99357

Container crops to sow in April

Discover which crops you can get started in pots in mid-spring, including beetroot and carrots.

All kinds of vegetables can be grown in containers, including carrots, salads and radish. Even if you have a dedicated veg patch, it’s still worth growing some extras in pots too, near the house for easy picking.

Advertisement

Some crops, such as broad beans and chard, can be started off in March; other crops are best started off in April. Discover container crops to sow in March.

Weeds are much less of a problem in pots compared to direct sowing in the ground, and crops are less prone to attack from slugs, too – although you do need to look out for these.

Here are nine crops that can be sown in containers in April.

Even if you have a dedicated veg patch, it's still worth growing some extras in pots too, near the house for easy picking.

Carrots

Carrots grow well in containers – choose short, round varieties, or havest longer varieties as baby carrots. Growing carrots in pots is a good option if your soil is clay or stony, as they do not enjoy these conditions.

How to sow: sow direct into pots filled with multipurpose compost, with some added John Innes No.3 compost. Sow evenly to avoid overcrowding, cover with a thin layer of compost, water and label. Grow in a cool greenhouse or outdoors.

Container size: grow in containers at least 30cm deep; try old apple crates or zinc baths.

Recommended varieties: ‘Paris Market’, ‘Parmex’ or ‘Little Finger’

99346-2

Salad leaves

Salad leaves are the perfect container crop. Quick, easy and, if sown a regular intervals, will produce tasty pickings throughout the summer and into autumn.

How to sow: sow direct into pots filled with multipurpose compost. Sow the seeds thinly to avoid overcrowding, cover with a thin layer of compost, water and label. Grow in a cool greenhouse or outdoors.

Container size: can be grown in guttering, window boxes or wooden crates. Minimum depth should be 10cm

Recommended varieties: ‘Mizuna’, ‘Komatsuna’, ‘European Mesclun’

99347-2

Turnips

Turnips are a quick-growing crop that can be used as a catch crop alongside vegetables that take longer to mature. They can be harvested young, when they are golf ball size. You can also use the leaves, which are delicious eaten as greens.

How to sow: sow direct into pots filled with multipurpose compost. Sow the seeds thinly to avoid overcrowding, cover with a thin layer of compost, water and label. Grow in a cool greenhouse or outdoors.

Container size: Grow in medium-sized pots at least 30cm in diameter and at least 15cm deep

Recommended varieties: ‘Mizuna’, ‘Komatsuna’, ‘European Mesclun’

99348-2

Beetroot

Beetroot are perfect harvested when young and tender (about golf ball size), which makes them an ideal container crop. Choose varieties that are less prone to bolting as these will tolerate the drier conditions of a pot better than others.

How to sow: fill your pot with compost and then cover with a cloche or fleece or move into a greenhouse to warm up for a week or two before sowing. Sow seeds direct and cover with compost, then water and label. Place somewhere warm and bright and cover with a cloche or fleece. Alternatively, sow into modules and transplant the seedlings to pots.

Container size: the minimum diameter should be 30cm with a depth of least 20cm

Recommended varieties: ‘Boltardy’, ‘Bull’s Blood’ and ‘Chioggia’

99349-2

Lettuce

Grow hearting varieties, loose-leaf salads and cos types of lettuce, all of which are easy container crops. They’re less prone to slug damage when grown pots and are ideal for a shadier spot in your garden. Havest the whole lettuce or pick outer leaves.

How to sow: Sow into seed trays filled with seed compost. Scatter the seeds finely and evenly on to the surface. Lightly cover with compost or vermiculite. Water gently and label. Place somewhere light and frost-free, like a sunny windowsill or unheated greenhouse, keeping the compost moist as the seeds start to germinate. Transfer the seedlings to pots when they have reached a decent size.

Container size: grow in pots, window boxes or growing bags with a minimum depth of 10cm

Recommended varieties: ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’, ‘Red Salad Bowl’, ‘Freckles’

99350-2

Summer savory

Summer savory is an annual herb with a subtle thyme flavour. Easily grown from seed. Grow in pots near the kitchen for quick pickings. It’s a good companion plant for broad beans, helping to ward off blackfly.

How to sow: Sow into seed trays filled with seed compost. Scatter the seeds finely and evenly on to the surface. Lightly cover with compost or vermiculite. Water gently and label. Place somewhere light and frost-free, like a sunny windowsill or unheated greenhouse, keeping the compost moist as the seeds start to germinate. Transfer the seedlings to pots when they have reached a decent size.

Container size: grow on its own in small pots, at least 12cm wide, or plant up with other herbs or crops.

99353-2

Chervil

Chervil is a herb with pretty foliage and an aniseed flavour. It’s ideal for a shady spot as it can be prone to bolting in hot weather. Grow within easy reach of the kitchen, or even on a cool windowsill. Can be planted in larger pots along with other shade-loving crops, such as salads.

How to sow: Sow into seed trays filled with seed compost. Scatter the seeds finely and evenly on to the surface. Lightly cover with compost or vermiculite. Water gently and label. Place somewhere light and frost-free, like a sunny windowsill or unheated greenhouse, keeping the compost moist as the seeds start to germinate. Transfer the seedlings to pots when they have reached a decent size.

Container size: can be grown a small pot at least 12cm in diameter

99356-2

Watercress

More at home growing in chalk streams, it is possible to grow watercress in containers. It needs to be kept permanently wet, so frow in a pot placed on top of a deep tray. Flush with water every week or so to prevent the soil from becoming stagnant.

How to sow: Sow into seed trays filled with seed compost. Scatter the seeds finely and evenly on to the surface. Leave it uncovered, as it needs light to germinate. Water gently and label. Place somewhere light and frost-free, like a sunny windowsill or unheated greenhouse, keeping the compost moist as the seeds start to germinate. Transfer the seedlings to pots when they have reached a decent size.

Container size: grow in a window sill planter or trough at least 15cm deep. Try those with their own self-watering system

99354-2

Radish

Radish is one of the quickest vegetables you can grow. Sow direct into a container every three to four weeks for a continuous supply. Choose short, round varieties for shallower pots or longer, tapered roots for deeper containers.

How to sow: fill a container with multipurpose compost. Sow two seeds in a hole 1cm deep and repeat at the required distance on the seed packet. Cover with compost, water and label. If both seeds germinate, remove one and allow the other one to grow on strongly. Place your container somewhere sunny, on greenhouse staging, a garden table, window sill or patio and keep well watered.

Container size: can be grown in shallow pots or window boxes.

Advertisement

Recommended varieties: ‘French Breakfast’, ‘Cherry Belle’, ‘Sparkler’

99355-2

What not to grow in pots

Bear in mind that some crops that can be sown this month are not suitable for growing in pots – these include leeks, swede and Brussels sprouts.