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Generally used for larger vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, growing-bags can also be used for a quick-maturing salad crop or for a ready supply of cut-and-come-again herbs and salad leaves.
Used growing-bags are also ideal for raising seedlings in spring and are a versatile and economical way to produce a crop where space is restricted.
There is almost always a sunny spot near the kitchen with room enough for a growing-bag for herbs. Parsley and mint are useful while the taste of fresh home-grown basil and coriander is often superior to shop-bought.
Additionally, popular herbs such as chives, dill, marjoram, tarragon and thyme and salad leaves including cress, cut-and-come-again leaves, endive, rocket, lettuce, leaf beet and spinach are ideal for a late crop of undemanding leaves in a growing-bag.
When using new growing-bags which offer a sterile growing medium, broadcasting seeds (i.e. scattered across the surface rather than in drills) is easy to manage since unwanted weed seeds should not be a problem. Weed seedlings are always difficult to tell apart from the sown seedlings when broadcast into the soil or non-sterile growing media, with the danger that you may pull out the wrong ones!
As well as for use in greenhouse cultivation, growing-bags are ideal in the smallest of spaces. Balconies, mini-glasshouses, patios, porches and even windowsills can be utilised.
These leaves can be sown in late summer and used through the winter and spring months if kept in a greenhouse. Ideally sow a new growing-bag whenever the current crop is almost ready to pick.
When growing herbs and salad leaves in a greenhouse:
Salad leaf crops and leafy herbs can be picked easily by snapping off the outer leaves. This can result in several leaf pickings from each bag.
Salads for small gardens by Joy Larkcom (Hamlyn 1995, ISBN 0600585093)
Jekka’s complete herb book by Jekka McVicar (Kyle Cathie in association with the Royal Horticultural Society 2007, ISBN 9781856267410)
These books are made available through the RHS Lindley Library.
Close sowing can increase problems with fungal diseases such as grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) and damping off of seedlings.
Cut and come again saladsHerbs: propagationHerbs: growingHerbs in containersHydroponicsRHS video: Nigel Slater plants an Mediterranean herb containerThe Herb SocietyVegetables in containers
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