Can you feel it in the air? The warm breeze (almost), the birds singing – and things beginning to grow? Can you feel the call of the wild? Or at least the call of the average sized flower pot? Take advantage of the season and make a patio vegetable garden.
This is when most people wander off into the garden sections of their supermarkets and hardware stores and wander amongst the shiny gardening tools, colorful seed packets, and fertilizer. They wonder about what it would be like to have a little garden paradise all on their own, and if they have what it takes.
Some folks who have patios never wander outside of their comfort zone. A patio is a place to barbecue and maybe have coffee on warm weekend mornings. What most of us don’t realize, is that it only takes a bit of work to get your patio ready for spring, and summer.
What you need are a few simple tools, good ideas, and solutions. You don’t have to grow your plants in the ground when pots will do just fine. You don’t have to worry about constant watering when there are many watering hacks out there. And you don’t even need good weather to keep your plants safe when there are so many narrow lean-to greenhouse options for your patio, even if it’s not that spacious.
There are many options when it comes to planting, and some of them aren’t your average run-of-the-mill solutions.
Anything can be a container if you put your mind to it. Some people use makeshift planting containers to add spice and character to their patio. This might include things like:
- Old pots and pans for growing herbs
- Upcycled bathtubs, especially the antique kind!
- Wooden pallets for vertical gardens
- Wine Barrels
- Old BBQs
- Reusable shopping bags
- Old boots
- Wicker baskets
The options are virtually endless. It’s time to upcycle! Some tools that are going to be especially useful for busy patio owners are self-waterers. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have water access outside, you can install an automatic watering system. But if your patio is free of luxuries like running water, an upside-down bottle and a bit of DIY will do. Self-watering spikes can last for up to two weeks!
You can have a tiny compost bin as well. If you have a little bit of space, you can put your kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to great use.
There are some veggies you can plant in your patio garden that will keep it pretty and tasty. Rapidly climbing plants like watermelon, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins are always a great idea.
All you need is a trellis. These veggies will climb and produce beautiful large leaves, beautiful flowers and a lot of greenery even if they’re growing out of a container. If you train them correctly, they can wrap a whole wall and ceiling in a green curtain.
Pumpkins, cucumbers, and gourds love hanging around, and they will add a festive harvest atmosphere to your patio come autumn. Their flowers are, of course, edible too.
Some other veggies that are pretty as well as tasty are cherry tomatoes, decorative cabbage, kale, and peppers. If you play your cards right, you will be munching away all season long. And if you opt for a small patio greenhouse, you can extend the growing season by weeks.
There is nothing quite like growing your own vegetables, but if you are dead set on something that blooms and is pretty, then you can grow edible flowers as well and enjoy them for their aesthetic values as well as their yumminess.
A great choice for your salad and your pickle jar are Nasturtiums. They grow quickly, spread like wildfire, and bloom in intense colors of orange, yellow and red. They can be grown in pots or made to cascade out of vertical gardens. They can dress up any salad too! Nasturtiums have a sweet, slightly spicy taste. Their green fruits can be pickled and used to be known as the “poor man’s capers”.
Calendulas are an edible and medicinal orange beauty. Their flowers are used in tea, salads as well as in skin-soothing salves and creams. You can macerate them in oil to draw their goodness out. These are considered weeds by some and grow very easily. A low maintenance miracle in a flower pot!
Lavender is a great low maintenance and drought resistant plant. If you are forgetful waterer, this is a very rewarding flower to plant. Fragrant and soothing, you can not only make scent bags out of dried Lavender flowers, but you can mix them with black tea for added aroma.
Sunflower – Growing sunflowers on a sunny patio can add that rustic vibe to your space. You can plant them in large planters and grow them out of seeds. There are many different types and heights of sunflowers. If you have a few patches of the super tall, huge seed-bearing flowers you can have a fun harvest come fall. Tall sunflowers are also very impressive and attention-grabbing while they are growing.
You don’t have to have a full grown garden to put homegrown veggies in your salad bowl. A little know-how and a pinch of patience will help you get some spring, summer and fall joy out of your patio.
Of course, no one is saying to become a patio homesteader. Developing a simple pot gardening hobby might be rewarding in so many ways – it helps you to become more mindful of what you eat, taking care of plants is a natural destresser and an antidepressant, and lush plants create a sense of pride and accomplishment. What’s not to like?