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Gardening on your Patio

Cassie Carroll's picture

I get excited each year when the weather gets warm to jump out in my garden and start planting all the things: vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, annuals, and perennials.  For the first time this year, I planted lettuce, radishes, sugar snap peas and beets out in the garden early this year, and everything is already getting so big! My peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and so much more are still in the safety of my home, even though it might be time to plant some of them outside, but a good hardening off is in order. I can’t wait for the bounty of the garden this year, and the bounty from all the farms at the Market this year!

I am fortunate to have a backyard to plant all of my delicacies, but if you have a patio or porch, there are many things that you can plant. and be sure to feed them nutrients every Here’s a list:

  • Tomatoes: you can grow cherries or bigger tomatoes in pots – just make sure to use a tomato cage and buy a pot that is AT LEAST two feet deep! Also, make sure to feed them regularly.
  • Peppers – Bells and hot peppers!
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Chard
  • Herbs
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Squash
  • Small varieties of peas and beans
  • Garlic
  • Kohlrabi
  • Onions
  • Mint
  • Beets
  • Okra
  • …even sweet corn! (use at least a 1ft deep pot!)

What else have you grown in pots? Add it to the comments below!

I always like to plant lettuce in window box planters because they propagate very well and they are easy to access. I leave them on my patio table, away from the bunnies and other animals that might want a taste, and let it grow! Squirrels, on occasion, like to dig for buried treasure in my window boxes, but I’ve combated this by placing chicken wire over the top of planters so their little paws can’t dig up all my seeds. I also like to grow radishes in window boxes too, and carrots, potatoes and beets in Smart Pots.

There are so many options on what can be planted in pots, and so many guidelines on how to best care for those plants. Make sure you do a little online research on the fruits and veggies you’d like to grow in pots to learn about tips and tricks to growing these items successfully.

Here are some basic guidelines for potting fruits, vegetables, and herbs to get you started!

Preparing your pots: Make sure to use potting mix (not garden soil!) and place some rocks at the bottom of your pot for better drainage. Also, ensure your pot has drainage holes so water can drain out of the bottom of the container. To retain moisture, you might also consider adding a layer of mulch after planting your plant in the pot.

Watering: Pots dry out faster than in-ground gardens, so frequent watering is a must! Feel the top layer of soil on the pot. If it is dry, it needs to be watered. In the summer, plan on watering your potted plants on a daily basis. For tomatoes particularly, it is good to have consistent moisture to reduce diseases such as blossom end rot.

Fertilizing: Make sure you read whether your potting mix had fertilizer added to the mix. Some mixes may have short-term supplies, while others are long-release. If your mix has short-term fertilizers, do not add additional fertilizer for the first 2-4 weeks. Also, water washes away nutrients more rapidly than if plants were grown in the ground, so time-release fertilizer or plant food that you mix with water are great options. Make sure to read the label to understand how frequently you need to fertilize your plants! If you’re growing peppers, tomatoes, and squash in pots, don’t use too much nitrogen – it will make them produce leaves rather than fruit!

Remember that you might not get it right on the first try – I failed growing tomatoes my first time in pots with blossom end rot due to a lack of nutrients and inconsistent watering. Now I know better and can take those lessons to grow delicious tomatoes and produce on my patio all season long. Gardening is trial and error, and what’s the fun in gardening without a puzzle or two to solve over the season? J

What are your best tricks and tips with growing vegetables, fruits and herbs in pots? Add them in the comments below!

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