How to create a vegetable garden on your patio or deck in 5 easy steps

garden update  - july 27
Often, going off to college means leaving many of the comforts of home behind. It can also mean leaving behind some of the things that you love to do and checking your healthy eating habits at the door. If you’re lucky enough to have an apartment, or even a patio off the back of your dormitory, you can create a lovely container vegetable garden just outside your door.
Here’s how to create a vegetable garden on your patio or deck in 5 easy steps:

1. Location

To grow a proper vegetable garden, you’ll need enough sunlight. Spend a few days studying the way the sun falls onto your deck or patio. Are there areas of the patio that receive sunlight for the better part of the day? Are there areas of the patio that spend the majority of time in the shade? By knowing where the light falls, you’ll know the best places to set your pots and other containers.

2. Containers

The next step is to choose containers. If you have a flea market near campus, or even a discount store, you can find some great containers that wouldn’t normally be used for plants. Stock pots, barrels and even large baskets can all make great containers. If you have a garden store nearby, ask if they have any scratch and dent containers that you can buy at a discount. A cracked terracotta pot will still hold your vegetables and you can often turn the pot to hide the crack.

patio garden, may 18

3. Select Your Plants

Choose plants that will fit in the containers you’ve chosen. Bush plants, like cucumbers, will need larger, wider pots than vertical plants like green beans and tomatoes. If you are unsure what plants will fit into your containers, jot down the dimensions of your pots and take them with you to the nursery. The gardening experts can help you pick the best plants for the containers you have.

4. Potting Soil

Growing a great garden takes great soil; be sure to choose correctly! Manufacturers have made it easier than ever to choose the perfect soil for your garden. Look on the front of the bag and make sure the soil is labeled for vegetables and not grass or shrubs. Soils that are made for vegetable gardens are infused with the nutrients your plants will need, making your garden a virtually effortless undertaking.

5. Plant and Place

Once you’ve got all of your supplies, it’s time to plant your vegetable garden! Head outside, put a few inches of soil into each container, gently set a plant into each and then fill the rest with soil. If your pots are slightly too tall, take up some space in their bottoms with polystyrene pellets or limestone.
When you’ve got your containers ready, decide on their placement. Be sure to put plants that will be taller behind plants that will be shorter so as to not hinder the sunlight from reaching the shorter plants.
Growing a container vegetable  garden on your patio is quite simple. If you’ve got the time for watering, and occasional pruning, you’ve got the time to grow a garden. You may find that you start a gardening revolution on campus!

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3 thoughts on “How to create a vegetable garden on your patio or deck in 5 easy steps

  1. Hey Ryan.. I liked the ideas you shared men.. by the way.. can you tell us or suggest any good plants so I can start making one…

    1. Thanks for your comment Adam!
      If you want to grow vegetables, you can't go wrong with herbs – mint, rosemary, thyme and basil will do very well in pots. You can also grow a bay tree in a pot. We've had great success growing strawberries on our patio – both in strawberry pots and chimney pots (you can buy old chimney pots online). You could also try tomatoes, and perpetual lettuces in troughs, rather than pots.
      If it's plants you're after, go for Hydrangeas or Fuchsias, or you could try a New Zealand Flax.
      Good luck and have fun!

      1. Thanks for the advice Ben. Maybe I'll try some herbs first, a mint or thyme. Some strawberries are nice too. Once again thank you.
        Happy Gardening!

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