Newly retired! First outdoor (containers on deck) garden.

Asheville, NC(Zone 7a)

Hello. I live in Asheville, NC, and have about 35 feet--9 x 2 long and half legs from the ends about 5 x 1.5-2'. East and mostly south light. Trimming back some trees to add a bit of west light as well. My landlord won't let me dig in the earth but will let me use my raised deck. I'm just starting my research. Keen on basil and mint but would like a little bit of maybe spinach or roma tomatoes, some flowering something. Open to all ideas. Vidalia onions would be great. 100% organic--would like to plant acc. to plants that will protect neighbor plants. In a couple of weeks I will probably have specific questions but in the meantime, would welcome and appreciate any tips for an outdoor absolute beginner. Had a wonderful abundant indoor houseplant garden in strong east light--some plants 25 years old--in Seattle. Tips on containers appreciated as well as info about soil; am thinking wood planks raised on concrete blocks so deck railing and slats will not block light, with as many pots and containers as I can accommodate. Garden will be shut down in November for the winter. Thanks for any and all suggestions and wisdom. Very psyched about this! Indyfilmz

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Hi Indy,

I was in your situation before I bought my home. If you have a good public library I'm sure they have tons of books about container gardening. One tip I can give you, is don't waste potting soil trying to fill up huge containers, throw some empty milk jugs or the like in the bottom and then put the soil in. I do that with all of my large containers and the plants don't mind!


Asheville, NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks Xeramtheum, very useful tip. Oh I see that I am going to be learning the Latin names of all kinds of stuff. Just took a look at container garden thread and saw an amazing garden. Bye. Indy

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Welcome to DG, Indyfilmz!

And yes, the Container Gardening Forum has lots of good info/advice. It sounds to me like you have a nice setup and the perfect place to do your gardening!

Hope to see you around the site!


Indyfilmz, I dabble in veggie gardening too. I do everything in raised beds, and occassionally containers.
Early season crops that are nice are things like mizuna, arugula, garden cress, lettuce...I plant these in fairly small, shallow and wide mouthed containers. They can be easily toted out in warmer weather and in if it will freeze.
The best spinach I found in hot weather is climbing spinach or malabar spinch. It's a tropical, vining plant that has leaves which taste like spinach but love sun and hot weather. It's very ornamental the leaves which are thick, hold up especially well when cooked. If you make a small structure that will cover a pot or two (like a triangle with no bottom) you can grow your spinach or other vines (like yardlong beans, which will produce wonderfully all summer) up and over it. I plant lettuces underneath. As the vines take off growing, they shade the lettuce from burning sun and extend your growing season (also good for arrugula and cilantro). If you grow beans, the structure will allow beans to really hang downwards making them so easy to pick.
If you decide to put other vining fruits or veg on this sort of structure, you can "hammock" them and tie them to the support. I do this for miniature water melons!


Chapel Hill, NC(Zone 7a)

well, i just learned a whole lot from your post, ggg.
delighted with the hot weather spinach tip :)

Asheville, NC(Zone 7a)

GGG: I am trying to picture the "structure" you described and I can't. Could you give me a little more detail. Maybe it's because I'm a newbie but I think I am spacially challenged! I would love to grow a spinach that holds up well in cooking, along the lines of kale or mustard greens. Thanks a lot. IndyF

Jackson, SC(Zone 8a)

they have these neat tomato cages now i grew my cucumbers on last year. they come in a triangle form. will fit perfectly in a pot. they sold them at home depot by the tomato plants. they stand about 3-4ft high but worked great.

you can also build your own tower too. anything for them to grow on. my Hubby took tomato cages and added chicken wire to them(bigger holes some have small holes) and wrapped it around the outside. also i have seen tepees made out of wood that holds the vines. anything they can grab on to makes a good trellis for them. even string is good.

heres a great info from Clemson on conatiners and veggies

Myrtle Beach, SC

I live in Myrtle Beach SC. I have a Mandeville which was left out this winter.(IN POT) . I seperated the tubers & replanted they look healty,but not sure if they will regrow. Species Splendens. I am new at gardening & would appreciate any help.

Sanford, NC(Zone 7b)

Indyfilmz, I'm new to Dave's Garden as of yesterday and soon to be moving to Sanford, NC where husband is renting until I get down there and we can start our search for new home. In the mean time I plan to do some container gardening to support my love of using fresh herbs in my cooking. I am very encouraged by your container postings and you all are helping me overcome my sadness about leaving home, family and friends. I like the triangle support idea and the fact that it will shelter tender plants from the hot sun. Thanks!

Asheville, NC(Zone 7a)

Eden, leaving home is a sad event but one consolation--imagine how different your winters will be. Don't know where Churchville is (I'm originally from NYC) or where Sanford, NC is--but NY to NC has to be a positive climate change and lots more gardening possibilities. My garden is more-or-less coming along. I really don't know what I'm doing but I'm doing it anyway. I've posted this before, just can't remember which thread--but an experienced container/everything gardener told me recently: be happy if 50% of your plants make it through your first year. Take care. bye. ruby

Sanford, NC(Zone 7b)

Hi Indy. Churchville is a suburb of Rochester, NY. This morning we have a blanket of snow on the ground and temp of 30...meanwhile my husband has been riding his motorcycle in NC for two months now. :)
I have a little bit of NYC experience myself...I went to FIT for a couple of semesters after highschool.
It doesn't matter that you don't know what you're doing. What matters is that passion is driving you to do it. We all start there and learn along the way. I've been gardening for almost three decades now and I'm still learning and still passionate!

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