Season of Plenty

July and August is when lots of the crops in pots start to yield good pickings. The thing I am most excited about is the amount of carrots produced in one 20 litre Air-Pot (3.2kg / 7lb). The seed was sown in Spring in a shed, which meant the soil temperature was  warmer and drier;  once past the early vulnerable stage the pot was left outside and well watered. I did not even thin the seedlings which would have given each root room to grow bigger. They seemed to reach a useful size despite the overcrowding and best of all the carrots were absolutely perfect with no carrot root fly damage or forked roots. I have immediately followed this success with a late sowing and in future will aim for a succession of carrot pots.

The runner beans in a pot are looking good and producing pods. Many beanstalks can grow huge and require substantial supports, which is awkward in a pot and liable to blow over, so I selected a dwarf variety named Hestia which has been very well behaved reaching only 60cm in height. About a dozen plants in a large Air-Pot with a few sticks for support have been covered in pretty red and white flowers for weeks and will now give plenty of beans for the kitchen. It is easy to end up with a glut of runners and as they are not something I love enough to freeze  it is quite a relief to just have a potful rather than a wigwam load.

There is so much fresh growth on the Air-Pot herbs I thought it would be good to preserve some as a herb salt, I gathered a big bowlful of mixed herbs; oregano, chives, sage, rosemary, lovage, tarragon plus some chilli, celery, lemon zest, spring onion, seaweed and garlic granules. This was all dried, ground and blended with salt to make a tasty flavour enhancer.

Once again the hydrangeas on the doorstep are a mass of pink, they are several years old and are now thriving in the 20 litre size Air-Pot. They could be potted-on into the 38 litre extra large size but they then become rather heavy to move, It is nice being able to easily shift the pots into a prominent position when they are at their best, I find the 20 litre (large) is most useful when juggling pots, the 38 litre (extra large) good as a final home. Sometimes you have to concede that a plant is just too big to contain, my banana plant grew so quickly in a series of Air-Pot containers that eventually it outgrew the extra large size and was planted outdoors in the ground, it is now over 3 metres tall and has survived a Scottish winter.

2 thoughts on “Season of Plenty

  1. I love reading your blog posts every time and learning from your experience with airpots. Not many people seem to know about them. You had such a big carrot harvest! May I ask what soil mix you used? I have been battling with diseases plagueing my plants and I suspect it has something to do with the soil mix or a lack of nutrients. Do you give your plants extra fertilizer? If so,what kind? I would love to learn from your experience 🙂
    Also, it seems unreal that you have kept a banana plant alive in the scottisch winter! A great accomplishment! Did it give you fruit this summer?

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    • The large amount of carrots produced in a 33cm (13″) diameter pot was quite surprising, the compost was nothing special. I usually use my homemade garden compost mixed with old re-used compost and some Dalefoot peat-free compost, I sieve all this through a coarse mesh which aerates and breaks lumps, and catches roots, twigs, old partly decomposed avocado / mango stones etc. To the sieved compost I add fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or chicken manure pellets, but I have just guessed at quantities needed, possibly I should have added more nutrients as the carrots were slow growing to start with then really picked up when I gave some soluble feed. I guess if you have sickly plants a quick acting soluble feed is the first thing to try and possibly a foliar feed of liquid seaweed spray but It is hard to diagnose problems without knowing all the details. I have heard that many commercial composts have caused stunted growth due to contamination of animal manure by some persistent chemical ingested by livestock,
      I am so proud of my banana, it is a wild variety which I started from a seed Musa sikkimensis (from Sikkim in northern India), edible banana does not produce seed and is very tender so is not something a northern grower can grow from seed and expect to survive outdoors. But the M. sikkimensis can grow from seed, cope with low temperatures and should produce an alarming flower eventually, I have acquired a dwarf edible Cavendish banana, it has gone into an Air-Pot and if i can find a warm spot for that over winter there is a chance of homegrown Scottish bananas one day.

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