Woah have I learned a lot about plants in these past few weeks! I intend to learn much more as my plants continue to “hopefully” grow throughout the summer. Nonetheless, I’m proud of what I’ve created and glad to have learned the lessons I’ve received so far. That leads me to what I want to share with you today, which are the basics in starting your herb/veggie garden endeavors on your deck/patio.
The first lesson I learned was pay attention to what your sunlight pattern is on your growing spot. All of the herbs and veggies I planted need full sun. Because of a large dividing wall I have on my deck, I was limited to using one side on it for planting. More specifically, as the day went on, I noticed it was only going to be one corner that I could truly use. Which was helpful to note, because it really determined my layout plans.
With that in mind, I hit the store (Walmart being my only option) to find a set up that was going to work for me. I scoured the store for unique options other than typical planters, in order to add some interest to my little corner. I ended up coming across fun galvanized tins by “Better Homes” and some wood foldable tables that would help in adding variation in height; ultimately giving me more planting space in my tiny area. The only hitch, I realized after getting home, was how necessary drainage holes are in planters… fortunately, Seyver was all over this and was able to drill holes in the bottoms of my planters for me! I also came across articles that talked about the dangerous of planting in galvanized steel. The worry is that the zinc material can be mixed up in the water and taken in by the plants roots (too much zinc is not good for people). Rest assured, my co-workers (and plenty of other people) have been planting in galvanized tin for decades and never had an issue. Nonetheless, the lesson here is pay attention to the planter you are choosing to use (material and drainage qualities).
On the topic of drainage, I learned another lesson. This happened to be in association with my clay pots and the fact that their drainage holes were quite large. My concern was having dirt spilling out all over the deck, especially in a heavy rain. After some research I found a couple of solutions: use steel scour pads or any similar mesh material, or line with newspaper. Because I had newspaper on hand, I decided to go with the later option. I have to say so far so good- no mess!
As I began my planting process, I realized very quickly that I naively did not read the tags for growing space. Currently, my plants are planted about 5-10 inches too close together… As of now, there is plenty of room; However, I will quickly be learning how root structures and foliage outgrowth may just kill off neighboring plants “may the odds be ever in your favor little plants”!
Lastly, I learned a great lesson about fertilizer and dirt. At the nursery, the gal told me NOT to use just any regular fertilizer on my herbs/veggies. As with the galvanized tin planters, you have to be mindful that what your plants eat is what you’ll be eating. So far I’ve forgone fertilizer altogether and decided to invest in some decent organic potting soil from my local co-op. Even when it came to buying dirt, however, I was faced with another conundrum because there were two types of soil to choose from: potting versus compost!? After inquiring about the difference, I learned that compost has many more nutrients than potting. The gal at the store told me she typically only adds compost soil to pots she has had from previous years. At which point she believes the plants have taken up most of the nutrients from the original potting soil, and could use a little more food from the compost soil.
So many lessons in such a short amount of time! All of these tips&tricks I have recorded in a lovely planting journal my friend bought me as a birthday gift 🙂 such a great tool to have as I make notes of what worked and didn’t work throughout this Summer.
Can’t wait to share more lessons with you!