A while ago I started my organic container garden right in my patron since I have no place to grow them outside. The joys of apartment living.
It has been trial and error for some plants but mostly going great.
I quickly learned that all plants are not equal.
Some like a lot of sunlight.
Some like a lot of water.
Some will survive in shallow soil and some will not.
I lost a few plants along the way which included my precious echinacea plant. But I do believe those could have been avoided if I simply had followed this step:
Research the different plants you want to grow before you get them.
If I had done that I would have known that beets don’t like a lot of water in the beginning and neither do chives. Celery and cabbage love water.
I would have know the water loving, shade loving, drought loving, sun loving etc. plants and where to position them on the patio.
But, I figured it out as I went and was able to grow several things in my patio.
Here is what I did to grow these organic potted herbs and vegetable:
1) Prune plants
I never really understood the benefit of pruning a plant until someone came to my home and told me to cut (more like chop/butcher) a tree we have growing outside. She told me how wonderful her tree looked after she did it and she pretty much sold me on it.
I tried it and IT WORKED! So I pruned all of my plants and they thrived.
2) Do not discard the pruned leaves
When I prune my plants I put the leaves back into the pot to decompose. Kinda like my compost. Sincemy plants are potted they won’t get the nutrients they need from the soil like if I was planting directly into the ground.
3) Add nutrients to your soil.
I found this article that outlines the symptoms of plant deficiencies. Using this article can help you to ward spot nutrient deficiencies in your potted plants.
My children and I have had to add Epsom salt to our garden. We also will add an organic compost to it as well to add some nitrogen to the soil.
One alternative to this is to get animal manure. We have easy access to goats and sheep and if we look around a bit I am sure we can get some chicken poop.
But I prefer the green compost for our container garden. Hopefully with time, adding the pruned leaves back to the soil will inpreve the nitrient value so that I will have a richer sool to plant in with the next set of crops.
4) Use natural pesticides
I got a few pests in my patio garden. Some were caterpillars and the other one was a leaf miner.
To combat the leaf miner
When I realized that I had leaf miner on some of my plants (celery and cabbage) I used coconut oil, as opposed to the recommended neem oil since I had none. I got two pieces of cloth and coated them with oil. Then using the coated cloths, I squeezed the leaf at the mining site and pulled from the inside of the leaf towards the tip of the leaf. This coated the leaf with oil.
I repeated this with most of the infected leaves. The ones that were badly infected I discarded completely.
5) “Till” the soil
With container gardening, it is more than likely that you won’t have the good insects found in the soil that help aggregate the soil. For some plants you will need to do this manually. I used a butter knife to do this.