We have designed a special Air-Pot container for growing tomatoes, cucumbers and other tender crops, which is wider and shallower than our Air-Pot Original range, to suit these shallower rooting plants.
Tender crops need good drainage and well aerated compost to stay healthy and produce the best crop, which is why the Air-Pot container is ideal.
The Air-Pot container encourages the development of a dense mass of fibrous roots which can take up more nutrient, which is why the plant is so vigorous and the crop so prolific.
Try growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillies, aubergines ... or anything else which takes your fancy.
Depending on the space you have, we have two sizes available.
Use the 14l Air-Pot for Tender Crops if space is not such an issue as the bigger soil volume will give you a bigger crop.
Use the 10l Air-Pot for Tender Crops in smaller greenhouses, but don’t forget to keep up the feed.
Container gardening is increasingly popular and the wide, shallow Herb & Salad tray enables you to grow a variety of crops. Outside, you could put some thyme, parsley, mint and chives. If you have room inside or in the green house, a few coriander and basil seeds will come away well and thrive. The space would be too limited for individual heads of lettuce, but ideal for rocket and the mixed leaves which come again and again after cutting.
We have tried to give you a basic guide to best practise below.
- Peppers & Chilli Peppers
- General Growing Guide
Tomatoes are sub-tropical plants and therefore require a full sun position as long as they can receive sufficient water.
Having assembled your Air-Pot containers the next step is getting them filled. A good starting point is a general mult-purpose compost with added loam - or your own recipe.
Leave them filled and just damp while the soil temperature reaches about 65°F or 18°C.
Plant your young plants and watch them grow.
They need the water, but hate being water-logged, which is why the Air-Pot container, with its excellent aeration and drainage, is ideal for tomatoes.
Also, try to make sure you water uniformly which will help avoid blossom end rot appearing.
Another point to remember is that Tomato plant roots are not the same from the top to the bottom. The surface roots are the key ones for absorbing nutrients. The lower roots are better at absorbing water.
Don’t feed too early, wait till the fruit has set and started to swell before you start to feed.
At that stage the plants will need more frequent watering to keep the soil moist, and once swelling has started, will require feeding with a liquid tomato fertiliser once a week.
Stake plants early and train the leader up by tying about every 6” or 15cm.
Cucumbers are also a warm-weather crop and should be planted when the soil temperature reaches about 65°F or 18°C.
They like well-drained soil rich in organic matter with a pH of 5.5-6.8. And remember, they are heavy feeders.
Cucumber plants are either vining varieties with long vines or bush varieties with shorter vines. Air-Pot containers are ideal for all the vining varieties so make sure you choose the right sort of support for the variety you want to grow. Growing cucumbers vertically increases production and saves space.
As the Air-Pot container is black it is great at absorbing any heat from the sun and provides fantastic drainage, which Cucumbers need.
In warmer areas seeds can be sown directly around the base of the trellis or stake, one inch (25 mm) deep. Thin to allow the most aggressive plant to take hold.
Train a primary runner to the stake and tie at 12-14 inch (30-36 cm) intervals like a tomato plant.
In colder areas or to kick off the season early, start seeds indoors. Sow two to three seeds 1/2 (12 mm) deep in a small pot. Thin to the strongest plant.
After hardening off, transplant into the Air-Pot container but be careful when transplanting, as cucumbers do not like their roots being disturbed.
Cucumbers are in fact, mostly water, so just like Tomatoes and Peppers they need plenty of watering.
There are several different types of pepper that do well in the greenhouse, including chilli peppers and sweet peppers and they will do even better in Air-Pot containers.
Peppers need a minimum temperature of 12°C (54°F) to grow properly. So while they can be grown outside, you’re more likely to succeed if you grow them undercover. If planted too early and the temperature is too cold the leaves will turn yellow after the first few weeks.
Like Cucumbers, Pepper seeds should be sown indoors in April. It’s easiest to sow the seed directly into a 1 Litre Air-Pot container or the Air-Pot propagation tray, and then transplant into either the 14 litre or 10 litre Air-Pot container.
Again don’t forget to water regularly. Like Tomatoes, Peppers are prone to blossom end rot and the best way to avoid it is uniform watering, difficult in hot weather but worth persisting with.
Most hot peppers and some sweet peppers require insect pollination to form fruit. If the proper insect is absent, or if the local insects are not attracted to your pepper flowers, you may see the plants flower and never set fruit. This is especially true for hot peppers grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Pollen is produced on the stamens, and usually ripens between noon and 3 PM every day. Take a small, moistened water-color paint brush, and pick up some pollen on your brush and transfer it to the other flower centers. You can get close to 100% fruit set with hand pollination.
As sweet peppers ripen they change colour from green to red, yellow, orange or dark purple and become sweeter.
Let hot chilli peppers ripen fully before harvesting. Mature fruits are red.
Aubergines, also known as egg plants, are related to peppers and tomatoes. They are usually dark purple, but some ornamental varieties are white or scarlet.
However they need a lot of warmth, more than tomatoes, so sow individual seeds into an 1 Litre Air-Pot container or the Air-Pot propagation tray in March. To help them to germinate, soak the seeds in warm water for a day.
Transplant into either the 14 litre or 10 litre Air-Pot container when about 10cm (4in) tall, and pinch out the growing tip to create a bushier plant.
Put in canes to support the growing plants and tie as they grow.
Remove the main tip/growing point when plants are 30cm (12in) high
Water regularly and feed with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruit has set. Mist the foliage regularly with tepid water to discourage red spider mite and to help flower set.
When five or six fruits have set, remove any other flowers as plants are unlikely to be able to support any more fruit.
You should be able to start harvesting from August onwards.
- For most greenhouse crops it is ideal to prepare your soil mix 2 or 3 weeks prior to planting.
- Fill in layers of about 100mm (4”) firming each layer well and ensuring that the cones are filled. You should be able to see the compost at the tip of all the cones from the outside.
- Dig a hole in your well firmed compost and ease the young plant out of the small container, trying not to disturb the root ball. Place it in the hole and backfill around the plant.
- All plants grown in any type of container will need more frequent watering to keep the soil moist and this is also the case with the Air-Pot growing system.
- They will benefit too from feeding with a general or specific fertilizer, such as TomatoRite, at least once a week after the first fruit appears.