Blooming Baskets

Hanging baskets don’t have the best reputation. They can sometimes be considered naff with their garish trails of bright flowers that sometimes look like they have been thrown together (don’t get me started on their fake counterparts) but you don’t have to plant your hanging baskets with pansies and fuchsias; All of the baskets in our back garden contain either fruit or vegetables. Planting fruit and vegetables in hanging baskets can be a great way of growing-your-own in limited space.

Tomatoes – This was the the first vegetable we attempted to grow in baskets and the Tombling Tom variety works best. Just be careful of blight which can ruin your whole crop.

Strawberries – We’ve planted many varieties over the years and all have worked well apart from the white alpine strawberries we tried last year. The advantages of growing strawberries in hanging baskets is that they are not as accessible to pests (apart from birds) and because they are hanging the you don’t get the problem of the strawberries going soggy on the ground. To help protect the strawberries from birds cover the plants in netting.

Pea shoots – Last year discovered this gem and I have Alys Fowler to thank. You don’t need fancy peas from the garden centre. Plain and simple Bigga dried peas from the supermarket will work just as well. You simply sprinkle the peas over the soil and cover with a thin layer of soil and keep watered.You are able to grow them in baskets as you are literally harvesting the plants for their leaves rather than the peas. You can however transplant the plants once they have grown too much for the basket and grow in to fully fledged pea plants.

Salad leaves – Perfect as they are literally cut and come again. I prefer to use packets of mixed salad leaves for variety. Growing salad leaves is far easier than buying packets from the shops as in our case we struggle to get through a packet of ready prepped salad before it goes off.

Herbs – Most herbs that don’t grow too tall like mint and thyme work well in hanging baskets.

When growing in hanging baskets make sure the basket is well drained but also don’t get waterlogged. We usually line our basket frames with a husk/moss layer (watch the birds pick this out during the nesting season) then a thin plastic layer with a few holes to allow the water the drain through. Also balance the baskets on a bucket to stop them rolling around while trying to fill them with the compost.

Have you tried growing anything unusual in hanging baskets?

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

9 thoughts on “Blooming Baskets

    katescakesandbakes

    (June 10, 2011 - 6:37 pm)

    Great tips- I know what you mean about hanging baskets sometimes looking a little tacky! Mostly they can look really pretty, but good to have other ideas for them!

    Bibbitybob

    (June 10, 2011 - 7:10 pm)

    Great post! I’ve got strawberries and tumbling toms in my baskets for the first time this year, both seem to be doing well so far :) x

    Susan

    (June 11, 2011 - 10:54 am)

    I love all hanging baskets, that are well cared for, even the ‘tacky’ ones add brightness and cheer to what could otherwise be a dull brick wall. I’ve tried tomatoes in baskets with limited success, I get a better crop in a pot in the greenhouse. Will try the herb basket idea though, as it can hang on the wall just outside the kitchen.

      Jules

      (June 13, 2011 - 9:33 am)

      When done well, like you say, they are a good way of brightening up a dull wall.

    Anna

    (June 12, 2011 - 12:55 am)

    I do love your garden posts, always so inspiring!

    I have three hanging baskets at the moment… two filled with pansies and one with fuchsias! Uh oh! The fuchsias also have sweet peas in with them. (They grow down just as happily as they grow up I’ve found) However, if it hadn’t started raining this evening I would be able to lay claim to tomatoes too, I’ve got 2 baskets of those to go up. I love my hanging baskets as my yard is tiny, vertical is the way to go!

    I too grow pea shoots (thank you again to Alys!) but I grow mine on my kitchen window using aluminium loaf/takeaway tins, I have old sash windows with no internal window sill and these are perfect for the narrow strip available. I grow mixed salad leaves in loaf tins there too.

    I may have to look at moving my strawberries to a hanging basket next year, they’re just not happy in their strawberry pot, hadn’t thought of a hanging basket for them!

      Jules

      (June 13, 2011 - 9:37 am)

      Anna,

      thank you for your kind comments. Ah, I’m not against pansies and fuchsias (I have a secret passion for fushsias) just badly done baskets. I’ve never thought of planting sweetpeas in them. I love the idea of growing in old loaf tins. It’s worth giving the strawberries in a basket a go. I’m not a fan of strawberry pots at all. Whenever I’ve grown strawberries in them the plants have died. I think the design of the pot stops some plants getting enough water.

    The Curious Cat

    (June 13, 2011 - 12:36 pm)

    I’ve seen the success of hanging tomato baskets so one to definitely consider for next year! xxx

    aoife@myhome

    (June 14, 2011 - 10:32 pm)

    I live in a flat and have hanging baskets filled with herbs hanging outside my kitchen windows. They did really well for about a year and then we got greenfly. ARRGGH! Everything is gone now. You’ve inspired me to give it another go.

    Debra

    (October 31, 2011 - 5:54 pm)

    I have had no luck with tomatoes in a hanging basket but did very well this season with green beans. I think I’ll try sweet peas in the spring. Thanks for the ideas
    l

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