Living in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy plants by creating a deck garden. (File photo)

Column: Making space for a garden

Patio and deck gardens are a solution for a small space

With many of us living in smaller spaces, such as condos and apartments where there is little or no soil beneath our feet, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening.

If you would love to be surrounded by vegetables, herbs, flowers or shrubs, why not try container gardening? Container gardening is easy and it allows you to grow and enjoy a large variety of plants in the smallest of spaces.

There are many beautiful and well thought out planters on the market today. They are designed to accommodate countless different kinds of outdoor living spaces. There are also several excellent kinds of raised garden boxes making bending over less of an issue.

No matter if you are looking to do a flower, shrub or a veggie garden, remember the smaller the container the more water it will require.

Maintaining appropriate watering requirements is extremely important to a container’s survival. There are many factors that determine the water needs of plants in containers: weather, pot material and size, placement.

Rule of thumb for watering is water once a day during hot and dry weather and every other day during cooler times.

I like to check soil moisture by poking a finger into the soil. If it feels dry, water enough so the water runs out of the bottom of the pot.

Before purchasing your containers it is always good to make a list of the plants that you would like to grow and their requirements; especially depth of soil and if stakes or trellises will be needed. Using trellises to support vines and taller plants will extend plant production and create interest in any small space.

When planting select plant varieties that share the same growing conditions; such as the soil, light, water and nourishment needs.

It is important to use a good potting soil for your containers. This excludes soil that comes from your outdoor garden. Regular garden soil compacts very quickly, therefore preventing water to penetrate easily and becoming too dense to allow for good root growth.

A good potting soil mixture will be fluffy and provide enough air, moisture and nutrition for good overall plant growth.

Today’s soil manufactures have potting soils down to a science. They are all well labelled and describe the best usage. If you are not sure which potting soil will be right for you don’t hesitate to ask a nursery staff member.

Elke Lange is a landscape coach who can be found at Kel-lake Greenhouses or online at

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