She combines her love of good food with a background in fine art to create kitchen garden designs that turn work into play.With innovative pots and planters that have self-watering reservoirs, it's easier than ever to grow fresh food right at your doorstep, whether it's a roomy patio, a wide front stoop or a compact balcony.Instead of digging a garden in the earth, plant a crazy quilt of herbs, flowers and vegetables in a collection of containers.By using elevated raised beds — where the planting surface is several feet off the ground — you can water, weed and harvest without bending over.By selecting functional, decorative planters and making careful plant choices, you can still have a front entry that is ornamental and edible.For larger planters, such as elevated raised beds, consider using soaker hose systems for thorough, efficient watering.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.When vegetables are grown in pots and planters, regular fertilization is crucial because most planting mixes are fairly sterile.Depending on the size of the planter, it's a good idea to start each year with fresh planting mix.Make a list of "succession crops" by season — early, midseason and late — so you know when to sow seeds.Choose crops that grow quickly from seed, such as basil, dill, chervil, mesclun greens or nasturtiums.Keep in mind that smaller pots will dry out frequently, so select to planters that hold at decent amount of planting mix, roughly 12 inches in diameter or larger.Many of the beds are designed to accommodate frames and covers that protect crops from pests, disease or intense sun.Trough VegTrug: Place this near a sunny dooryard and fill with aromatic culinary herbs, such as cilantro, dill, basil, sage, thyme, tarragon, parsley and chervil.Grow Bags are available in several sizes, designed to fit various crops, including tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. .

Patio Vegetable Garden Setup and Tips to Get Growing

If you’re looking for a way to grow food that doesn’t involve a half acre of land and a strong back, consider setting up a patio vegetable garden.All you need to start growing today is a sunny spot on a relatively level surface, some containers, potting soil, and the right veggies.In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of setting up and maintaining a patio vegetable garden of your own.As a horticulturist, I grow dozens of containers filled with veggies on my patio every season, but there’s no need to create something so extensive.Thankfully, patio vegetable gardening isn’t super expensive, nor does it require a ton of labor beyond the initial set up.Yes, you will have to care for your plants all season long (more on how to do this in a bit), but maintenance is minimal when compared to an in-ground garden.That means when seeking out the ideal site for a patio vegetable garden, choose a location that receives a minimum of 8 hours of full sun per day.Feel free to set up the garden on a porch, deck, driveway, parking pad, or patio.Leafy green vegetables, like lettuce, kale, and chard, and some root crops, like carrots and radish, grow fine with as little as 4 to 6 hours of sun.However, if you’d like to grow heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squash, you’ll want to choose the sunniest spot possible.Use wheeled planters and pot dollies to move the containers from one side of the patio to the other each day to increase their light exposure.Another feature to be on the lookout for when choosing where to put your patio vegetable garden is a water source.10-15 gallons minimum for each extra-large vegetable, such as full-sized indeterminate tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, and artichokes.This includes peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, dwarf blueberry bushes, cucumbers, summer squash/zucchini, and bush-type winter squash varieties.This includes kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, chard, collards, spinach, true micro tomatoes, and other greens.Making my own potting soil for my patio vegetable garden saves me a lot of money every year.Once you’ve decided where to place your garden and what you’ll grow, it’s time to get creative!Patio vegetable gardens can be really beautiful when planted in gorgeous colorful pots.Fill the pots and then stack them on top of each other to create a tiered food fountain for a corner of the patio or deck.Fill the pots with a mixture of edible greens, herbs, and compact tomato and pepper varieties.If you’re on a budget, consider growing your patio vegetable garden in repurposed milk crates.To grow multiple layers and maximize space, stack the crates checkerboard-style to create a “wall” of vegetable plants.They come in a range of sizes and have a removable drain plug so you don’t have to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.Each stock tank can house multiple plants and become a patio vegetable garden in just an hour or two.Once your patio containers have been planted, it doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax.Many vegetables produce better when regularly harvested, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. .

10 Things to Consider When Balcony Gardening

If you have access to a balcony, rooftop, terrace, or patio, you can still grow a wide range of veggies, herbs, perennials, flowers, and vines in containers!Some buildings don’t allow any plants on balconies or only allow flowers (as vegetables may attract birds or pests).Does your balcony face south and receive DIRECT sun all day long?If your balcony faces north or is shaded by other buildings for most of the day, look to low-light plants such as coleus, ferns, impatiens, hostas, and begonias.Some greens like chard, spinach, or lettuce can grow with less than a half day of sun.Keep in mind that most veggies need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun a day to really grow well and produce!Get double-duty from a lattice or wire trellis that can block prevailing winds while providing support for climbing vines, too.Expose them gradually to their new location to avoid sun and wind burn on the leaves.Just one pot of alocasia, banana, or canna can impart a jungle feel to the space.If you have space, add a table and chairs and enjoy sitting among the greenery.If your location is too noisy, a burbling fountain or some wind chimes may help add a bit of soothing sound to the background noise.Arrange beds and larger containers around the outside edges to define the space and spread out the load.You probably won’t be able to grow enough food to meet all your needs, but some pole beans, a pot of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and a pepper plant or two will give you a fresh taste of summer.Fertilize, deadhead, and pinch back leggy plants to keep them in bounds and encourage bushiness.Turn coffee tins into cute containers (poking holes in the bottom).Don’t forget a container or hanging basket filled with your favorite herbs.Start small and see how tending those plants fits into your schedule; you can always add more.Limited space and time can be challenging but a bit of planning this winter will go a long way toward making your tiny garden a big success next summer. .

Small-Space Garden Ideas Perfect for Your Patio or Windowsill

In fact, choosing plants that are nourishing, delicious, and beautiful is the ultimate way to maximize limited space, and that's true whether you're working with one little window box or several large containers on your patio."Plant breeders have been focused on developing new varieties for small spaces in recent years, so even some of your classic favorites like hydrangeas, crapemyrtle, and sweetspire [are available]," says Ryan McEnany, public relations and communications specialist for Bailey Nurseries. .

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