Growing your own food comes with a ton of added benefits, and owning a porch or deck makes this easier than ever. While growing your crops from a container may produce less yields than growing from a raised bed, container-grown crops can still be productive. You can really grow just about anything on a patio or deck, from tomatoes and apples to zucchini and beans. In today’s blog, we will be going over the benefits of owning a deck garden, five tips to consider when starting your own, and end with some yummy plant suggestions. If you are looking for a reliable, quality deck builder, contact Ready Decks today and get started with building the deck garden of your dreams!

A Few Benefits of Having a Deck Garden

Fewer pests — Different intruders such as squirrels, rabbits, slugs, and snails are much less likely to find your garden if it is on an elevated surface such as a deck.
More sunlight — Another benefit of having the elevation that a deck provides is the added sunlight, which will help provide your plants with more fuel for growth as opposed to being on ground level.
You know exactly what is going into your crop — Unlike purchasing your food from the store and not being sure exactly where it was grown or if any chemicals were used throughout the process, you know every step and ingredient that was used in the process of creating your garden.
Easy access — Having your garden on your deck right outside of your kitchen allows for the convenience of walking out to the food and snipping a few herbs or veggies to use for your daily cooking. How awesome is that?
Better for the environment — without needing long-distance transportation, having a garden at the comfort of your home is not only more convenient for you, but also uses less fossil fuels that are harmful to our environment.

Tip #1 — Purchase Good, Quality Containers

The options for this one are virtually endless. As long as they are food-safe, you can grow your crops in just about any container. If you use a wood container, just be sure that it has not been treated. If you purchase nice containers for your garden, you can expect years of use out of them. If you are planting on a budget, a makeshift container will work just fine too, but it probably won’t last as long. Just be sure to keep in mind that the larger the container you use the better, as this allows your plants to develop stronger root systems and for longer water retention.

Tip #2 — Get a Proper Growing Medium for Your Desired Crops

There are specially-designed potting mixes that should be utilized for container-grown crops. Unlike typical garden soil, potting mix is blended specifically in order to retain moisture and offers the proper amount of air and nutrients that are needed. We suggest either purchasing the highest-quality potting mix you can find, or mixing your own. Vermiculite, perlite, calcined clay, and sand are the mineral aggregates that are most commonly used in potting soils, and are great for allowing air into the soil and root system. Many have found that creating their own soils produces better yields than commercial mixes, but you can find great commercial growing mediums in stores as well.

Tip #3 — Ensure Your Plants are Getting Ample Sunlight

Sunlight is crucial for plant growth. Before beginning your planting process, it is suggested to go outside and take record of the amount of sunlight your plants will be getting, how much shade/cloud coverage you are getting, the amount of time the sun is shining during the day, etc., because this will help to determine which types of plants you should grow. Anything with a root or a fruit, such as a melon or cucumber, needs at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Greens, such as kale and lettuce, don’t require as much sunlight, and you can probably get away with just four to six hours. A great little phrase to remember by experienced farmer Fred Detwiler is “If you grow it for the fruit or the root, you need full sun! If you grow it for the leaves or stems or sprouts, partial shade is all you need!”

Getting excited envisioning your future deck garden? Contact your deck builder professionals at Ready Decks today!

Tip #4 — Protect Your Plants

Although a high-rise garden is great to keep pests out and sunlight in, it does increase your garden’s vulnerability to wind, heat, and heavy rain. Be sure to take advantage of the existing structures of your home that could help protect your plant, such as patio umbrellas and roof overhangs. You can also try using clear plastic clamshell containers or mini garden hoops from wire to protect newly planted crops from storms. It also isn’t a bad idea to consider purchasing movable planters, as they might come in handy during more aggressive storms.

Tip #5 — Maintain Your Soil

Because vegetables are heavy feeders, we suggest sprinkling granulated slow-release organic fertilizer at the time of planting, and feeding them a water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks (according to package directions) in order to give your plants the fuel it needs to grow healthy and strong. Soil is the home to your plants, so you want to maintain it to keep them growing and thriving.

A Few Yummy Plant Ideas for Your Deck:

Beans Kale Onions
Cabbage Peppers Carrots
Cucumbers Summer squash Radishes
Dwarf apples Tomatoes Cherries
Blackberries Raspberries Lemons and limes
Strawberries Blueberries Figs
Basil Fennel Lavender
Mint Oregano Parsley
Dill Cilantro Rosemary

If you are ready to start the garden of your dreams and fuel your body with nutrient-dense, organic, home-grown goods like the ones listed above, then these tips are sure to help you get started. If you are reading this, want to start a garden, but don’t have a nice high-rise deck to do so on, don’t hesitate to reach out to our deck builder team at Ready Decks for a free quote! Our goal is to provide the highest quality decks in the shortest amount of time while offering the greatest bang for your buck. Every deck we build is backed by a lifetime warranty, so you can feel secure knowing that your deck has been built to last. We look forward to working with you so you can create a beautiful garden deck that will be the talk of your neighborhood this summer!