Deck Gardening

Congratulations, Auntie Em! You’re the winner we drew for the OKA b. Shoes, made here in the U.S. partially from recycled materials! Go to the OKA b. website, choose the style and send me your shipping address and shoe size by tomorrow (Tuesday April 20 at 5 p.m. CST) to claim your prize! My email: Thanks to all of my readers who participated in the drawing, and thanks to OKA b. Shoes for participating in this Earth Day giveaway! If you didn’t win, please consider buying your summer sandals from OKA b., I know I’ve already got my pair picked out!

Buddy Planted Himself in a Flower Pot

As spring unfolds here at The Little House, it means getting the party deck ready for long afternoons with a book, backyard bar-b-ques, and stargazing.

I consider myself a “deck gardener,” mostly because I’ve never had a yard that compliments any type of real gardening skills.

In the city, our yard was pie shaped, with the wider of the ends toward the front of the yard. We had one large tree in the middle of the backyard, which shaded our yard, as well as part of the neighbors. We also had the utility box for the whole block’s power and cable parked in the center of our yard by the back fence. Both obstacles made planting difficult and once we had the house treated for termites, we could not plant anything around the barrier of the house either.

Buddy won't be able to rest in the flower pots next week!

Here at the Little House, it’s almost impossible to plant. The terrain is rock and the soil is really just red clay. Even the trees have a hard time rooting on the sides of these mountains, which is why they fall so easily in storms.

So, my deck gardening continued here and I take great pride in making the deck as colorful and fragrant as possible each year.

Right now, the only thing planted in my flower pots is Buddy. He likes to rest in one big one after a few lapse around the house with Sade and Emma.

But I will start my summer deck garden very soon. My favorite potted plants are geraniums. I think their look is beautiful and I love the idea of “dead heading” them when the old blooms wilt to make room for the new ones.

I put a few filler plants in the pots, including a couple of grassy spikes and let them work their magic.

Add a couple of big pots with smaller cherry tomato plants, a hanging basket or two with some grape tomatoes and I not only have a pretty combination of plants, but ones I can just pick lunch off of on my way from The Belle Writer’s Studio each day.

How about you? Are you a yard gardener, deck gardener, or both?

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30 Responses

  1. Brandy says:

    Buddys really cute. Its amazing he did that. My Carlie did that too. Hes too big but climbed up in a flower pot hanging over resting.

  2. Vida says:

    I discovered gardening when I acquired land for one. Our garden was a steeply sloping olive grove full of thistles and weeds that dried to a brown crisp in summer. Slowly, we built retaining walls for terraces, laid paths and steps. Then we planted drought resistant plants like rosemary, lavender, sage and cheerful flowering bushes like margaritas. We installed a drip irrigation system ourselves after having nursed our plants through the first scorching summer. We also built raised beds on terraces for our vegetables and now I grow 60 tomato plants a year, along with peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melon, okra,squash and some chinese veggies! It’s hard work and the garden still has a long way to go but we love it! Now in spring the garden is blooming gloriously. Guess you could call us yard gardeners….

    Love the pics of Buddy, what a sweetheart! Is he fitting in with the pack?

  3. Tami says:

    I’m both. I love having a “yard” garden and also like to have things on my deck, within easy reach of the kitchen. Unfortunately, since moving into this house 2 years ago, I haven’t had much luck with either. The first year we lived here I knew there wasn’t time to get the ground ready for a veggie garden so I rented a plot at the community garden. While inexpensive, this did not work out well for us. At the time my kiddos were 2 and 3. There were people driving in and out constantly which leant to careful watching of the children. People around me used pesticides, I did not and then I had a neighbor who completely neglected her plot which meant I had a battle and a half with weeds in mine. Add to that going daily, leaving all of the equipment in the trunk of my car which ended up a mud pit and people freely walking through the plot taking our harvest…I opted not to do it last year. My husband isn’t as keen on gardening as I am and I can’t start the tiller so no garden. This year the tiller is dead. 🙁 I have all of my seeds ready to go but a dead tiller. As for the deck here, it seems to be in it’s own microclimate. I can’t keep anything but mint, basil and thyme alive on it. Very, very hot on the deck. I should try planting ochre in a pot on the deck. I bet it would do marvelously where as it won’t grow in the garden here. Not enough hot days.

    • kerri says:

      Sorry to hear of your problems with gardening, Tami! Maybe some readers here can come up with some suggestions.

    • Kim says:

      Tami, look into “lasagna” gardening– you can build a great garden without any tilling.

      That’s how I built my little garden out behind our house– in Kerri’s region. I garden in pots at my husband’s office (just flowers) and in a few at home, but my veggies and herbs are all in the ground.

  4. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    I enjoy gardening but don’t have alot of time for it, so I keep it limited. Last year put in a flower bed in the front of the house. For the most part using native plants, with a border of lavender. Since I’m out at the barn everyday, I planted 2 tomato plants in pots. Last year I planted purslane in an old wheelbarrow. I loved the bright color through the summer heat. I let them go the seed and they are just now starting to sprout.

    Kerri, I made a batch of soap this weekend. Thanks for the challenge to do something green in the month of April. I saw a gardening idea and thought of you, rain gutters were mounted in several rows on a wall, filled with soil and planted with veges, like lettuce, etc. A way to bypass your rocky soil and keep out of the reach of deer. Tomato cages in/around the pots may help keep Buddy out once you put plants in them. Right now my front flower bed looks like I’m growing old bunny cages to protect the plants and keep the dogs out.

    Happy Gardening!

  5. Buddy reminds me of the pictures of human babies in flower pots. I do hanging baskets, a woodland garden and a herb garden, No vegetable garden, but I was thinking of planting some in a long pot. My herbs have been doing better since I planted them in pots that I buried in the herb garden soil.

  6. Sharon Waldrop says:

    I discovered the job of yard gardening last season and I am hooked! We have 15 acres and plenty of room to plant all the fruits, flowers, and veggies I want to grow. But one thing I need to remember is not to grow more than I can water and take care of! That’s the problem for me! I love the picture of Buddy!

  7. This is my third year of gardening and I really enjoy it. My husband built some raised beds and we’ve made the side yard the major garden area. But, I also use other areas in the rest of the yard, too. I grow vegetables, herbs, strawberries, raspberries. I’ve started seeds indoors and the little plants are growing, well. I can’t plant outdoors until around May 15th because of the late frost. Gardening is so rewarding.

  8. Alexandra says:

    Love that photo of Buddy, about to bloom! I have a large garden, too large, really. I love flowers. They make me happy. And I agree about geraniums. They are so carefree and satisfying.

  9. Cindyt says:

    Both…that being said this will be my first year gardening at the new little Lake House. Which is opposite in space as my old City house. I have a little yard garden area and mostly in sage so I am planning on shade plants with lots of impatiens thrown in for color. Here I have a HUGEMONGOUS Deck. So where a few pots on my little patio deck last year was possible they would look dinky and get lost here…so I will be buying some new pots and bigger ones too as I want to put some Cherry tomatoes in as well as some Peppers. The Deck gets better sun than the yard. I love your little “be(eagle)gonia” as Kathleen called him! Too Cute! Cindyt

  10. Kathleen Winn says:

    I love to garden, but so far it’s been in our yard not our deck. We just had the deck built last summer, so haven’t really had an opportunity yet to do container gardening. I’m not a big fan of annuals, since they have to be purchased and planted every year. I like flowers that come up on their own and don’t cost anything after the initial purchase. But- the deck looks pretty bare and really does need some flowers to dress it up.

    My favorite gardening spot is in front of our house, underneath a big apple tree. It’s a shade garden that I’ve been working on for about five years. I have tried as much as possible to use native plants. I don’t like an extremely manicured look to my garden, want it to look somewhat natural, as if it’s a piece of forest picked up and deposited under my apple tree. It might be a little too “wild” looking for some gardeners, but I really enjoy using native plants. They are beneficial for bees and butterflies and also don’t need a lot of maintenance. They know how to thrive in Kansas summers.

    Love the picture of your little potted be(eagle)gonia! Hahaha!

  11. Susan says:

    Congrats Auntie Em on your winning.

    I do both. Hopefully this year will be better after coming out of a 2 year drought ( We had 60 days of 100 + temps and no rain; last summer the weeds wouldn’t even grow in the garden. )and then a cold winter for our area. Lost almost all my potted plants that normally would have survived the winters here in south Texas. Seeds that I planted last fall I am still harvesting from…cabbage and some lettuces. So far I have planted 10 tomato plants and some have fruit already, different pepper plants, beans, peas, leek, radishes,lettuces,yellow squash and zuchinni. Have onion sets I need to put out.
    Plus have 2 mandarin orange trees that need planting and a lemon and lime trees. (those I got last year and didn’t plant) :O

    Buddy sure is cute curled up in the pot…my cats will do that. Just hope he doesn’t decide to do that once you put new plants in them.

    PS So are you going to keep Buddy or is he awaiting a new home.

    • kerri says:

      Hi, Susan, Buddy is a cutie, isn’t he? We’re meeting someone who wants to adopt him tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. He’s an older gentleman with a Beagle already. Buddy gets along very well with the girls now. It will be tough to let him go, but this man only has one other dog and he thinks his dog needs a brother, so Buddy would probably be better off there.

  12. Pam Spruk says:

    I am both! However, as you know, I am now running into the same issues you face with the mountain. We are currently in the process of building flower beds for my many planting wants. The other issue we face are the deer. It seems they love the same plants and trees that we do! I am going to be planting a salsa garden on our deck this year. As well as some lettuce and tomato in hanging baskets. Any advise you can pass on I would welcome!

    • kerri says:

      I’ve never done well with veggies on the deck, Pam. The only thing that turned out well last year were the grape tomatoes in a hanging basket last year. I’m doing those again, as well as trying some cherry tomatoes in some very large pots.
      I’m veggie gardening up at the neighbors this year.

  1. April 19, 2010

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