New Season = New Deck Garden

Winter is quickly drawing to a close here in Central Texas and it is time to begin thinking about planting a new deck garden. My deck container garden ended poorly last year, primarily due to very high temperatures from the heat radiated from the deck back into the planter boxes. I used a soil thermometer to record temperatures well over 100 degrees in each planter box.

My plan this year includes building light weight wooden shields for each of my planter boxes in my container garden. This should help me reduce the reflected heat from the deck back into the plant pots. I will continue to monitor the soil temperature each week with my soil thermometer.

I also learned last year that I probably put too many plants in each plant pot. So, this year, instead of 4 to 10 plants in each plant container, I’m only going to plant a couple in each plant pot.

I have 6 plant pots on my deck and each is watered with a drip watering system. I plan to plant the following plants in my container garden.

  • 3 containers of tomatoes – one plant in each plant pot
  • 2 containers of cucumbers – no more than 4 plants in each garden container
  • 1 container of peppers – probably two different types of peppers

Peppers In Garden Container

My peppers in my container garden last year did quite well. If they do well enough, I may just convert the whole thing into a pepper garden!

Container Garden Tomatoes

My single plant container garden tomatoes did very well when they weren’t crowded by other plants.

Once again, I’m only going to plant a container garden. I am not going to plant a raised bed garden for comparison this year.

The weather is warming up quickly and the garden stores are starting to show their early delivery of plant containers. Unfortunately, I have such a busy schedule that I won’t be able to get to the initial planting of the container garden until the last weekend in March.



Soil Temperature Problems in the Deck Container Gardens

Soil Temperature Problems Start Arising in the Deck Container Gardens…

I asked the County Extension Agent to visit one day and help me find out what might be holding back the growth of my plants in the deck container gardens. The typical summer temperatures in Texas in the Summer range from 80 in the morning to well over 100 in the afternoon. The County Extension Agent thought that the soil temperature may be too hot from the reflected sunlight heating up the sides of the deck containers.

I purchased a soil thermometer from Amazon to test the soil temperature in the deck container gardens.


I measured the temperature of the soil in the deck container gardens and the temperature at 6PM was 104 degrees.

Raised Garden Soil Thermometer

I measured the temperature of the soil in the raised deck container gardens and the temperature at 6PM was 82 degrees.

It is clear that I need some way to shade or cool the soil for the deck container gardens to be successful.


Time for Tomato Cages

My container tomato plants are tall enough now that they need some support. I wanted to build a support system that would be usable for all of my plant containers.


I bought “hog panels” at the Tractor Supply Store and some inexpensive aluminum conduit to build the support system.


I measured and cut them all prior to assembling them.


I assembled them with small hose clamps to allow me to adjust the height as needed.


Here, you can see how the height is adjustable for the cucumber plants.


This approach also worked well to support the tomato plants. In the past, with a raised bed garden, I simply used a wire cage but since this is on my deck and visible every day, I wanted something a bit more sturdy and attractive.