The reasons for considering patio container gardening are numerous. Perhaps you do not have a yard to plant a traditional garden in, especially if you live in a condominium or an apartment. Or, maybe the yard you do have is not suitable because the soil is either too dense or too sandy and would need extensive amending to be usable. It is also possible that you have a nice grassy lawn you do not want to dig up to plant a garden, but you still want the pleasure of having one.
Other reasons to have a container garden may be the convenience of having herbs and vegetables close to the kitchen for the use of the cook. Persons with limited mobility such as elders or those with disabilities can still access gardening pleasures this way also. Plus, a container garden can be moved about and rearranged in numerous ways that are pleasing and useful.
Of course, for this type of garden, the first thing to consider is containers, with regard to types, sizes, and suitability for the plants you will want to grow. There are many traditional types of materials, such as ceramic, terra cotta, and wood. Also available are such things as wire baskets, wicker baskets, and metallic planters. Or, let your imagination run wild by finding novelty containers such as old boots and vintage buckets, to name just a few examples.
One of the essential features of whatever container you choose is drainage. One or more holes must be present so that water can escape. Otherwise, the roots of the plant will remain too wet, which can harm or kill it. Typical commercial garden pots will already have holes in the bottom, but be sure to check. If drainage holes are not already there, you will need to make some. This may well be the case for novelty containers that you may wish to use.
With regard to soil or planting mixture, it may be possible to use regular soil from your yard if it has the right consistency. This means it will allow good drainage, but is not so sandy that water runs off before the plants have a chance to use it. If yard soil is not appropriate or not available, commercial potting soils are generally good for containers.
Watering a container garden involves more care and often more frequency than a garden planted in the ground. Moisture will evaporate more quickly, depending upon factors like container material, temperature, the requirements of different plants, and drainage. During hot weather it may be necessary to water daily or even more than once a day to maintain your plants properly.
This type of gardening need not be expensive, especially if you look for sources of materials outside your local hardware store or nursery. Often you can find bargains at estate or yard sales, or in thrift shops. Your local classified ads may lead you to inexpensive or even free materials such as dirt from a local building site. Amending the dirt as needed may still be cheaper than purchased potting soil, especially in large quantities.
There are many books and online resources to help you get started with patio container gardening. You can also involve children, elders, other family members and friends in your garden project. The rewards are many, including beautiful flowers, fresh vegetables and herbs, and the pleasure of arranging your containers in new and exciting displays, all with great convenience.