Jeff Cosgrove
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Set up a Patio Garden

by Jeffrey Cosgrove 06/29/2019

In a typical year, you grow a lush vegetable garden that brings endless pleasure to you and fresh food to your table. But this year you plan to put your house on the market. Do you still grow a garden? Or, you live in a townhome or condominium and miss your old gardening days. So what do you do? Grow your garden in pots.

Veggies in pots

  • It doesn’t matter if you’re just short on gardening space or plan to move and want to take all your hard work with you, you can grow many vegetables in pots just fine. In fact, many plants don’t really care where you grow them as long as the soil is good and has water and drainage.
  • Growing root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips in pots require the pots to be taller than you want your root to grow. Otherwise, your veggie will bend to adjust to fit the container and won’t look as pretty on your table.
  • Many plants can grow in hanging pots: think strawberries, small potatoes, grape or cherry tomatoes and even greens such as spinach and butter-head lettuce.
  • Vine plants like cucumbers, squashes, and melons require more width, so a shallow but wide bed works best. You can make a tabletop bed or even use a large plastic tub or bin.
  • Climbing plants such as tomatoes and bell peppers need a trellis. Most gardening shops carry round trellises that fit right inside your pot.
  • Plant your herbs in small pots and hang them on hooks along the patio wall or terrace railing.

Watering systems

If you’re able to work in your garden every day, keep your plants moist with a watering pot. But, if like many people, your commute is long and your days are short, consider using a drip system to help out. You can adapt a regular hose hooked to your spigot with pieces for a standard drip system available at your big box DIY store. Or, find one specially designed for patio gardens. Put a separate sprayer or drip outlet in each pot and adjust it to match the needs of that plant for a bumper crop.

If your patio doesn’t have a spigot, or if your budget doesn’t run to adding a drip system, use inexpensive watering globes or create your own using empty water or soda bottles. Just poke a hole in the lid of the bottle (bigger holes for plants that need more water and smaller for those that require less), poke a tiny hole in the base of the bottle to prevent it forming a vacuum. Then fill it with water and turn it lid-side-down. Place it in the pot with loose dirt or small pebbles so that the holes don’t become clogged. Now you have a drip system.

Moving your plants

When you’re ready to move, take your plants first or last. Move them inside your vehicle so that you can control the light, temperature, and ventilation. If you’re moving a long distance, or crossing state lines, check agriculture regulations. For instance, there are many plants you cannot import to California. Other states, such as Florida and Maine require live plants to be inspected to certify they are free of pests that could damage crops.

Talk to your professional realtor about displaying and protecting your patio garden during open house days.

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