Growing Food in Pots
There is a world of food you can grow indoors or on a balcony. In fact, some of our favourite foods prefer to be indoors. A rare few struggle to survive outdoors (this includes Stevia which nearly everything loves to eat).
Pros and Cons of Pots
The main advantages of growing food indoors are 1. little or no pests to eat the leaves and 2. more stable temperature. Pots are also easy to relocate to find the right sun exposure. Judith and Paul at Earthkeepers demonstrated well how you can take you beloved plants with you when you move. They grow a lot of their everyday foods in relocatable pallet boxes.
The disadvantages of growing food indoors are 1. confinement of roots in the pot, 2. lack of rainwater and fertiliser from bugs and birds 3. salination of soils from chlorinated tap water and 4. no insects to pollinate flowers. But there are some easy answers for each one of those challenges.
No One-size Fits All
Some plants like wet feet, others like them dry. If you able to remember who likes what, you will be able to grow a big range of food plants in pots. Otherwise, simply specialise in one type or the other. There is a big range of food plants that love growing in water. These include water chestnuts, lotus plants and sugarcane.
There is an equally big range of drylands plants such as dragonfruit – a yummy cacti which you pollinate with a paintbrush. In our garden tiny bats do that task. In commercial crops in Vietnam they do it by hand or attract moths to the flowers with little lanterns.
Many foods get lost in a big garden. Growing bulbs in pots helps us to keep track of bulbs like Potato, Kumara, Ginger, Tumeric, shallots and garlic.
Convenience of Pots
If you have to walk outside in slippers in the rain, you are likely to reach for a tea bag. But if your favourite herbs is nearby in a pot, you might pick some leaves and notice it needs some water. You’ll be nourished while plant is nurtured.
Here are our best indoor potted plants:
- Kang kong
- Thai basil
- Choko – super easy to grow and has nutitrious leaves
- Sweet Potato – edible leaves, pretty green and purple vine
Two great medicinal plants to grow indoors are Aloe Vera and Houseleek Sempervivum. They are both excellent salves if someone gets injured or and insect bite.
Indoor Plants with Impressive Stature:
- Sugarcane (big sunny corner plant – can cook with the leaves)
- Taro (leaves as big as a coffee table)
- Monstera Deliciosa (hardy and yummy – impressively big vine)
- Banana (even if it is slow to fruit you can use the leaves as food parcels)
- Passionfruit (edible leaves)
- Grapevine (edible leaves and fruit)
- Olive (medicinal leaves)
Our all time favourite has been our 11 year old potted Bunya which served tirelessly as our Christmas tree.
Don’t forget to sprout
Many people dismiss the obvious forms of nutrition. Sprouts are abundant in vitamins.
New-Again Food Revolution
Come and learn how to grow food from the groceries you buy. Learn to how to select the best pieces of sweet potato [Kumura], ginger, cardamom and turmeric. Sprout cuttings and seeds to make new plants from the ones food you buy. Growing food indoors is simple and rewarding.
Taking Indoor Food Production To The Next Level
Let us show you how to make an indoor worm farm which will supply fertiliser to your indoor food plants. A simple closed loop system. We have upcycled a water filter to grow your shallots and have a worm-house sitting underneath.
This Sunday we have a workshop about Powerpots as part of Gratitude on a Plate festival.
- Learn how to select and sprout food tubers (ginger and sweetpotato)
- Make two wicking beds: closed and open
- learn how to convert a water filter into an indoor worm-farm wicking pot.