Start your very own patio vegetable garden with these easy tips.
When it comes to a patio garden, most people picture a group of pots and planters with pretty, pleasantly scented flowers. But what if you planted a patio vegetable garden instead? Flowers are nice, but veggies are more practical!
Having the ability to grow your own food is handy, especially if some foods aren’t available at the supermarket.
With innovative pots and planters that have self-watering reservoirs, it’s easier than ever to grow fresh food right at your doorstep.
Whether you’ve got a roomy patio, a wide front stoop or a compact balcony, growing your own veggies is surprisingly easy.
A patio veggie garden will also allow you to utilise a collection of containers and elevated garden beds, meaning you won’t have to constantly bend over when watering, weeding and harvesting.
We’ve put together a few handy tips to help get you started on the road to a patio vegetable garden.
Carefully consider the location of your patio vegetable garden
There are a few things you need to consider when choosing a spot for your patio vegetable garden.
Does it get enough sun? To do well, most edible crops require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, especially tomatoes and peppers.
If you don’t have a spot that gets that much sunlight, consider growing salad greens, which do fine with fewer hours of sunlight.
Make sure you do you research and only plant veggies that will thrive in your patio conditions.
Keep in mind that your best spot for edible crops might actually be the frontdoor. By selecting functional, decorative planters and making careful plant choices, you can still have a front entry that is ornamental and edible.
Another key consideration is water. Make sure watering will be convenient and easy.
Even with self-watering planters, you will need to water frequently during the hottest parts of the summer. For larger planters, such as elevated raised beds, consider using soaker hose systems for thorough, efficient watering.
Choice of soil is also important
Many long-time gardeners say that soil is one of the most important parts of a successful garden. The same is true for gardens in pots and planters, but the approach is different.
Typical garden soil — even if it’s fertile — is not the best option for pots, planters and raised beds because it doesn’t drain well. To ensure good drainage, you need a planting mix that holds and releases moisture as your plants need it.
Typical potting soil is one option, but it’s better to choose a mix that’s designed for planters.
When vegetables are grown in pots and planters, regular fertilisation is crucial because most planting mixes are sterile. Start with a granular fertiliser that gets mixed into the soil and follow up with regular applications of a liquid fertiliser as your plants begin rapid growth.
Depending on the size of the planter, it’s a good idea to start each year with fresh planting mix.
With larger pots and planters, it might be impractical to replace the planting mix each year, so use a granular ‘booster’ that will recharge the existing mix with vital nutrients and soil conditioners.
Consider which containers to use
When selecting containers, you can start with just a few pots and add more each year until you have a clustered container garden, filled with fresh food all summer long!
Keep in mind that smaller pots will dry out frequently, so select planters that hold a decent amount of planting mix, roughly 30cm in diameter or larger.
Planters with self-watering reservoirs will help reduce watering frequency, and you can even convert ordinary pots to self-watering planters with a self-watering conversion kit. Whatever pot you choose, make sure it has drainage holes.
Another option is to start with elevated raised beds, where you can make use of square-foot gardening techniques. Because they are larger, you have more room to design an ornamental-edible garden.
You can also buy covers that protect your veggies from pests, disease, or intense sun, which will make your job so much easier!
There you have it – handy tips on starting a patio vegetable garden. Good luck, and happy eating!
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