Growing a Bountiful Harvest on a Patio
At National Garden Bureau, we like to encourage those who think they have a brown thumb to attempt gardening, even if on a small scale. And what better way to start than with produce grown in easy-to-manage containers on your own patio!
Container growing offers many benefits, not the least of which is that you can put a ‘garden’ just about anywhere. Balconies on a highrise building can become urban gardens and a backyard deck or patio becomes a produce garden at your fingertips. The top vegetable breeders that are members of National Garden Bureau are encouraging this trend by breeding smaller, more compact varieties that still are prolific producers.
Without a doubt, container gardens will require less weeding than their in-ground counterparts. This makes them ideal for busy people who love gardening and fresh food but have limited time. However, watering container gardens has to be monitored more closely. Smaller gardens in hot sun can dry out quickly and even a gentle summer breeze will wick moisture from plants. Be prepared to water daily or even twice daily during long, hot, dry spells.
As for supplies, the shopping list is small:
* Appropriately sized container (bigger is usually better)
* Good quality growing medium
* Young plants or seeds
* Your desired choice of fertilizer or plant food
* Stakes or cages if growing tall or vining edibles
After that, with a little sun, a little water and a little patience, you’ll soon have fresh delicious vegetables and herbs, even fruit, at your back door (or front door!). We always feel a little like Martha Stewart when we can step out the back door, snip a few herbs, grab a handful of tomatoes and a pepper or two then go back inside to continue with our meal preparation.
Helpful tips from NGB and our members:
Tips on selecting the right container can be found here from National Garden Bureau.
Johnny’s Seeds has a blog post about mixing vegetables herbs and flowers all in the same container for a very trendy look.
Burpee has this assortment of vegetables selected explicitly for containers. They also offer these tips on which herbs and vegetables grow well together.
A large selection of suitable containers can be found here from Gardener’s Supply as well as a helpful selection of self-watering containers for vegetables.
American Meadows offers a hanging garden, perfect for lettuce or strawberries, to utilize wall space.
Botanical Interests offers some tips for growing vegetables in shady areas as well as a container vegetable seed collection.
For more reading, here are some great books on growing vegetables from St. Lynn’s Press:
No Nonsense Vegetable Gardening by Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs
Plants with Benefits by Helen Yoest
The 20-30 Something Garden Guide by Dee Nash
Tomatoes Garlic Basil by Doug Oster
For more on growing container edibles, click here for the “Veggies in Containers” article from NGB.
For proven performers, check our these AAS Winners perfect for growing in containers:
Basil Dolce Fresca
Cucumber Parisian Gherkin
Cucumber Pick a Bushel
Eggplant Patio Baby
Pepper Pretty N Sweet
Happy Gardening, Cooking, and Eating!