The advantages of container gardening
Containers can be sited close to the classroom, reducing problems of supervision
They are small and maneagable so children can care for them easily and even take them home for the holidays
Smaller containers can be started indoors and transferred outside when the weather improves
Containers that are accessible for everyone can be used
Growing in containers enables you to grow plants that are unsuitable for your school soil, such as blueberries that need ericaceous (acid) soil
Containers can brighten up an area or be used to disguise 'eyesores'
There is less chance of pest damage in containers
The disadvantages of container gardening
Containers can dry out easily so need watering and feeding more frequently
They are easy for intruders to steal
Only small quantities of vegetables can be grown in containers, so match the size of the crop to the container
Pots can restrict plant growth. This can also be an advantage making some plants a more manageable size
Vegetables to grow in containers
Carrot Short varieties are best such as 'Rondo' and 'Paris Market'
Lettuce Mixed leaves, Lambs lettuce. Start in late March and sow thinly. Cut as soon as the leaves are a reasonable size (5-6cm)
Onion 'White Lisbon', 'Purplette' Sow thinly between other crops
Peas 'Early Onward', Sugar snap Sow in a circle and make a wigwam with canes
Potato 'Pink fir apple' Plant mid to late March,'Charlotte' chit from mid March ready to plant in April, 15cm deep at the bottom of a container. Cover leaves with compost as they emerge and be sure to protect leaves from late frost.
Summer Cabbage 'Greyhound', 'Minicole' Plant out after about 4 weeks, 30cm apart. (Protect from pigeons and other birds!)
Tomatoes - Hanging basket variety 'Tumbling Toms', bush variety 'Red Alert', 'Montello'
Beetroot 'Detroit', 'Boltardy', 'Forono'
French climbing beans 'Goldfield', 'Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco 2'
Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'
Courgette 'All Green Bush'
Squash 'Turks Turban'
Herbs, strawberries and many edible flowers are also suitable for growing in containers.
Please note: Tomatoes, french beans, courgettes, pumpkin and squash are all tender and will not survive frost - remember to watch out for the weather and protect them as young plants.