Is it possible to have a bountiful garden on your patio (or teeny-tiny back yard, or city roof top or any other unused outdoor space?
Yes. Yes. YES!
First of all, let's take a look at my reasons for patio gardening. We have 2 acres of country land -- plenty for a smart little homestead. So why would we ever choose to garden on the patio?
I have 2 main reasons.
Lots and lots of deer.
Oh, they may look cute but they spell doom to tasty plants. You lovingly plant your special fruits and veggies. You water. You watch your plants drink in the sun. But then the sun sets and the Deer S.W.A.T. team moves in. In the morning, all that's left of your sweet little plants are pitiful little stubs. It's just too heart wrenching.
I could put up a fence that resembles Fort Knox, but I just haven't had the heart for it. Sniff.
Besides, there's still Reason #2.
Our soil. Or rather, our lack of soil. Here is a picture:
If we started trying to "remove the rocks" we would dig a hole to China before we actually found any dirt. China is a long way to go just to weed the garden.
Our only remedy for this problem is to truck in the soil. Two acres would be a lot of truck loads of soil.
So we planted a Patio Garden.
We have found that practically anything that will hold dirt can be used to plant a garden, and almost anything will grow.
My husband built some square foot garden (4'X4') style planters (with legs, so we don't even have to stoop to weed -- not that weeding is a big issue on the patio.) In these big planters, we have peppers, eggplants, beets, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. We use 5 gallon buckets for tomatoes -- one plant per bucket.
We use a kiddie pool for lettuces. That works great, because the summers can get really hot here. To stretch our lettuce growing season, we can slide the pool under one of the square foot planters for a bit of shade. It helps prevent our lettuce from going to bolt too quickly.
We have citrus trees and ornamental trees in rope barrels. We got the barrels for $5.97 each at Wal-mart. I can't find a mega pot anywhere for under $40.00, so these work great. And in case you're squinting to see if that tree-that-looks-like-a-bush really has fruit -- it does. It's a Dwarf Lisbon Lemon tree, and those green balls are going to be yellow soon.)
We even have a Pineapple plant and a Fig Tree. We used the green top of a store-bought pineapple to start our plant. Each plant produces one pineapple. So far, we have produced several pineapples this way. The Pineapple won't bloom until fall, but the fig tree has figs growing. Happy, happy, happy!
We also have lots of different herbs all over the patio in various pots and containers. And we are growing potatoes in a trashcan (don't worry, we bought it for that purpose.) We just poked holes in the bottom of the trashcan for drainage. We used some oldish potatoes from our cupboard that were already starting to sprout, cut them up and stuck them in dirt. As the plants grow, we keep adding more dirt. Once they reach the top of the barrel, we will stop adding dirt, of course -- because that would get really messy. They will produce potatoes all the way up the root. When the plants have finished blooming and start to die off, it will be time to harvest our potatoes.
We use the organic produce grown on our patio nearly every day. There is just something special about making a meal from things that grew on your own place. So if you grew up thinking that the only possible way to garden was the traditional row garden (as I did), I'm here to tell you that you can grow things anywhere! Besides, this is a lot more fun than weeding a row garden in the hot sun.