Many people are interested in gardening, but think they don’t have the space for it. The good news is a large plot isn’t necessary—if you have a porch, patio, balcony or even a window box, you can grow a fantastic garden.
Recently we posted about soil for container crops, and we regularly share a lot of other tips and tricks for patio gardening on the Agriscaping website and YouTube channel. With spring right around the corner, it’s a great time to focus on what you can plant right now to make the most of the space you have.
There are more than 300 edible plants that can grow in full shade, but if your garden spot gets up to six hours of sun a day, you have even more options—especially this time of year, when evenings are cool and the days aren’t too hot. While just about anything will grow in containers on a porch, we’ve found that the following are easier to grow, easier to find and easier to maintain:
1. Herbs—A wide variety of herbs do well in containers; in fact, separate containers are ideal for ensuring your mint doesn’t overtake everything else. As The Spruce points out, containers also have fewer problems with weeds and pests. You can grow everything from basil to verbena in a few small pots.
2. Salsa ingredients and other vegetables—If you have three sizes of containers, you can grow a complete salsa garden on your patio. Tomatoes need a bigger container than peppers, and you can plant cilantro, chives and onions in smaller ones.
When it comes to tomatoes, hybrid bush variety plants that stay short and small are best for patios; I share other tomato growing secrets on YouTube, including the importance of starting with healthy soil to ensure your tomatoes thrive. Adding bone meal provides calcium that prevents blossom end rot or black spots on the bottom. Planting tomatoes early is also important, especially in Phoenix; most tomatoes stop pollinating when temperatures reach 95 degrees, so using starter plants instead of seeds to ensure a bumper crop.
3. Fruit—Strawberries are the obvious choice; that’s why garden centers sell strawberry pots. Raspberries and blueberries can also be grown in containers, as can citrus, pomegranate and fig trees, and even bananas. Each plant has different water and sunlight needs, so understanding your patio’s microclimates and choosing the right containers is essential.
So much more is possible for gardening on your patio than you realize! For additional ideas and tips, sign up for Agriscaping’s upcoming webinar on “Planning Your Spring Garden” on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:00 pm MST