Planting in Pots
By Val Stone, MG and Coordinator for Northwest Food Coalition
If you are a Master Gardener or possess a green thumb and had to downsize to an apartment or condo without gardens, you know the frustration of giving up your beloved full length beds of flowers and veggies that grew bigger every year. But never fear, you can be a successful gardener by growing in pots or containers right outside your door on a patio, deck or balcony.
For variety, mix the sizes and shapes of your pots. We started with 3 large pots (about 48”) and then added 4 or 5 smaller ones to make 3 pot groupings. With the larger pots, fill the bottom with crushed gallon milk jugs so you aren’t filling them with soil and making it harder to move them. I recommend a mixture of peat, compost and topsoil. Your soil mixture is the key to steady growth through the growing season with occasional fertilizer feedings.
With the larger pots, I used a broccoli plant in the middle for height and planted 3 colors of sweet potato vine, verbena and miniature petunias around it. Vary the vegetables you put in the pots and include plenty of trailing vines and flowers for color. Look for plants that require the same light and watering and all will be happy. We have planted ours with peppers, tomatoes, chard, chives, and even Brussel sprouts as the center plant and enjoyed the flowers while the veggies developed during the season. We tried yellow pear tomatoes with flowers and could pick a snack every time we were on the deck. Once the veggies were harvested, we still had the beautiful flowers to enjoy until frost. The smaller pots could hold herbs and flowers to place near your larger containers. Our decks were filled with color for the season and looked like an ad from a magazine when we grouped the pots together. Add an outdoor fountain to your area and enjoy the quiet of your flower veggie garden room.