How to start a terrace garden

Just because you don't have room for a garden doesn't mean you can't have one. Tips for starting a terrace garden.

If you live in the city, an apartment or even a house you might not have room for a garden. Even if you'd love to have a garden they take up space and sometimes there simply isn't enough to accommodate one. If you have a terrace or patio though, you can still have a garden that will give you fresh fruits, vegetables, even flowers.

Although your entire garden will have to be grown in pots you'll be surprised at just how much one plant can produce. Because the pots have a chance of blowing away during a storm purchase heavy pots, like terra cotta. Terra cotta pots are not that expensive and are weighty enough to withstand most storms. They can be painted to look beautiful or used as they are. Along with the terra cotta pots are accompanying dishes which are placed under the pot to hold water. If you are using lightweight pots secure them by placing rocks or travel in the bottoms.

It's hard to determine exactly how many plants will grow from a packet of seeds. A general rule of thumb is to place about 10 tiny seeds, like tomato, in a pot. Larger seeds, like watermelon, should be placed in a pot 3 or 4 at a time. You can also buy pre-potted plants. The plants are started and already growing and you simply have to transplant them into a larger pot.

When first beginning the garden label the pots so you'll know what each contains. There are various ways to label the pots. You can print stickers then cover them with clear adhesive tape or make little signs on toothpicks to place in the pot.

Make a list of what you want to plant. Some things won't work well with a terrace garden like potatoes. Potatoes grow aplenty underground and would require huge, heavy pots to grow on a terrace. Keep in mind how your terrace is built before selecting what you'll grow. If your terrace hangs above ground it won't hold the weight that a slab terrace on the ground can hold. Check the weight limits on above-ground terraces before piling on the weight.

Some terraces might not be ideal for growing a large number of plants. A terrace should have a good drainage system, preferably faces south and has access to a garden hose.

Purchase fertilizer that is manufactured for the growth of food plants. Use the fertilizer according to package instructions. Large fruits and vegetables, like pumpkins or watermelons, have to be turned as they begin to bear fruit. Turn them a quarter-turn every week to prevent rotting on one side.

If you've never gardened before check out some books from the library or go online to find out more about the particular plants you're growing and how to care for them. Some plants have to have plenty of water whereas others need little. Some plants have to have almost constant sunshine where others can live with little. Don't forget to save the seeds from some of your plants, like cucumbers, to use for your next garden.

© High Speed Ventures 2011