Edible hanging baskets
Hanging baskets make a bright splash of colour against a wall or fence, filled with brilliant scarlet pelargoniums or tumbling begonias. But don't just stick to bedding plants this year: try planting baskets which are productive as well as beautiful.
Edible hanging baskets are a great way to squeeze a little more produce out of your garden. Several types of fruit and veg do better raised off the ground: strawberries, for example, are kept well away from slugs, so you get to pick your crop unmunched and perfect.
Mix several different types of edible in the same basket to create a vibrant display of contrasting foliage and fruits: you can even create an 'instant dish' by planting complementary veg together, like tomato and basil for all the ingredients you need to make a flavoursome Mediterranean sauce.
You'll find everything you need to create an edible hanging basket at Bourne Valley Garden Centre in Addlestone, Surrey, from the baskets themselves to liners, compost, water-retaining gel to cut down on the watering workload, and of course plants and seeds. Here are some great varieties to try growing up in the air this year:
- Tumbling tomatoes cascade fetchingly in jewels of red and yellow. Choose a container variety like 'Gardener's delight' or 'Tumbler'. Keep well-watered and feed with liquid fertiliser once a week.
Chillies are Mexican firecrackers which love a hot, dry spot and don't mind restricted roots. Try multicoloured 'Numex Twilight' or tumbling 'Basket of Fire'.
- Peas: mangetout peas ('Shiraz' is a purple-podded variety) and dwarf types like 'Bingo' or 'Little Marvel' do exceptionally well in hanging baskets and don't need any support. Choose a larger basket and water well.
Strawberries: fill a hanging basket with two or three strawberry plants and they'll froth joyously over the edge. Prolific varieties include 'Cambridge Favourite' or intensely-flavoured alpine 'Mara des Bois'.
- Herbs: Mediterranean herbs love conditions in hanging baskets. Hang your basket right by the back door for easy picking. Herbs that do well in hanging baskets include thyme, marjoram, basil and summer savory.
Please ask the staff at Bourne Valley Garden Centre in Addlestone, Surrey garden centre for more information and advice about creating edible hanging baskets.