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10 Quick Tips For A Successful Patio or Apartment Garden


10 quick tips for a successful patio garden

1. COMPOST Start with good compost! If there is any tip I could give anyone that is starting a patio garden, it would be growing medium! Soil soil soil! You need to focus on this step, because with any closed system garden (i.e. potted garden) you do not have mineralization occurring naturally, so good quality soil must be added. Plants use lots of nutrients to grow, and therefor will show signs of nutrient deficiencies very quickly if good quality compost is not used. Compost does 3 things well. 1 – Stays loose to allow good root growth. 2 – Holds onto moisture which is crucial in a potted garden since they dry out quickly. 3 – houses beneficial microbes and fungi that is necessary for plant growth. compost-pile
2. Big planters – If the size of the container is too small, the roots will become crowded, and root bound. This stresses the plant and leads to a smaller plant, smaller yields, and less food for you in the end. I prefer nothing smaller than a 1 gallon pot. I use 1 gallon pots for things like herbs, and lettuce which are fast return greens, that don't require a ton of soil. Something like a tomato would be recommended for a 3 gallon pot or larger. flower pot
3. Light colored pots + NO CLAY– Remember! Pots do not have lots of soil, and therefor the roots can easily bake! Baked roots = dead roots.Pick pots that are light in color. Also, same goes for clay, clay pots tend to weep water, and can wick the soil dry. They also heat up and hold heat very well, therefor plastic pots beat clay in this situation.    
4. Plant small plants – Small plants take up a smaller amount of space. Remember, plants get big, and when plants get big they take up space. If you are on a balcony, fire escape, patio, or porch, space is definitely limited, and you can get more yield from things that are small rather than things that grow large. Things like lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, beans, peas, and things like that tend to be more productive than say a tomato. gourmet_lettuce_mix__52532_zoom
5. Interplant – Inter planting is the act of planting 2 different plants within close proximity to each other. This will not only save on space, but it will maximize yield. It will also have an added benefit of helping other plants. For instance, plant beans around tomatoes. Or Lettuce with onions. Marigolds with tomatoes, beans and potatoes. basil and tomatoes, spinach and carrots, and so many more! The whole point is that the two plants will help each other, all the while saving you space, and improving the amount you can get out of a small space. vegetables-interplanted
6. Water often – As much as this seems like a no brainer, it ties into what we talked about before, which is the fact that in a traditional garden, soil does not let go of water as fast. However in a potted garden it is so easy to forget. A glass or two of water around the base each day is good, or water as needed. The plants will benefit from water since water allows the roots to grow, absorb nutrients, and fill leafs with water. watering-garden
7. Hand pollinate – In a traditional wide open garden, insects and bugs will come to pollinate flowers, however if you only have 1 tomato plant on your balcony, or a single cucumber plant, or anything in small numbers as you would on a patio, the bugs don't come around as much. Bees will prefer large groupings of flowers, so pollination using your hand will lead to higher yields. simply use a Q-tip and gently rub around each flower getting up inside and act as a bee would bumping the flower, and transfuring pollen from flower to flower. This will ensure you good yields, as well as happy plants. Q-tip
8. Plant High yielding crops – Planting a carrot is good, but 1 plant, only yields 1 carrot. Whereas a bean plant can produce enough beans for a persons dinner per week. The same goes for eggplant, peppers, tomato, cucumber, and things like that! Jalapeno-Pepper
9. Fertilize – Fertilizer is so vital. Plants in small spaces use up not only water, but they also use up nutrients very quickly. To prevent a nutrient deficiency in plants, make sure you use a fertilizer on a regular basis. This will help the plants to stay healthy, productive, and happy. And a happy plant is a healthy plant, and a healthy plant is a healthy you! 1795748_596196070461757_1594276902_n
10. Plant what you love! – planting what you love will allow even the smallest harvests to taste the best. When something is home grown, it has so many flavors, and the freshness can't be beat. So grow what you love, and even the smallest harvest will be a huge pick me up, it will have you grinning, and it will color your plate with pride.   



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