Posts Tagged ‘crops’

Choosing The Right Pots

An Apple.

A common problem that people face when trying to grow plants it that they do not know what pots to choose. The right type of pot depends in what you are trying to grow.

Seeds are best planted in plastic seed trays or small biodegradable pots. Biodegradable pots are better suited to larger seeds, and are useful as the roots are not damaged when the plant is potted on.

Cuttings can also be planted in plastic seed trays or plastic cellular trays.  However, they are best planted in biodegradable pots so that their delicate root system is not damaged.

Shrubs are best planted in plastic pots which are strong and allow for some movement if you are careful, as they are heavy.

Larger or more permanent plants should be planted in large plastic  or metal pots, or frost resistant terracotta pots. Terracotta pots are best both aesthetically and practically as they absorb water and often are stable.


Dealing with different light conditions.

Many crops grow best in half to full sun, whereas others require shade. However, the majority of allotments do not have these conditions available. If so, it is best to follow these simple tips to get plants growing well.

  1. If your allotment is too shady because of trees that you own and are permitted to cut back, hire a tree surgeon to cut of a small section of overhanging branches. If the trees are not yours, politely asking for them to be cut back may do the trick. Make sure you can legally cut them back.
  2. If the sun is blocked by fences, planting in raised beds and pots can help as the plants will be raised off the ground.
  3. If there is too much sun, planting a small fruit tree or similar may be a good idea as they will block the light. Make sure you will not need to move them later – if so, plant small trees in pots, but take care when you are moving them as they will be heavy.
  4. Arrange plants so that sun loving ones are in sun, and so larger ones are not blocking the light that smaller plants need (unless you are trying to create shade).

Growing Crops in Heated Propagators

A seedling germinating.

Heated propagators are the most common way of starting crops off early, especially in cold rooms that require more heat. When choosing a heated propagator, make sure it is large enough. It should easily accommodate a seed tray, or more if you grow more. I have two small propagators, which means that I am able to have them on at different times for different plants. Whatever you go for, make sure you know where it will be put, so you can ensure that you have power there.

Normally, you plant at the same times or slightly later in heated propagators as the seeds often germinate faster, but you may be able to plant early to get quicker and earlier crops. You should never plant more than a month early, but remember to use common sense depending on your climate.

When planting early, keep the plants indoors in good sized pots until they can be planted out. Be careful with heavy pots.

Although heated propagators are useful, you must check that the vents are left open during the day, or mould will develop. This is a common problem when not ventilated correctly, as a warm, humid environment is perfect for fungal growth.

You should also check that you have no condensation on the glass / lid, as it may drop down on plants, and often indicated that they are over watered. You should aim to wipe it off in the morning and evening, and, as with all electrical devices, ensure it is safe, not wet, and the instructions are followed.

If a lot of condensation forms, open the vents slightly, and water less. The plants should not be soaked, just slightly wet.

When the plants have germinated, remove them from the propagator, or switch it off. This helps to make sure that the plants grow sturdily, not rushed on by overheating. Follow the instructions on the pack for ideal propagator and aftercare temperatures.