Like many others during this Shelter in Place, I’ve taken comfort in gardening. Since I live in a condo (although I'm fortunate to have plenty of soil), I've recently taken an interest in patio container gardening! I've amassed quite a few vegetable plants and flowers growing in containers on my courtyard.
San Jose Public Library has an abundance of gardening eBooks, books, and other resources that can help both novice and experienced gardeners perfect their patio container gardens!
My Patio Container Garden
There is something inherently satisfying in growing and cultivating your own vegetables, especially since it means less trips to the grocery store for produce. Plus, what can be more rewarding (not to mention tastier) than sauntering out into your patio and grabbing a handful of fresh basil and ripened tomatoes?
UC Master Gardeners
Recently, San Jose Public Library was pleased to partner with UC Master gardeners, who presented two virtual workshops on growing vegetables. If you're not familiar with the organization, UC Master Gardeners are trained volunteers through the University of California who rely on science to educate and help the public.
Our most recent UC Master Gardener's Workshop, Growing Vegetables in Containers, was recorded. Watching the video is worthwhile, as many important topics are covered such as vegetable varieties, preparing the soil, pest control, and so on. Also, there are plenty of question and answers exchanged between the audience and the presenters.
A few helpful things I've gleaned from the UC Master Gardeners presentation:
- Containers need frequent watering because they dry out quickly (some materials such as plastic--aside from black containers--may retain water more efficiently).
- For the size of containers, bigger is better!
- Hash chemicals are not recommended for getting rid of pests and you can usually spray off aphids with a hose.
- Vegetables especially need a nutrient rich soil (which needs to be renewed), and you need to add fertilizer, especially early on.
Now that nurseries are opening back up as shelter in place in restrictions are loosening, you may wish to dabble a bit in trying your hand in gardening in containers. It's not too late, and this video will help you get started!
UC Master Gardeners: Gardening in Containers
UC Master Gardeners Santa Clara Valley: Santa Clara Valley residents can submit a question (a photo can even be included) and a UC Master Gardener will get back to them. The site also offers an overabundance of gardening resources including a handy vegetable planning chart (A through Z), lawn care and irrigation, pests and diseases, “water-wise” plants, fruit and nut trees, to name a few. You can even join their newsletter to stay abreast on upcoming workshops and gardening tips, and there is a handout section in PDF format with helpful gardening information.
The Spruce: In addition to home resources, the Spruce website provides an excellent selection of gardening information. Many of the gardening board members are UC Master Gardeners and or/published authors and some even serve on agricultural boards. In addition to dispensing helpful gardening advice, other topics include swimming pools, landscaping, wild birds, small farms, and outdoor farms, to name a few.