My West Coast Patio Square Foot Garden





If you follow my blog you will know that I'm a big fan of square foot gardening.  This is a terrific method of getting as many vegetables as possible from a small place - and nowhere is this more important than when you are gardening on a balcony or patio.

I've recently moved to the West Coast where the weather is thankfully much milder than in the East, and where gardening can start much earlier.  Even though I live in a condo now instead of the large house I had for several decades, I am looking forward to the challenge of seeing how much I can grow.

As you can see above, even though my old Ontario village is just getting rid of the last of the winter snow, I've already made a good start on my garden.


And, as usual, I am always looking for things that will make my life a little bit easier.

While checking out local seed companies looking for small varieties that would be suitable for container growing, I found a great option for anyone wanting to grow a square foot garden in any size spot.  These new (or at least new to me) products look like the perfect apartment or condo dwellers answer to growing a garden in a very limited amount of room.



As you can see the idea is pretty ingenious.  You don't have to worry about heavy pots.  These are sturdy canvas-type bags which, when filled, give you exactly one square foot of planting area, allowing you to have whatever size garden you have room for.  They are easy to manoeuvre and, if need be, can always be emptied and folded away when the growing season is over.


As well, to allow for proper drainage, there are special mats that you can buy to put under these containers.  These will elevated them of your deck (or bench in my case) and allow water to drain so your plants don't become water logged.  They also protect your deck or bench from rot caused by standing water. 


I have four of these square containers for my salad garden.  One contains spinach and radishes, one mixed salad greens, one baby Tom Thumb butter lettuce, and one kale.  And as you can see they are already growing well.


In fact I just harvested my first crop today - rosy juicy radishes for my lunch salad!


You can get something very similar here. Smart Pots 5-Gallon Smart Pot Soft-Sided Container, Black  As you can see these are great for growing any kind of vegetable, not just salad.


I also have a large tall pot Tusco Products CTU32ES Cosmopolitan Tall Square Garden Planter, 32-Inch, Espresso that can be used both for larger plants or as a garden pot.  I use it for my lemon tree which I will be bringing in for the winter as well, but it would also be suitable for any vegetable and would really look nice especially on a balcony.


To round out my garden I also have two pots of tomatoes - one beefsteak and one cherry- and I already have a few flowers starting to form.


And of course I've planted a big pot of basil - for what good are tomatoes without basil and pesto?!?


 The second innovation I found for my patio garden are these great herb pots. Algreen 15305 Self Watering Modena Windowsill Planter and Herb Garden, Gloss Black They are not cheap, but they will allow me to grown herbs outside in the summer and inside on my sunny window in the winter so I can have them year round. 

They consist of three parts.  An inner container for planting, and outer shell for holding water, and a guage that tells you when your plants have dried out and need more water.  I can see this being especially helpful in the winter when the indoor heating makes it easy for plants to dry out if you don't watch them carefully. 






Of course as far as I'm concerned a garden isn't complete unless there are also flowers - to attract bees and also to cut for the home - which is why I consider myself very lucky to have found this lovely spot where there are already many flowering plants and bushes.


My contribution has been to plant three pots of roses that I've placed on my steps where they get lots of sun and are thriving in this west coast English-style weather.



Finally, I want to tell you about another product that I wouldn't want to be without.  This plastic watering can made in England Bosmere N570 Plastic Outdoor Watering Can, 2.6-Gallon, Blue is light weight but holds a lot of water - perfect when you need to cart water outside to water plants.  The watering head is removable and stores on the special hook so you can either have the sprinkler head or just pour out of the spout.

I have it in the usual green, but it also comes in light blue and - if you want a real splash of colour - red. 

Even though I no longer have the large vegetable garden I used to have, I am looking forward to still doing a bit of gardening.  I will post an update once a month or so because I want you all to see what can be done even if you are working with a very limited space.


 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw



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