Editor’s Note: A guest contribution to The Prepper Journal from Wendy Dessler.
People who live in urban areas may never consider planting vegetables. The need for food that is grown without harmful chemicals is a priority, but you may need to get creative to achieve your goal. A patio or balcony garden may be just what you are looking for.
Check your patio or balcony:
You need to note which way your patio is facing. If your patio is facing south, you will have limited shade, unless you choose to install an awning to shade your plants in the afternoon. If you do not want to bother with an awning you should plant vegetables that are sun-loving. North facing patios will get more wind and moisture. You can get more information here.
Take a pad and pencil and sketch your patio. Decide where you want to place plants based on the room they need and whether they grow out or up. Allow enough room to tend the plants.
It is not expensive to grow your mini-garden. You will need 8” or 10” clay pots, planting soil, hand tools, seeds for planting from Seed Needs, and a watering pot. If you invest in fancy pots and accessories to make things pretty, you can go over budget quickly.
Note: you may want to leave room for a rain barrel to collect water for watering your plants. For ideas, click here.
There are many vegetables that will thrive in a pot. If you have a particular vegetable that you want in your collections, check with your seed vendor for a variety that will grow well in your area. Below are some of patio farmers. They are easy to grow and easy to preserve.
Tomatoes come in small, medium, and large fruits. Your seed vendor will help you select the right size. Tomatoes grow a lot. One or two large pots will give you tomatoes to eat now and plenty to preserve or to use in stock for soup, stew, and recipes.
Spinach is a very low maintenance plant. It is packed with iron, and vitamins. Spinach makes you feel good as it helps your red blood cells to carry more oxygen throughout your body.
Pole beans grow up instead of out. Be sure you have a strong trellis for the vines to grow around. These are a good source of protein. Pole beans are naturally low in cholesterol, and sodium.
Squash is a must-have in your garden. You can use squash as a replacement for meats in many recipes. They are so versatile, you will have no problem creating a good meal. Squash is a good source of vitamin A & D among others.
Healthy and sweet carrots are easily grown in a deep pot. They require little attention and can be used in a variety of food. Keep the soil moist so the roots do not dry out.
Good in salads and soups, radishes are nutritious and like carrots require little work. However, you will have to keep them watered well so the roots will stay healthy.
Mustard greens are easily grown in bright sunny spots. They will withstand cooler temperatures, as well. These greens are good when sprinkled in salads but are a tasty and filling vegetable when cooked.
Peppers and Chilies
Peppers add some fire to your home-grown foods. You will not need to plant a lot of them to get enough to eat now and to preserve for later. Peppers assist the body in its blood clotting abilities. They promote strong bones and healthy kidneys.
Eggplant is easy to grow and it is a large vegetable that is often used in vegan recipes instead of meat. This plant does not produce as much as some other plants, but due to its size, you do not need as much.
You will also want some healthy and sweet fruits to complete your home-grown meals.
Blueberries are easy to grow and can be eaten raw or cooked into your favorite recipes. Throw a few in your oatmeal or grits, over pancakes, or in a salad.
Strawberries produce a good harvest, but they do not re-grow. You will need to re-plant when the plant is finished producing. Strawberries are easy to plant in hanging pots which will allow you more room for other plants on your patio.
Dwarf Apple Trees are easily planted in large pots and easy to care for. The tree will grow into a small tree with plenty of juicy apples.
As you can see, it is very much worth the effort to create a patio garden. There is no end to the produce you can grow that is free from chemicals and rich with flavor. Don’t forget to plant a few herbs in your kitchen window to season your wonderful food. Herbs are also used to heal a number of illnesses and to treat pain with natural remedies. It is never too early. Start planning your patio garden today.
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