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Cass County Extension

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Patio Gardening

You can grow vegetables even if you don't have a yard or garden spot. Individuals who live in apartments, condominiums or mobile homes can grow vegetables in containers on a balcony, windowsill or doorstep. Gardeners with a poor garden site may also benefit from container gardening. A patio garden can provide considerable enjoyment as well as fresh vegetables. But in order for the garden to be productive, you must have the proper growing media, adequate water and fertilizer and plenty of sunlight.

To grow a container vegetable garden, select a container which is large enough to hold plants and their root systems. Almost any type of container can be used if it provides adequate drainage. Drainage holes on the sides or bottom of the container are best. The depth of the container is very important. Soil 6-8" deep is the minimum for most vegetables.

Plants grown in a container require a growing media that doesn't pack hard and drains well but doesn't dry out too fast. Select a light weight growing media, you'll appreciate it when you move the plants around.

Most vegetables that grow in a typical backyard garden will do well in your patio garden. Those best suited for growing in containers include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes and many of the herbs. Nearly all vegetables grow better in full sunlight than in shade. Leafy vegetables will do the best in shade; whereas those that bear fruit do the poorest in a shady spot.

Container grown vegetables require more fertilizer than those grown in your garden. A water soluble fertilizer such as 10-20-10 is recommended at the rate of one tablespoon per gallon of water. Use the fertilizer-water solution as needed for plant growth. Plants grown in containers dry out much sooner than those grown in the garden. Generally one watering each day or two should be adequate.

Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707

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