The idea for a patio container garden came to me last year. It probably happened during my “houseplant” phase in which I obsessively purchased and repotted plants for indoor use. It just seemed a better use of that semi-outdoor space than storage of gear and unwanted items. Well, this is the year we make it happen. Now that we’ve successfully kept those houseplants alive all winter, I have the confidence to transform the porch into a garden oasis.
While this blog post has indeed been longer than the average tweet, dear reader, stay with me. Here’s the vision. Along with everyday potted houseplants, our magical upstairs garden will contain a number of hanging baskets, plants grown from seed in our greenhouse nursery (more on the nursery in a bit), and if all goes well, a generous selection of edibles including lettuce, nasturtium, zucchini, tomato, strawberry, and herbs. It’s basically an episode of reality gardening on HGTV… spread out over an entire growing season, in written form with a much smaller budget, and completely naive producers.
If you intend to start seeds in New England in March, as we have done, your average windowsill won’t get enough light. It’s best to supplement with artificial light until your plants are ready to bring outside. That’s why we grow from seed in our semi-DIY nursery greenhouse. For about $100 from Lowe’s we built a delightful lighted nursery for seed starts as well as small plants. We did this by walking into Lowe’s, acting completely clueless (or in our case actually being completely clueless), and asking the friendly staff for help.
Next time, on the Upstairs Garden, we’ll look at what plants are growing, which plants we wished were growing but died, and which plants are thriving in our humble zone-4 apartment. With patience and a head-start you too can successfully grow an indoor container garden on a budget.