The Last Gardening Lesson


For our final lesson, Richard showed us how to get the best out of our growbags

When you get your growbag, it will have been stored with lots of other bags and the compost will be compressed. You need to give it a good thumping all over to loosen the compost.

You will need three tomato plants and three eight inch pots.

Use one of the pots as a template to help you draw three circles on the growbag. Cut out the circles.

Cut the bottoms off the pots and wedge them into the bag – don’t go all the way to the bottom otherwise the plant roots won’t be able to get into the compost. Put one tomato plant into each pot and top up with planting mix and a sprinkle of slow release fertiliser.

Continuing care: Feed every eight to ten days and water every morning. Pinch out the centre shoots to encourage upward growth. Once the tomatoes start to colour, take out the lead stem and gradually take out the lower leaves.

If you have chosen bush tomatoes, you will need to provide support. You can use a cane for each and tie it in as it grows. or you can stand them under a cross frame, tie a piece of string so it dangles loosely down to each plant and, as it grows,  gently wrap it around the string.

You can grow strawberries in the same way, but with smaller pots and six plants to a bag. Sprinkle a little slow release fertiliser into the bottom of the pot.  Plant the strawberries so they are slightly above the rim of the pot: this will help water run off and discourage stem rot.

When the strawberries flower, add a shake of potash to each pot.

Window Box

We asked Richard about planting a window box. The basic design for a 3 foot long window box is trailing plant, filler, centrepiece, filler, trailing plant but, depending on the length of your box, you might need to add more filler plants. If you do, just make sure to keep the display symmetrical.

Rosemary Cuttings

We brought in some branches of rosemary, to see how to make softwood cuttings. It turns out, you don’t cut; you tear so that you have a little heel left at the end of a twig of rosemary. Strip some of the lower leaves off, dip the end in water, then in hormone rooting powder and then into a small pot. You can put three cuttings into each pot. Water lightly and wait until fresh growth appears before potting on.

Potting On

We talked a lot about potting on over the weeks. Richard explained this just means moving a plant into a bigger pot. You need to water the pot well the night before the move.Only move up a maximum of two sizes (as pots are normally sized in inches, this means 3” > 5” is okay, but 3” to 8” won’t work, your plant will just sulk). Fill in the space with planting mix and tamp down lightly.