Living in an apartment, with no space for a yard or garden, should not prevent you from having your own patio vegetable garden. It doesn’t matter if you have just enough space for a few small pots, because that is all you need to start your very own veggie garden today. You will need a few essential things, and so will your soon-to-be plants. To learn more about how to make a patio vegetable garden, continue reading this complete guide.
Select a Location
As discussed above, you might not have much choice about where your patio vegetable garden will go. There are some things that your plants will absolutely need, however, as they might not be able to grow properly without them. Firstly, sunlight is essential, as plants need it to live and grow. If you can only access an area with a small amount of sunlight, you might still be able to plant your garden – but your vegetables could suffer as a result, and be rather weak. Your goal here is to find a spot that will give your plants sunlight throughout much of the day. If you are in an extremely hot area, you might not need quite so much sunlight.
Choose Your Pots
This is a very fun step, as you can use your choice of pots to bring some color and fun to your patio. The most important thing finding containers that will allow you to get the largest possible harvest, from as small an amount of space as possible. If you can find special window boxes, they are a great choice; they can keep a reservoir of water inside them, and this will stop your plants from becoming dry too quickly. Typically, people like to buy pots made of clay, but those will absorb your vegetable’s water, and make your job of keeping them hydrated a lot more difficult. Recycled plastics are an ideal material for patio vegetable garden pots.
Remember that a bigger pot is going to allow your vegetables more space to grow, and that will lead to a bigger yield when it comes to to harvest. You will also need to water less often, as there is more space for moisture to collect. Consider how far down the roots of your vegetables will need to grow, and then allow at least two more inches to the bottom of your pots.
Whatever pots you choose, make sure that they have some sort of drainage holes built in, or you will need to add them yourself. This will allow the moisture in your soil to slowly be released, and a flow of air to be created, so that you do not end up with bad soil.
Consider Stackable Pots
If you really want to maximize the amount that you can grow in your patio vegetable garden, think about using a stacking system. You can install a pole for your pots to attach to, but many patios already have railings and poles as part of their construction.
What to Grow in Your Patio Vegetable Garden
There are plenty of easy vegetables to grow in pots, but you should think about your specific situation and climate. If space is really an issue, it is probably a bad idea to grow larger plants. Also, if you plan to grow fruit, remember that fruit trees often need at least five hours of good sunlight each day, and that’s just the minimum.
Are you planning to plant something that you can buy easily, and cheaply at your local market? It might be a great hobby, but also a waste of your time and resources. Think about the types of vegetables that you would love to eat regularly, but simply cannot afford, or don’t have access too. On the other hand, if something is not available in your region, it could be because it doesn’t grow well there.
Some seeds will need to be kept in seeding pots before they can be planting in your patio vegetable garden. If this is the case, it might be easiest to just buy already grown seedlings, and then plant those yourself. This might rob you of a little of the satisfaction from growing something from scratch, but will take much less time and effort. Beginner vegetable growers often have trouble getting seeds to successfully sprout into seedlings, and this can be discouraging.
When to Plant
Timing is always important for growing a patio vegetable garden. If you try to plant something just before winter, you might find that the weather becomes too cold. Luckily, there is generally a choice of plants that you can grow, for any season. This really depends on where you live, and what the weather is like.
Growing Your Vegetables
After you have planted your patio vegetable garden, it will need regular watering. The best time of day to do this is the morning. That will allow the soil and leaves to become dry during the day. You should avoid allowing the leaves of your vegetables to stay wet throughout the night, as it will provide water for insects, and they might transmit unwanted nasties to your plants.
You should water every one of your pots until water starts to build up in the reservoir, or it leaks from the bottom of the pot’s holes. That is where you should stop, because over-watering can be just as bad as under-watering. The idea is to feed your plants with the water that they need – not to drown them. If you water nicely and deeply, as mentioned above, your plants will need watering less often, saving you time and effort.
If you want to use fertilizer, use something that dissolves in water, so it can be poured into your soil effectively. This will less all of that goodness get right into your roots as quickly as possible. This should not be done more than once every eight weeks. Remember that fertilizers are often dangerous to people, and even pets, so you should not leave them lying around.