Building a Deck Garden Foundation
Now that I have the equipment, I start to layout how the container / deck garden is going to fit and work on the deck. I have six 18 gallon containers and a good sized deck to work with. Installing the drip irrigation system is the next step.
I’ve selected the location for the container / deck garden on my deck. The deck faces North which should provide some protection for the planter boxes and drip irrigation system from the brutal Texas Summer heat. The deck is also very convenient and addresses a problem where I’ve failed gardening in the past – the garden was too far from the house and I didn’t tend it frequently enough. Walking out the back door and another 5 steps should solve that problem!
This deck garden system is going to require a timer to control the watering system.
I’m not going to be able to reliably do it myself and the deck garden is probably going to need water at least twice daily.
This is the expected layout of the main hose of the inexpensive drip irrigation system along the deck railing. Hopefully, the dogs and cats will leave it alone and it should also provide fairly easy access in the event that I need to make some sort of repair.
This is the initial layout and spacing of the containers for the deck garden.
Without any experience, I’m going to try to strike the right balance between compactness to get ins many containers as I can and spacing that will allow the plants in each container to have sufficient room for growth. I suspect that they are going to be very heavy when full of dirt and plants so getting it right the first times going to be important.
The containers for the deck garden have drainage holes drilled in the bottom so that excess water can drain out.
Because of that, they will need to be lifted off of the deck floor to keep those drain holes from getting clogged. Cinder blocks were handy and appear to get the containers up to a height that will prevent me from bending over to manage the plants. I was hoping that a single cinder block would suffice but it doesn’t appear that will provide adequate support.
Two cinder blocks for each deck garden container looks much more stable. I have couple of rambunctious dogs!
Everything looks good, stable and well spaced to proceed. Next week, timer and hose hookup.
Container Gardening – The Beginning…
My journey to container gardening began with how I’ve been on a diet recently and have become very interested in the quality of food that I eat. Additionally, I’ve also noticed that the cost of food continues to rise – often faster than inflation. I’m not sure when or if this “recession” is going to end for the average family so it seems to make sense to take advantage of a little home gardening – more specifically, container gardening. I’ve had yard gardens in the past but find that I neglect them because they are further out in the back yard and the hustle & bustle of our normal lives doesn’t really leave a lot of time for “gardening” – even in a small garden. We also live on the side of a hill with a very convenient (and large) deck so the idea of having a container garden really handy out on the deck appeals to me – a lot. Since I don’t know anything about container gardening, I did some searching and found what I think is a really good, basic book.
McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits and Edible Flowers
I’ve skimmed through it and like that the information about getting setup is somewhat generic and offers me a lot of options and alternatives. The other container gardening books I looked at all seemed to point me in the direction of a single way of doing things. Part of the excitement & fulfillment of this little adventure is learning how and what to do – with some guidance to keep me from completely failing. My next step is to go back through the book in a little more detail to develop an initial plan. I need to hurry though, it’s already the end of February and although the cold weather has been rather long this year for Texas (it snowed in Austin last Tuesday!), the grass is already green.
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Inexpensive Drip Irrigation System for Container Gardening
Update from 7/6/11 – in hindsight, I should have considered an inexpensive drip irrigation system as well. It was short sighted to think that I would have the discipline to water daily as deck container garden plants need instead of using a drip irrigation system for my container gardening. It was easy to install the home garden irrigation system – it came in a simple kit that had almost everything I needed.
Container Gardening Update May 2012
I thought it would be worthwhile to update some of my older posts on container gardening since my experiments of two years didn’t prove to be as successful as I’d like. The process of container gardening was wonderful and my daughters and I learned a lot. And, we were marginally successful in that some of the plants bore fruit and we did enjoy eating them and it was super convenient to have them right out on the deck. However, the very high Texas Summer heat just blistered the plants, even after I installed my own drip irrigation system. So, I decided to move the garden to a raised bed garden use my rainwater collection system and attempt square foot gardening. It should solve the problem of very high heat hurting the plants.