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Petite Planting -- How To Garden Well Even On A Deck Or Patio

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Do you have a very limited yard space... or even no yard at all? You may think that planting a garden is out of your reach. But, you can have a successful garden of herbs, vegetables, or flowers no matter where you live. The answer is patio gardening. And if you're new to it, here's a primer to get you started.

Find a Good Spot. Assess your limited options to determine what your prime locations are for a garden. This should include as much full sun as you can get, and a spot in which all your plants can face the sun to avoid shadows. The area should also have easy access to running water and be easy for you to access and keep maintained. Finally, if you're working on a deck or balcony, check the weight restrictions (since planters filled with dirt can be fairly heavy).

Choose Your Garden Style. Depending on how many vegetable plants you want to grow and how large your deck or patio is, you'll need to decide what type of container gardening best suits your space. Talk with your local garden center about what small garden alternatives they can provide, including some of the following:

  • Table planters, which can be customized to sit at a height that works for you (especially if you have mobility challenges)
  • Vertical planters. There are many styles of vertical gardens, which all use the same basic principle of tiered shelving or pots in rows that sit on top of each other. These rows allow you to plant in a way that each row gets the sun it needs but doesn't take up much space. You can find vertical planters as simple as modified pallets or as attractive as you want.
  • Multi-tiered pots. Space-saving pots with multiple openings -- often called "strawberry pots" -- can help you grow smaller veggies and herbs. They allow irrigation water to flow through the pot and are great for things like herbs, cherry tomatoes, and (of course) strawberries.
  • Planter pockets. A variation on vertical gardens, planter pockets hang on a wall or fence and are made from water-permeable fabric. You can plant flowers in these pockets to create a wall of color and life.

Make it Attractive. While planning your garden, don't fill your deck or patio so much that you can't -- or don't want to -- use it for other things. Avoid cluttering up the area so that it's hard to access, instead placing your pots or planters grouped together and away from any entertaining areas. Add some colorful flowers to your veggie garden in order to make it more attractive to look at. Be a little artistic with your space to please the eye.

By knowing how to garden in space-saving ways, you can have fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in practically any living situation. For more information, check out a garden center like Frank Otte Nursery & Garden Center St. Matthews.