Starting a Deck Garden

Organic Foods on the Rise

Organic foods and their healthy benefits have been increasing in popularity steadily over the last ten years. According to a Roper survey released in 2016, 40% of Americans planned on making organic food a bigger part of their diets this past year. In fact, U.S. organic food sales hit record sales for the first time in 2015, accounting for nearly 5% of total food sales in the U.S.

An obvious trend of increased health-consciousness is the driver behind this push towards more organic purchases. Americans are increasingly concerned about the sanitation and ethical considerations behind foods sold in big box stores. In addition, we’re all becoming more educated—and therefore cautious—about exactly what and how food is made and gets to our table.

If you are following the trend of U.S. consumers, you are buying more organic foods and caring where it comes from. Despite the good intent behind this shift, organic foods still cost quite a bit more than the conventional alternative. According to Organic.org, organic foods cost about 42% more on average than the conventional or store brand. There are some instances where some organic grocery items actually cost less but the average overall is higher for the healthier choice.

But don’t let this difference in price at your local store and farmer’s markets dissuade you. There are many produce items you can grow yourself at home to put your mind at ease knowing where it came from (you!), how it was grown, and what was used to grow it.

Starting a Deck Garden

Enjoy the healthy benefits and ethical appeal of growing your own deck garden! You don’t need to be a farmer or have a lot of land to start growing your own edible plants. However, you should ask yourself these questions before you dig into deck gardening:

  1. How much space do you want to dedicate to your garden? You have many options just on your deck. If you’re fully committed, you can put in a whole gardening planter box that takes up most of your deck. If you’re not ready to give up all that sitting space, place a few small pots on top of your rail or build a wall planter along the siding of your house on your deck.
  2. How much sunlight does your deck get? Most plants and veggies do best with 14-16 hours of sunlight. Before you start planting these types of needy plants, take note of how many hours of sunlight your deck receives and whether there are other houses, trees or buildings that get in the way of the sun.
  3. How windy is it in your area? The windier it is, the more dried out your plants can become. If this is the case, you will need to set up a self-watering or drip irrigation system if you are not willing to water your plants yourselves a few times every day.
  4. What kind of edible plants do you want to plant? If you’re trying to grow an avocado tree, you will have to dedicate quite a bit of space. On the other hand, if you’re content with a small herb garden, the space on the top of your railing will do just fine!

If you’re ready to commit to growing deck garden, read on for some deck garden ideas and tips on how to grow a deck garden!

Deck Gardening Tips

Growing a garden on your deck is quite easy—mostly because you control how large or small it’ll be and the types of plant that will make up your deck garden.

If you’re just starting a deck garden and you still need to decide on the container it’ll be held in, consider the following options:

  • Make a pallet box out of extra pallets (this will be quite large)
  • Use window boxes and attach them to the railing around your deck
  • Use a variety of small and large pots and place them on the floor of your deck for security
  • Find random, unique objects. Seriously, any object that holds things will work—from old tires to plastic containers, you can plant in nearly anything
  • Make a wall planter along the side of your house on the deck

As a starter, follow some of these tips when you’re starting out your deck garden:

  • Purchase potting mix or make your own; this mix should be light and well-draining
  • Use well draining pots and containers. If you don’t have a well-draining pot, put some sand or rocks in the bottom of a pot or container to let water drip through to the bottom
  • Each plant grows best in slightly different soil so test some out and make sure to fertilize often
  • Herbs will be some of the easiest, quickest edible plants to get you started off deck gardening
  • If you’re growing citrus plants or an avocado tree, these can get large over a long period of time
  • Plants don’t like to be crowded in a small pot, even if it’s to fill up a large pot. Your plants will grow so don’t let them suffocate or transplant them into separate pots in a timely manner
  • Most plants will not survive outdoors in cold weather so remember to bring your friends indoors when the weather is no longer ideal for deck gardening

Fredericksburg has great climate, without too much wind, to be a perfect location for deck gardening. Start your little plants indoors and move them onto your deck in the spring for a whole lot of sunshine! Contact us today to learn more about the area and our homes in Fredericksburg.

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