The opportunity for “deckening*” is at hand, right out my door. However I’ve never loved growing plants in pots, at least not as a sole point of interest. In fact, when I get to the section on the latest container garden arrangements in nearly any and all gardening publication I hastily skip to the next article. Those people who put them together, the designers, always seem a bit stuffy and the pairings far too contrived for my liking. Now I see I’ve been short sighted and just a tad bit snobby.
I’ve decided it’s time to embrace my inner, container gardener. Starting with a few native, drought tolerant or otherwise edible selections: Rosemary, party favor olives (a wedding guest gift), my poor soaproot - which is hanging on by a thread, blue fescue and some very fine Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) to name a few. Being one of those designers, I figure it’s about time.
My latest project is a raised veggie bed made from a galvanized steel watering trough. It’s a pre-fab, portable, hip meets urban farm solution with virtually zero risk of rotting. Perfect for deckening.
First, I measured then purchased a trough to fit the allotted space. Drilled drain holes along the bottom and placed the trough on 1/2 inch wooden slats to prevent it from sitting directly on the deck. This also creates a drop shadow, adding an element of visual interest. Finally, I filled the bed with a locally made organic planting mixture (mostly compost) and planted a no-fuss combination of scarlet runner beans, strawberries, sunflowers, calendula and nasturtium.
The task of hand watering, like weeding, is a seasoned love. However, potted plants suffer more readily from missed or inconsistent watering. Fruits and vegetables in particular often become stressed and therefore prone to disease, infestation, irregular fruting and bolting. So, I decided to install a drip irrigation system sourced from a deck-level spicket. It’s equipped with a timer, filter and backflow device.
It may not work out as I intended but it’s not for the lack of trying. And, right now, it’s pretty darn satisfying.
*Deckening: the act of gardening on a deck environment. Typically in pots or other containers. AKA, a container garden.