Grow vegetables on your patio to enjoy the benefits of fresh and healthy produce. Despite the small space, a patio vegetable garden yields a large amount of produce. The key to a successful patio vegetable garden includes using the right sized planters, good quality potting soil and types of vegetables suited for container gardening. With the correct amounts of sunlight, water and fresh air, your vegetable garden will thrive and yield a healthy bounty at the end of the season.
Arrange the containers over the patio before filling them with soil. Place them next to each other in a spot that receives plenty of sunlight, along with some afternoon shade. Depending on your budget and personal taste, use standard plastic planters or tubs, or self-watering Earth boxes and planters that contain a water reservoir at the base. Make sure the regular planters have adequate drainage holes in the bottom, or drill them if necessary.
Fill each container with good quality potting mix until 2 inches below the rim. This type of potting mix contains vermiculite and peat, and is commercially available in local nurseries and garden supply centers. Improve fertility by adding one part compost to two parts potting mix.
Dig holes in the potting mix with a stick or hand shovel, and lower the roots of vegetable seedlings into them. If planting seeds, follow label directions on each packet for appropriate depth and spacing. Label each planter and note the date of planting to help determine when to harvest.
Water the planter to ensure the soil is evenly moist. For Earth boxes, pour water into the reservoir until the indicated line.
Inspect the vegetables frequently to ensure they are disease and pest free. Water the soil everyday to prevent it from going dry, specially during the summer months. Support vegetables such as beans, peas, tomatoes and peppers with wooden stakes as they grow to ensure they remain upright. Spray mild insecticidal soapy solution over the plants to deter pests such as aphids and spider mites.
Things You Will Need
- Potting mix
- Vegetable seedlings
- Watering can
- Spray bottle
- Insecticidal soapy solution
- Growing vegetables from seeds take longer to harvest than those started from seedlings. Whatever you choose, make sure it is a "container" variety.
- Besides standard-sized vegetables, select dwarf vegetables to grow in your patio vegetable garden. These vegetables provide ample produce without taking too much space because they do not grow too tall or wide.
- Dwarf vegetables include mini corn, "Toy Choi" cabbage, Tom Thumb peas and Baby Bubba okra.
- Cabbage, spinach, parsley and lettuce require more shade than onions, turnips, beets and radishes. Cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers require the most sunlight.
- Select containers in accordance with the vegetables you wish to grow. Use a 5-gallon container for large vegetables like eggplants and tomatoes.
- Improve drainage by lining the base of each planter with gravel or broken crockery.
- Avoid dark-colored containers that absorb and retain the heat of the sun, thus damaging plant roots. Paint dark containers a lighter color prior to planting.
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