beans before. Tomatoes do well. Bay. Olive. Fig (till it got frosted one bad winter.) Citrus (that's just for fun, not fruit, and they come inside over winter.)

I have a staged planter which I fill each spring with pots of lobelia, calendula, nasturtium and whatever bedding plants are going cheap at the garden centre when I'm there. It was a blaze of colour last summer. There's loads you can do with pots. And they can move house with you. Oh, and in autumn, do some with spring bulbs, so you've got early colour.

drspouse Tue 08-Mar-16 13:23:14

Can't you make the tiny beds a bit bigger They have already been expanded and one has fruit bushes (which seem to thrive on neglect thankfully!) and one has shrubs (because we tried putting smaller plants in annually but the rest of the time it was just a cat loo so we decided to cover it up). They are next to the only walls that are useable (the other walls have functional house type things on them, or else the bike shed).

So it's not really as bad as it sounds, in that the bed with fruit bushes in is nice and functional and the bed with shrubs in is green most of the year and has a few climbing flowers for other parts of the year. It's really the paved bit I want to do something with, where the pots will go (or are already, but are sad and empty or have out of control herbs in).

The yard is not big enough for a path, it's paved itself all over (re-paved in non slippery, flat paving when we moved in as the previous paving was neither) and all round the whole yard is probably smaller than our front room. Oh and we have the wheely bin and at least two recycling bins and the toddler's water tray and... you get the idea...

I wonder if I could fit in a staged planter instead of multiple (out of control or empty, and therefore just depressing) pots? I'll have a look around.

I do have a bay tree though, which looks a lot better than the mad herbs!

drspouse Tue 08-Mar-16 13:24:59

Also, though I like the idea of vegetables, I wonder if it's more realistic for me to get lots of bedding plants, given I don't have that much time for gardening, and tend to do it in fits and starts when DH is free to help/children are willing to either stay out of the way (the 1yo) or potter with a trowel (the 4yo).

Cathpot Tue 08-Mar-16 14:41:16

A small garden is your friend if you're short on time! Sweet peas would grow up a shed if you bung in a few nails and give them some string. Lettuce/ salad leaves are almost zero maintenance and could go in a pot and spring onions from seed have been easy too. Start small and work up??

cheapandcheerful Tue 08-Mar-16 14:43:33

We used to have a tiny patio garden. At the time I knew nothing about gardening and was expecting dc1 so I let my MIL loose on it. She is very good at these things!

Anyway, contrary to my expectation, she went for really BIG plants in pots. I would have thought that they would have drowned the space out, but it looked amazing!

drspouse Tue 08-Mar-16 20:03:44

Cathpot any tips to actually get lettuce rather than slug cast offs?

Big plants sounds fun! What kind of thing?

Cathpot Tue 08-Mar-16 20:27:50

If you are growing in containers you can ring the pot with stick on copper tape from garden centres. There are also beer traps- sink a plastic cup into pot until the top is level with the soil , half fill with beer. Grim but satisfying, empty beer slug mix and refresh every day or so until numbers dwindle . The biggest difference to the main raised bed for me was nematodes. You buy them on line ( used green gardener website but I think there are lots of others) and they come as a powder, you mix with water and then water the soil. They are parasites of the slugs and sort out the ones hatching in your soil. They don't harm anything else so they're good near kids and pets. Order them when you know you will be in to receive them as they are alive and need to be used within a time frame. You can also get ladybirds in the post for sorting out aphid infestations!

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 08-Mar-16 20:38:25

Read up on vertical planting.

You can use gutters with end pieces on fixed at foot high intervals up the fences/ walls. I've got a couple of these with alpine strawberries and herbs in - i had a great strawberry crop from seed in my first year. I've also grown some cut and come again mixed lettuce leaves in them slug free!

Those 99p pouches that hand off doors designed for shoes, filled with soil, fixed to a wall/ fence and planted look great once growing. See images on Pinterest.

Hanging baskets with tumbler tomatos and strawberries in work well.

I overplant things like sweetpeas and thin out. You can also repeat sewing every two weeks so maybe put four seeds in on day one, then another four after a few weeks and after a month another four.

drspouse Tue 08-Mar-16 21:33:18

We did try the copper tape before, and the beer traps... Slugs love us!

I'll have to look up the nematodes and also vertical planting... I'm guessing you need to use the water retaining crystals and actually get round to watering...

JapanNextYear Tue 08-Mar-16 21:40:43

Use as big as pots as you can, less watering! A few big overstuffed pots looks better than lots of little ones. I have a small back yard and had raspberries, mange tout, potatoes, chill is as well as loads of flowers.

drspouse Tue 08-Mar-16 21:42:30

Ooh good excuse to buy some lovely big pots from the out of town garden centre!

Cathpot Wed 09-Mar-16 05:12:33

Yes I think nematodes are probably the most effective - in fact you've reminded me to buy some.

Out2pasture Wed 09-Mar-16 05:22:49

I love my red leaf lettuce in pots with marigolds and chives smile

drspouse Mon 14-Mar-16 21:33:08

I had some rather old seeds so I've planted a few with the help of the four year old - beans, sweet peas, and tomatoes though I have an awful record of growing tomatoes so I'll probably replace them with plants in a couple of months. They are inside so I need to get said four year old to remind me to water them.
May have to go and buy a really big pot for the sweet peas.

drspouse Sun 20-Mar-16 15:54:54

Some of the seeds are coming up, the four year old is very excited and so am I. One of the beans I think and one of the sweet peas. I try to prevent him from drowning them.

Think we'll have the traditional Easter Bank Holiday trip to a garden centre to pick some pots. Are we going for water retaining granules as well do we think?

I have some strawberry plants in a bag thing but I'm never that good at growing them, they just seem to be rather damp and not have any fruit. Also, if you buy plants they all seem to be Elsanta and I might as well buy nicer strawberries instead. Any thoughts? Or not bother? I have also got a few alpine strawberries in the minimal beds and they are a hit with the four year old but obviously not enough to do more than pick at ourselves.

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