How to Build a Victory Patio Garden
If you’re interested in making the most out of your vacant patio, building a victory garden is an excellent choice. Creating a victory patio garden is when you grow fruits and vegetables in your own backyard.
It’s a way to provide healthy and organic food to your family while also reducing your carbon footprint. Best of all, it’s not expensive to build one, and you can get started right away.
However, it’s essential to know that growing any type of garden requires patience and hard work. But it’s totally worth it once you take your first bite out of the delicious food you’ve grown.
In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what victory patio gardens are and how you can build one.
Let’s build a patio garden!
A victory patio garden is typically a fruit and vegetable garden. Patios are usually flat surfaces that attract plenty of sunlight, so growing potted plants on them is perfect.
Victory gardens became popular in World War I and World War II as a way to supplement rations and boost morale, hence the name “victory garden.” Victory gardens were grown in every spare plot of land possible, including parks, public grounds, churchyards, and playgrounds.
They were used to produce large quantities of food quickly and efficiently while stabilizing the country’s food supply during war shortages.
In modern times, victory patio gardens are still very important.
Let’s talk about why you should grow an at-home victory patio garden.
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Growing a victory patio garden is a way to produce chemical-free vegetables and fruits, stretch your food budget, and help the environment. It’s also a healthy lifetime hobby that you can constantly improve on.
If you have children, you can get them involved as well. Growing a victory patio garden helps to build rewarding lifelong habits for your children, such as patience and discipline. You’re also able to get fresh air and spend time in the great outdoors.
Simply put, food tastes better when you grow it by yourself. There’s a certain sensation that comes with it that I highly recommend experiencing.
The best time to grow a victory patio garden depends on where you’re located. However, it’s never too early to begin planning and prepping yourself for this great adventure.
Reference the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to see when the best time to grow an outdoor garden is for your region. The USDA developed this map to help gardeners and growers determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a particular location. It also explains when the threat of frost has passed and that it’s safe to grow outdoors.
In the meantime, you can start growing seeds indoors (generally four to eight weeks before outdoor growing begins) and move the seedlings to your garden once the weather permits it.
In addition to your plant seeds, which I discuss further below, there are a few essential supplies to prepare.
Since you can’t feasibly put soil over your patio to start your garden, you will need a set of containers to house your plants. You can either use big containers to hold several plants or smaller pots for individual plants.
However, you can grow your plants in any type of container as long as there is a drainage hole in the bottom. I prefer glazed ceramic and plastic, but I’ve seen milk crates and big wooden boxes being used as well.
Furthermore, I recommend using larger pots than smaller ones. The larger the pot is, the more soil it holds. A more considerable amount of soil means that there is more room for roots to grow and less watering required.
Potting soil consists of a variety of ingredients that provide a healthy environment for potted plants to grow and prosper. When growing your produce in containers, I don’t recommend using soil from the ground. Ground soil doesn’t drain well and is very heavy.
Your local garden center will have a variety of potting soils to choose from, with some being better than others. It’s best to use organic potting soil for your victory patio garden.
Complete Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizer nourishes the soil and maintains a healthy balance of elements and minerals for your plants all season long.
Compost, along with outstanding soil conditioners and organic matter, contain all the nutrients plants need to prosper. Add compost to the soil at planting time and along the soil surface during the growing season with the plant rows.
Even if you live at an apartment, you can create your own compost bin to support the health of your crops. This process involves getting a compost bin, worms, and potting soil.
Then, you can add nutrient-rich food scraps such as vegetables and grains every two weeks.
Check out this apartment composting guide if you want to learn how to create an at-home compost bin,
If you’re planting any vegetables in the brassica family (kale, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, etc.), adding dolomite lime will adjust the soil’s pH level to the preferred alkaline environment.
Composted manure is the next best option when you’re short on compost. You can find a wide variety of composted manure at garden centers.
Neem oil is an excellent natural insecticide to keep available when pests invade your garden. It can prevent and eliminate aphids, cabbage moths, and other insects.
Floating Row Cover
A floating row cover protects young seedlings from extreme weather and pests.
Purchasing the right-sized containers is the first essential step in growing a successful patio garden.
- Minimum of 10-15 gallons: for extra-large vegetables, including winter squash, pumpkins, melons, artichokes, and full-sized indeterminate tomatoes
- Minimum of 8-10 gallons: for large fruits and vegetables, including eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash
- Minimum of 5-8 gallons: for medium-sized fruits and vegetables, including cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, okra, and tomatoes
- Minimum of 1-2 gallons: for small-sized fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, kale, collards, spinach, herbs, and other greens
Furthermore, plants that a typically grown in a group, such as peas, bush beans, onions, carrots, radish, and turnips, can be planted in any size container, as long as the plants are spaced at an appropriate distance for optimal growth. The container also needs to be deep enough for the roots to grow.
Now it’s time to discuss how to grow your beautiful victory patio garden.
1. Choose Your Plants
The first step is to choose which vegetables and fruits you want to grow in your new garden.
Traditional victory gardens consist of foods that are high in nutrition, including beets, beans, carrots, peas, tomatoes, kale, turnips, squash, and lettuce.
While these are wonderful plants to grow, I recommend that you grow whatever you and your family enjoy eating. You can grow cucumbers, watermelon, sweet potatoes, spinach, peppers, onions, eggplant, celery, and much more.
It all comes down to what foods you’ll get the most value from.
2. Plan Your Garden
Next, you need to plan your garden logistically.
Grab a sheet of graph paper and create an accurate outline of your patio. You should measure the dimensions of your patio beforehand.
Then, conduct some research on the plants you want to grow and discover how big their mature sizes are. Afterward, draw out where each plant will go and see how many plants you can fit in your victory patio garden.
You will then need to decide if you want to buy starter plants or start the garden with seeds.
Although it’s rewarding and an excellent experience to begin your plants from seeds, it’s recommended to start your garden with healthy and robust starter plants.
3. Prepare Your Space
Make sure your patio has plenty of sunlight. If tree branches are covering the patio, I recommend removing them so that there is minimal shade on your patio. Then, gather all your supplies and get ready to plant your victory patio garden.
If you can’t remove the shade from your patio garden, there are two solutions we recommend.
First, you can invest grow crops that are specifically resistant to shade. A few shade-tolerant crops include kale, lettuce, spinach, blackberries, and cilantro.
In general, green and leafy crops are suited for shaded patio gardens because of their large surfaces for photosynthesis.
The second solution is to grow your crops in containers you can easily move to a sunlit part of your garden throughout the day. You can also invest in a tiny greenhouse and place it on an unshaded area in your yard.
4. Plant Your Victory Patio Garden
If you’re planting seeds, follow the instructions on the seed packet. Make sure that the weather is appropriate for outdoor planting. Although some seeds can grow with a bit of frost present, others need to stay inside until the threat of frost is completely gone.
Plant your seeds directly into your potting soil and ensure each seed is at the correct depth and distance from the other. Try digging all your holes first and then drop the seeds in and cover them with soil.
If you choose to use starter plants, carefully take them out of their containers and gently loosen the outer roots. Then, dig a small hole in your potting soil so that the roots comfortably fit within the pot. Place the plant inside the hole and then fill in the hole to cover all the roots.
Once again, ensure that there is enough space between each plant if you’re using large containers. It may look unusual to have small plants spaced so far apart, but those babies will turn into full-grown adults and completely fill the container when summertime arrives.
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5. Water Your Garden
Watering is the most time-consuming and essential task when growing a victory patio garden.
Do not ignore or neglect this task because your plants won’t grow properly if you do so. As such, you need to water your plants deeply as frequently as they need it.
During the summertime, you need to water them every day.
The watering process consists of holding the hose directly on the soil of each pot for several minutes. Let the water penetrate the pot deeply and drain out of the hole on the bottom of the pot.
Repeat this process two or three times per pot when the weather is dry and hot.
6. Feed Your Garden
The next step is to feed and fertilize your lovely plants.
If you use organic potting soil that features a natural, slow-release fertilizer, you don’t need to feed your garden again until mid or late summer.
However, if you didn’t use a natural, slow-release fertilizer, I recommend using a liquid organic fertilizer. Every three to four weeks, mix in the fertilizer as you water your plants.
Edible plants like fruits and vegetables are known for pulling nutrients from the soil, so fertilization is essential.
7. Manage Weed Growth
Contrary to popular belief, weeds can also grow in potted plants. For this reason, you should monitor your plants closely and pull out any baby weeds you see pop up. You’ll be amazed at how quickly weeds can appear if you’re not paying close attention.
8. Support and Harvest Your Plants
In addition to watering, fertilizing, and managing weed growth, provide the necessary support to your plants that need it. This consists of using a stake, trellis, or tomato cage to keep tall plants upright.
This also involves giving each of your plants the proper amount of sunlight and keeping an eye on how much shade is covering your patio.
Once your plants are ready to harvest, you’ll need to harvest your victory patio garden regularly. Head out to your garden every day and inspect your plants to see which ones are ripe.
Most vegetables produce better when they are regularly harvested, including tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, and zucchini.
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Closing Thoughts on Building a Victory Patio Garden
I hope this guide was beneficial for you as you embark on your new adventure of growing a victory patio garden. Growing a patio garden is rewarding both financially and spiritually.
There’s nothing more precious than growing something out of nothing and being able to consume your own fruits and vegetables. Although you’ll likely make a few mistakes along the way, it’s all a part of the process.
As time goes on, you’ll become more of an expert and begin learning gardening skills quickly and efficiently.