An increasing number of homeowners are combining two of this summer’s hottest home and garden trends — outdoor living spaces and fresh-food gardening — to create thriving deck gardens full of fresh vegetables.
If you’ve sacrificed most of your yard to build the deck you’ve always wanted, or if you’d like to try growing vegetables without kneeling in the dirt, consider the advantages of using some of your deck space for a container garden.
- You don’t have to worry about soil quality or chemicals that have seeped into your lawn.
- If your plants aren’t getting enough sun, you can simply move them. This is especially helpful with sunlight-dependant veggies such as tomatoes.
- You can bring them indoors for winter.
Tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, broccoli and many other veggies can all thrive in pots. Here are some deck gardening tips to help you get started:
Choose the right containers. Use pots that are big enough to support the plants when they are fully grown — the deeper the better. It’s also a good idea to stick with containers that are more than a foot wide, at minimum. For a guide to pot sizes based on what veggies you’re planting, check out the University of Arizona’s container vegetable gardening fact sheet. Make sure your pots have adequate drainage and have never contained any toxic chemicals.
Use quality soil. Don’t just scoop up some soil from your lawn, as a container environment can exaggerate the bad qualities of your soil. Select a light potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer for best results.
Think vertically. Erect small trellises to support vine vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini.
Mix flowers with your vegetables. Not only can you achieve some eye-catching combos, but the flowers will often continue looking pretty after your veggie plants have died. Some combos to try include lettuce with rosemary, broccoli with viola, and cucumbers with coleus and begonias, suggests ABC News.
Here’s an instructional video on container gardening from the University of Minnesota:
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