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.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.Watering is always the biggest maintenance task when growing a patio vegetable garden.Many vegetables produce better when regularly harvested, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. .

10 Best Vegetables for Container Gardens

If you are buying tomato seedlings, look for short, stocky plants that do not have blossoms yet.Keep in mind the larger the tomato variety the bigger the pot it will require. .

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. .

Everything You Need to Know About Container Gardening

In addition to growing flowers, gardeners limited to a balcony, small yard, or only a patch of sun on their driveway can produce a wide variety of vegetable crops in containers.Basil, chives, thyme, and other herbs also are quite happy growing in pots, which can be set in a convenient spot right outside the kitchen door.Houseplants summering outdoors in the shade also make a handsome addition to container gardening.Window boxes and hanging baskets offer even more ways to add instant color and appeal.Containers planted with a single species — rosemary or a bold variegated ornamental grass, for example — can be stunning garden accents.The best combinations depend on plants that feature handsome foliage and flowers produced over a long bloom season.One easy guideline for choosing the plants to combine in a container is to include "a thriller, a spiller, and a filler.".That's because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and resists rapid temperature fluctuations.Small hanging baskets are especially prone to drying out, and during hot summer weather, you may have to water them twice a day to keep plants alive.Consider the size and shape of a plant's root system; whether it is a perennial, annual, or shrub; and how rapidly it grows.Rootbound plants, which have filled up every square inch of the soil available, dry out rapidly and won't grow well.If your container garden is located on a balcony or deck, be sure to check how much weight the structure will safely hold.Clay or terracotta containers are attractive but breakable and easily damaged by freezing and thawing.In Northern areas, most need to be stored in a frost-free location to prevent cracking and are not suitable for hardy perennials or shrubs that will be kept outdoors year-round.Choose sturdy and somewhat flexible containers and avoid thin, stiff ones — they become brittle with cold or age.Polyurethane foam containers resist chipping and cracking and also insulate roots against both hot and cold temperatures, making them a good choice for potting up plants that will stay outside year-round.Instead, prevent soil from washing out by placing a layer of paper towel or newspaper over the holes before adding mix.If your container is too deep, you can put a layer of gravel or Styrofoam in the bottom to reduce the amount of potting soil required.For larger containers, use a relatively coarse soilless planting mixture to maintain the needed water and air balance.If you are growing fragrant plants, such as heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), place containers in a site protected from breezes, which will disperse the perfume.Use your imagination and combine upright and trailing plants, edibles, and flowers for pleasing and colorful effects.When designing permanent containers, remember that the plants will be less hardy than usual because their roots are more exposed to fluctuating air temperature.Dwarf or bush forms of larger vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash are most suited to container gardening.Or plant a container with edible flowers such as marigolds, pansies (Viola × wittrockiana), and nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus).Geraniums, marigolds, wax begonias, coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), scarlet sage (Salvia splendens), and flowering tobacco (Nicotiana spp.).Ornamental grasses are great in container gardening, too, as are dwarf conifers and small shrubs.To keep mixed pots attractive, dig out or cut back any plants that don't grow well or that clash.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .

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