In the most basic sense a VegTrug is a container big enough to grow plants in. The reality is that they are a space-saving extra slice of garden with perfect soil that also looks great. The bragging rights are massive when your friends are introduced to an overflowing VegTrug. It just looks the business.
There are different types of VegTrug to choose from depending on your taste, gardening enthusiasm and budget. The original is a V-shaped wooden container on legs, but more recent additions include two tiered options, lighter material-based movable trugs, smaller ones for kids (these are very cute), and ornate Trugs with decorative aluminium sides for the gardener who has everything.
VegTrugs also come with accessories that are essential for serious gardening. This includes a cold frame lid, fleece or net covers, and even trellis designed to fit.
Although these beauties are called VegTrugs you don’t have to plant veggies. If you prefer flowers fill it up as you please. Daffodils, salvias, lavenders, dicentra, and pansies – all manner of bedding plants and smaller shrubs look great in a VegTrug.
How To Use A VegTrug
A VegTrug is purposely V-shaped, so you can place deeper-rooted plants in the centre and shallow ones around the edge. So for example tomatoes, onions, beetroot, peas, peppers, cucumbers and carrots in the V section, and then shallow-rooted strawberries, herbs, lettuce, radish, and golf-ball carrots like Paris Market Baron, around the edges.
If you fancy trailing cherry tomatoes place them at the ends of the centre section (the short edges), so the foliage has room to fall over the sides. This technique works well because the deeper soil will help steady roots, but fruits can trail over the edge and dangle above the snails.
Don’t plant tall veggies like runner beans because you won’t be able to reach them. There are frames and trellis available for climbers, but make sure you can easily reach your produce without a ladder. You can’t go wrong with a dwarf runner bean called Hestia snuggled down in a VegTrug.
Pros of a VegTrug
You’ll need to fill a VegTrug with fresh soil so this means no weeds, no stones, no parasites and, if you don’t like them, no worms. New fresh soil means there’s plenty of nutrients for plants to thrive on.
VegTrugs are great for folk with mobility difficulties. Older gardeners and those with mobility restrictions can use a waist height VegTrug much more easily than the ground. Gardening is good exercise and a relaxing hobby, so it makes sense to keep doing it for as long as possible. And let’s face it, we all get backache after bending over in the garden no matter what age we are.
VegTrugs are a great starting point for new gardeners who feel a bit nervous about digging up their lawn and want to start small scale. It’s as clean as gardening gets. VegTrugs are contained and ‘safe’ so newbies probably won’t come face to face with a millipede.
Many of us have small gardens, and there just isn’t enough space to hold all the plants we want, that’s why allotment waiting lists are so long (sort it out, government!). VegTrugs give you extra space.
If you are renting a house you can still have a lovely garden without losing your entire security deposit.
VegTrugs warm up quickly when the sun finally decides to visit, so you can begin growing that bit earlier. Place your VegTrug against a sunny facing wall. The sun will heat up the bricks and provide extra warmth. Chase sunlight around your garden with the lighter material-based VegTrugs that are easy to lift.
If you are a fair weather gardener you can put your Trug away for the winter. If you are hardcore (come on now, rain doesn’t hurt!) you can grow some Christmas sprouts, cabbages and purple sprouting in the winter months, just keep them in the centre section and harvest before springtime seeds need a home.
Cat and ground borne pests find it harder to use a VegTrug as a toilet or buffet. Snails and slugs will try, but Vaseline or copper tape around the edges will stop them.
VegTrugs might look a bit small when you have grand plans, but it’s possible to plant closely and maximise space. Use a great soil, top it up with organic matter and regularly use a liquid feed. Plants are hungry creations and when they aren’t in the ground they use up nutrients quickly.
Cons of a Veg Trug
You’ll be pleased to hear there are fewer cons than pros.
VegTrugs are more expensive than digging up an area of lawn for free, but then turning lawn into a vegetable patch or flower border requires space and a few weekends of hard labour.
The large VegTrugs are big and heavy, and I mean really heavy, once they are full, so seriously consider where yours will live because you won’t be shifting it without the help of a piano removal firm.
Watering is the perennial problem for container gardening. You will need a watering routine for a healthy VegTrug. One problem I’ve found is that although the V-shape is great for root depth, it means you potentially drown out deeper-rooted plants by frequently watering the shallow-rooted edge ones.
You can add some water-retaining capsules to keep soil damp and dig in some manure as this retains moisture. Compost dries out very quickly on its own. Think about mulching the surface with bark to seal in moisture once you’ve planted up.
Water runs freely from a VegTrug base. They have a liner to keep the soil in but let water out, so although they look really smart don’t place one on your jet-washed patio or perfectly oiled decking because you’ll have dirty water pouring from the base each time you water it. A good idea is to put a VegTrug somewhere suitable for watering and place a growbag full of cut and come again lettuce beneath it. They love shade and will appreciate the second hand water.
Overall VegTrugs are a useful addition especially if you have a small garden with a lot of hard-standing. The pose factor is huge, they look very smart and once filled with growing veggies you’ll resemble a master gardener with minimal effort. The only drawback is the watering if you go on holiday.
VegTrugs are a good investment in my opinion, as are any types of containers, even simple plastic tubs you can fill with space hungry potatoes. If you have time to water and feed a Vegtrug, and you don’t have the ground space they are well worth the effort. For older people and mobility impaired folk they can be sanity savers. Pop one on your Christmas list this year.