Journal

Small Space Container Garden

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Limited outdoor space should never discourage you from growing fresh vegetables and herbs. With container gardening, you can transform your deck or patio into a mini garden.

Whether you have limited space or just need the convenience of growing fresh vegetables and herbs close to your grill, container gardening offers a practical and efficient solution.

By using containers and vertical gardening techniques, I transformed a small, previously under-utilized area on my deck into an attractive and convenient green oasis. This area is now full of my favorite meal ingredients just steps away from where I prepare my meals.

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Having fresh vegetables and herbs readily available while cooking has encouraged me to create new and exciting recipes for my family. Whether it’s harvesting basil leaves for a homemade pesto or tossing freshly picked tomatoes and lettuce leaves to make a quick salad, the convenience of having a garden just steps away from my grill has made cooking a much more enjoyable experience.

fallcolor05pptMaintaining a small space garden is surprisingly simple and requires minimal effort. Planting in containers allows for better control over soil quality, watering, sunlight needs, and pest management.

My containers are conveniently located near a water source. I can easily tend to my plants when watering and fertilizing. My pots are placed on rolling plant caddies for drainage. They allow me to move my pots around the deck for easier harvest and ensure they receive adequate sunlight.

Beyond practicality and convenience, small space container gardening adds a touch of beauty to my outdoor space. Arranging pots of ornamental or edible flowers around the vegetables helps to deter pests while attracting beneficial pollinators. The vibrant colors of the vegetables, herbs, and flower blooms in combination with their lush foliage create a visually appealing garden oasis.

image2What can you grow in containers? Many vegetables are suitable. Peppers, both sweet and hot, thrive in the confined space of containers and benefit from the increased heat, resulting in faster growth and increased yields. Many varieties of tomatoes are well – suited for growing in containers. Compact or dwarf varieties are the obvious choice, but I have had amazing results with full size, indeterminate tomatoes. I provide them with an appropriately sized container, a sufficient support system, and I practice proper pruning techniques, all which allow me to enjoy harvesting tomatoes all season long. In fact, it is the only way I can grow many of the heirloom varieties that aren’t readily available in my local market. Since heirloom varieties do not have natural disease resistance, providing them with adequate air flow helps prevent the spread of diseases. Planting them in containers allows them plenty of space.

Rfallcolor05pptadishes are quick growing, can be harvested in a few weeks, and don’t require a lot of growing space so are perfect in containers.

Carrots prefer loose, well-draining soil that is free from rocks and clumps. I plant short varieties with the quickest day to maturity. I provide them with a deep container, at least 12” deep and 24” long to allow enough space for the roots to grow long and straight.

image2In the spring I plant lettuce, spinach, kale, and swiss chard in deep window box containers and when they start to bolt in the heat of summer, I clear them away and use those same containers and plant bush beans.

I love knowing that my container garden is sustainable and environmentally friendly. By growing some of my own vegetables and herbs, I reduce my reliance on store bought produce, which often comes with excessive packaging and transportation concerns. Additionally, I can control the use of pesticides and fertilizers, opting for organic and sustainable practices so my garden is not only good for me but for the planet.

image2Embrace the beauty and convenience of small space container gardening and watch as your patio or deck evolve into a flourishing haven of nature’s bounty.

Ask our team how we can transform your patio or deck into a thriving oasis of fresh produce and aromatic herbs.

Text and photos by Christine George, Director of Garden Care at Sweetgum Horticulture. Copyright Sweetgum Horticulture 2024.

 

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