Deck and Patio Gardening

deck and patio gardening tomatoes

Deck and patio gardening is practiced for threereasons: to grow food, to grow ornamental plants and flowers, and/or for shelter or privacy - trees, bushes, hedges, and vines.

Last year I grew tomatoes in four large pots in a sunny spot at the edge of our deck. In late April I bought four 18” plastic pots with trays, and filled them with potting soil. Then I added a variety of tomato plants purchased in 4” containers. Starting in late June, the fresh, ripe tomatoes were a special treat all summer long.

Besides tomatoes and flowers, I grew spearmint, peppermint, basil and parsley. The mints were excellent in iced tea, and the basil and parsley were tasty in salads and sandwiches. By the end of August our outdoor living area felt a little like a jungle.

Gardening on your deck and/or patio can take many forms, from half a barrel planted with flowers to an outdoor room with shade cover and plantings that provide privacy. Before you invest time and money, take some time to evaluate your space:

*Will you plant directly into the ground, a raised bed or do you need containers?

*Do you have shelter or will you need to create shelter?

*What is the condition of your existing soil?

*How much sunlight is available? And how much water is available?

Container gardens are very versatile, you can grow flowers, vegetables, bushes, vines--even trees. A raised bed is a good choice when you are growing plants that require lots of maintenance, or your have poor soil and drainage problems. And, in-ground gardening, usually around the fringes of your deck, is best for growing trees or privacy-type plants.

There are three factors that affect plants: sunlight, moisture and soil content.

Some plants need lots of sunlight, while others will die from too much exposure to the sun. Some plants need lots of moisture, and other plants will thrive with very little moisture.

If you are planting in pots, I recommend purchasing potting soil amended with organic elements that will support your plants for optimum growth and survival.

When planting directly into the ground or a raised bed, it is important to know what type of soil you are planting into. You may need to amend the soil with organic material in order to retain moisture, or improve drainage.

Whether you grow edibles to enjoy with your meals, flowers for beauty or shade for comfort, deck and patio gardening is a very rewarding activity.