Even if you don’t have a pot to put a pea in, you will be surprised to learn you have enough space for a garden on your balcony, patio or outside your studio apartment window. Why not grow an “Edible Sunshine Theme Garden” in a container on your balcony? You’ll harvest cherry tomatoes, thyme, sage, marjoram and have edible flowers such as Daylilies and Calendula to dazzle your display all summer long.
Or if you can squeeze in a planter 2 feet wide a “Dinner at the Four Seasons Theme Garden” settles your reservations. This patio pot has an 8 foot tall columnar apple tree (no branches but plenty of fruit) smack dab in the middle. In spring, Malabar spinach will climb up the tree trunk and sprigs of chives will ward off apple scab. When the spinach is harvested plant dwarf basil and Tagetes marigolds (a.k.a. Mexican Tarragon with marigold colored single flowers in clusters). Okay, then, when the basil is nipped by frost plunk in some pansies there. Get the idea? Wonderful, huh? We’re not stopping until every terrace, rooftop, houseboat or porch has a pot with not only a pea inside but just about anything else you can harvest, eat and enjoy as well. Where do you find the creativity to pull it all off? These concepts are mere snap shots of wisdom from a wonderful new book that takes all the guess work out of patio gardening. “The Bountiful Container” by two Oregon women Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey can be gobbled up all at once or nibbled bit by bit. Look, I’m not a book reviewer. I read. I garden. (I think both make me uniquely qualified to blather on about garden books that are worth our time because they save us time.) But let me tell you, these authors have done the leg work for us. Rose Marie is president of Nichols Garden Nursery one of the best specialty seed nurseries. And garden author Maggie Stuckey lives in a condominium brimming with a bountiful container or two or three on a concrete patio no bigger “than a picnic table”. Their book is chock full of gardening secrets we can all use. From tips on growing “Powerful Peppers” (place one paper match from a cardboard book of matches and a spoonful of crushed egg shells in the soil under every transplant!) to advice on preventing pot pillaging from your porch (thread a metal cable through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot before you fill it and fasten the other end to something stationary, such as a handrail or drainpipe.) The Bountiful Container has a zillion ideas with step by step instructions on each one. Heck this book could write the reunion script for Green Acres in the city. In this episode, Eva Gabor would adore her penthouse view while hubby is a city farmer out on the balcony.