Sunday, August 9, 2009

Container Gardening - Fresh Food on the Deck

I felt obligated to attempt a container garden this year, in addition to our 'house' garden and our test garden. So many of our customers are limited to containers on their deck, patio, balcony, that I felt I needed a little more experience with this. Since this photos was taken, two bean boxes with string trellises were added for pole beans. This was put together in June and we have had the best luck with the cucumbers; Rocky, Suyo, Little Leaf. The tomatoes - I planted Stupice and Sun Gold Cherry in 5 gallon pots - are just now starting to produce. The Zephyr squash looks lovely, but didn't do much zucchini-wise. I don't think it got enough sun. I planted two small pots with radishes and one pot produced quickly as radishes are wont to do, but the other Japanese variety which was said to need 45 days, hasn't produced at all. The eggplants and peppers look great and are setting fruit right now. They are all in 3 gallon containers. We haven't had too many pests, a few white flies, but we also have a lot of hummingbirds who love white fly, so there you are.
I made a big mistake with the pole beans. As soon as they came up from seed, they looked diseased. And, as it turns out, they are not pole beans at all, but a bush variety of Red Noodle. I must pull them up and plants snow peas for the fall. Not shown in this picture, is a big wine barrel filled with lettuce, chard, sorrel (red veined) that has struggled a bit with leaf miners and heat, but by and large look and taste great. Those are keepers for a year round deck garden.
Our deck is a brutal place. Even though our house is painted dark green, there is a lot of reflected light and heat. And wind. So the plants dry out quickly and have to be watered more frequently than if they were in the garden. The area of the deck I chose is somewhat protected from the wind but also gets less light, and I think that is what stymied the squash.
It was a good idea, though, and makes the deck a more livable and attractive place. It's fun to go out and grab a cucumber for the supper salad.

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