If you love the taste of farm stand fresh fruits and veggies and can’t believe the increase in produce prices at the grocery store, you may be thinking of starting a garden. Good for you! But if you have a small yard or don’t want to dig up a chunk of your lawn, you can create a patio garden. You can also create this type of garden on a deck or balcony.
People who have been gardening for years will tell you how much fun it is to watch a vegetable plant grow, flower, and have the flower turn into a tomato, cucumber, hot pepper, or some other tasty treat. And you can’t get any fresher than picking produce on the patio and bringing it in to be part of dinner.
But how do you get started? Read on for some tips.
1. Decide if You’ll Use Pots, Raised Beds, or Both
Since you’re not digging into your yard, you’ll need to decide how you’ll plant your garden. Some people like to use a lot of pots. Raised beds are nice too, and you can avoid a lot of bending and stooping. Plus, there are a ton of kits out there that make it easy to build raised beds.
Or you may decide on a combination of the two. You could use raised beds for most of your patio garden, but keep an invasive herb like mint in a pot so it doesn’t spread everywhere. Or buy one of those strawberry pots to grow strawberries in. And remember you can add a trellis or poles to large pots or a raised bed to train climbing plants on.
2. Decide Where to Put the Garden
By this, we mean where physically to have your patio garden. If you have a very small patio, this may not mean much. But if you have a large patio where half of it is in shade most of the day, you don’t want to have your garden there. Most garden vegetables and herbs need 6-8 hours of sun each day. You’ll also want to have your garden where you can easily reach it with your hose.
If the sun moves from one side of your patio to the other, consider adding wheels to your raised beds or plant dollies under your pots so you can move them easily to ensure they get the sun they need.
3. Fill Your Raised Beds and Pots with the Right Soil
Your patio garden plants need rich soil with plenty of nutrients. To get started, consider using a mixture of compost (if you have it) and MiracleGro All Purpose Garden Soil. Don’t use regular potting soil like you would for indoor plants. You may need to amend the soil each yere, or completely change it out, depending on what you’re growing.
4. Choose What to Plant
You probably had an idea of what you wanted to grow before you started planning your patio garden. Taking your sun conditions and tastes into account, choose your plants. You should consider getting compact versions of plants. Some varieties will even have the word “patio” in the name. Read the description of how big the plant will get, and choose another variety if a plant will overwhelm your space.
5. Care for Your Patio Garden
Pay attention to planting instructions. They’re there for a reason. Don’t plant something too deep. For beginners who want immediate gratification, buy plants at a local nursery/garden center. Water your garden as directed, being careful not to overwater. If it rains for 2-3 days in a row, your garden needs a few days before it will need water again.
6. Enjoy the Harvest
When the first tomato or cucumber ripens, enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you did everything right, you’ll have lots more on the way! For vegetables such as lettuce, and herbs such as basil, don’t harvest too much at one time. But know that the more you harvest, the more those plants will grow.
Dream It. Build It. Live It.
If you’re looking to upgrade your patio or landscape design, or maybe even add a pool, we can help. We design and install luxury outdoor living spaces our clients love. Use the contact form to schedule an on-site consultation or call 301.720.1000. We work with homeowners in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia.