Food can be expensive. Many of us live in the city and don’t have the luxuries of sectioning off a piece of our property for growing fruits and vegetables.
There is a solution. In fact, the solution may hit closer to home than you may think.
Even if you have nothing more than a concrete patio, you can grow vegetables. We call it raised bed patio planting. This is where you take a plant-worthy container and use it to grow vegetables with.
It doesn’t have to be large. What you’re looking for is nothing more than a hot dipped galvanized steel tub that is just large enough to plant a few vegetables. They’re not expensive – you can expect to pay about $20 for an oval.
When you do it right, you can expect your raised bed patio vegetables to grow just as well, if not better, than vegetables that are planted solidly in the ground.
What You Can Do with Raised Bed Patio Planning
You don’t have to take my recommendation. Planters can be constructed out of many different materials – including wood. You can get some that include wheels or casters that can make it easy to push from one end of your small patio to the other so that your fresh food can bathe in the sun.
These types of planters make it really easy for you to grow your own food and eat it at the peak of ripeness. If you have a grill, you can simply take it from the planter straight to the grill. Even if you have the makings of an entire outdoor kitchen, you’ll be able to cook food far fresher from your own garden then it will ever come when you buy it from the store.
Although planters do need to be at least 2 feet deep, you can always build an elevated plantar. This makes it so that you can tend to your little garden that without breaking your back or getting down on your knees. Planters that are elevated enough so that you can stand up will also prevent other animals from getting to it – including moles, groundhogs and even rabbits.
When you use a planter like this, you don’t have to rely on a limited growing season. Planters on wheels make it easy to grow your plants indoors and protected from the elements. The soil in your raised planter will warm up faster in the spring and summer. You can always use your planter to grow cool season vegetables such as kale. If you want to call it a season at the end of fall, simply cover it up with a blanket until you are ready to plant a fresh crop in the spring.
As a side benefit, these planters can bring life to even the smallest patio spaces. You can place it on a windowsill, the edge of your driveway or any other small space where these planters will add just the right amount of green to your life.
What to Expect – Technical Specifications
Make sure that you have a flat spot to place your planter. Make sure that wherever you put it can withstand the weight of a planter full of soil. A good landscaper of should be able to pinpoint an ideal location for your planter. A wooden deck is not always ideal – especially if you add the additional weight of water to the soil for when you water your plants.
You can always make the container yourself. In fact, if you take my recommendation and get the hot dipped galvanized steel tub, you’ll want to drill some drainage holes in the bottom of it to make sure that your plants can drain properly. You can always use untreated wood, cinderblocks or even bricks to make your container with.
If you really want to get ambitious, consider painting your planter to match the decor of your patio.
The container depth must be deep enough to hold a minimum of 6 inches of soil. If it can hold up to 12 inches, it would be better and give you a wider selection that will allow you to choose what you want to grow. A primary example would be if you wanted to grow tomatoes – tomatoes need the deeper soil.
Prop your planter up on legs so that the top of the planter is about waist level. This will make it much easier to tend to your garden.
Make your containers narrow enough so that you can access the entire garden from within arms reach. If you’re going to prop it up against a wall, limit the width to 2 feet. If you want to access your garden from both sides, restrict the width to 4 feet. The length of the planter will be determined by how big or how long you want your planter to be – usually within the limits of your small patio.
How to Begin
Begin by layering the bottom of the planter with volcanic rock to improve drainage. Afterward, fill the rest of it with high-quality potting soil. Poke holes with your finger every couple of inches to facilitate seedlings. Or, you can always toss the seeds in an even fashion over the soil. When you’re done, completely submerge the seeds in a layer of fine topsoil.
For a small planter, hand watering is perfectly OK. Make sure that you water the seeds immediately after planting. The only two plants you’ll want to avoid planting are potatoes and corn. Potatoes are root plants that need space to dig deeper into the soil than a planter will allow and corn will grow too tall to be manageable in a planter.