Growing Patio Vegetables
Growing vegetables in pots on your deck or steps is a wonderful way to have fresh vegetables without a lot of room. They can be grown in a container as long as you meet the plant’s needs. Amazingly the potted plants grow at the same rate as those in the ground, sometimes they grow much faster. The roots need a lot of room, so give them a large pot for future growth. Just use a simple soil mix. Buy one from a garden center or use equal parts of good garden soil, compost, sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, and sand. Place some kind of screen material over the drainage holes to help guard against the slugs. Let the soil dry out slightly but not dry between watering and fertilize lightly but more often, such as every other day than if the plants were in the ground.
Invest in a good pot, not a cheap plastic one. Get a heavier grade plastic and note that the terra cotta pots dry out more rapidly. You could also custom build a wooden one to your specific size needed. They should hold at least 15 quarts or 16 inches in diameter. Small pots should be used for smaller plants such as parsley or basil. Plants with deeper roots such as eggplant or carrots should have a much larger pot.
Line hanging baskets with sphagnum moss to keep the water in. Set the pots on a stand or on some bricks or blocks so the excess water can drain properly. Having the pots on blocks also helps with air circulation. All pots should have drainage holes. Lighter colored planters will reflect more solar energy and keep the roots of the plant cooler. The wider the planter is the better the plant will grow. Old washtubs make a good planter for things like beans.