Total newbie in a concrete jungle


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Hi all. I'm a total newbie to all things green, I live in a house with no real garden, just a lovely stone patio and varanda. I'd like to try planting some easy vegetables and herbs (I'm thinking kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, and some herbs, things like that), but I'm not sure where to even start!

Would pots on a table be an okay way to do it? Or should I look at building a raised bed to give more soil space? Do I need to worry about drainage? Will I have water running through the pots and then leaking out all over my patio?

My initial plan is to buy a big table to put on the patio, a whole bunch of pots of varying sizes, and a few bags of soil and fertiliser, plus seeds. Am I missing anything obvious?

Thanks in advance!!! Oh, and if anyone knows of a website that explains all this stuff in a simple way for beginners, please let me know! I've looked things up but often get overwhelmed by terms I don't know.
 
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You're welcome.........we love to help each other out :)

I'm certain someone more knowledgeable will be along soon to answer all your questions :)(y)
 
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Welcome to the forum!

I grow lots of vegetables in pots and raised beds. Pots big enough to hold vegetables are pretty heavy once you get the soil in them so I keep them close to the ground. Your kale will tolerate all sorts of weather but prefers a cool spot. Cucumbers like it hot be need to be trellised or have something to climb. Tomatoes need something to hold them upright a they get very heavy with fruit later on. Herbs don't need large pots and are lovely on a table where you can smell them whilst sitting and enjoying a nice day.
 
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Welcome! Container plants are generally easier to maintain than in-ground. About that big table--containers filled with soil, often damp soil, get awfully heavy. Jardinieres (a fancy name for an attractive pot) that doesn't have a drainage hole would be attractive and non-flooding set on your patio. Plant your tomato, kale, etc. in a plastic pot with drainage holes that fits inside the jardiniere and your problem is solved. When watering your plants, do so until a bit, perhaps 1/4", of water is on the bottom of the jardiniere. That means your plant has been well-watered, but isn't drowning. The water in the bottom of the jardiniere will either be absorbed later by the plant or evaporate.

If you are going container, get bush cucumbers. A cucumber vine can run 10' or more!

For herbs, I highly recommend flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley), large leaf basil (Genovese), and if you like mint, mint. Oregano is very good also, and I dearly love dill, but some folks don't.

Let us know what you decide for your patio garden, and we'll help if we can.
 
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Thanks for the advice everyone! The jardiniere idea looks great, not least because my thinking behind using a table is that I have a dog who I think would jump at the chance to eat, chew or pee on my plants if they're at ground level!! So maybe a jardiniere would keep him away a bit?

I'm going to the garden center this weekend so will try to assemble everything I need to set a few things up next week.
 
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I'll happily post photos, but it might be a while – this is turning into more of a project than I first thought! I think I'll buy some big plastic buckets, drill holes near the bottom, and see if I can find something cheap to act as a jardiniere to put them in. I also think I'll need to make some sort of simple fencing to section off an area of the patio so the dog can't get to them.

So I'll need to visit the garden center and the hardware store too! I don't even own a drill at this point!

In the meantime, any advice on my seasonal situation? I'd really love to grow plants that I can repeatedly harvest (tomatoes and cucumbers, things like that? Bell peppers maybe) and herbs. Everything I read is about when to grow things is related to temperate climates, but I live in the southern hemisphere where we only have two seasons:

Summer = max 33c (91f), min 18c (65f) and lots of rain
Winter = max 25c (77f), min 10c (50f) and very dry

Our patio is a covered varanda (so rain is actually irrelevant) and gets afternoon sun from about 2/3pm to 6/7pm.
 
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MaryMary

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I think I'll buy some big plastic buckets, drill holes near the bottom, and see if I can find something cheap to act as a jardiniere to put them in
How cheap? If you go to a dollar store, you can probably find some big serving trays to put them on. :)

If you can get an old pallet, you could paint it a color you like and staple (or nail) some plastic across the bottom to keep it from leaking on the porch. Or find a pretty plastic/vinyl tablecloth, and staple it across the top. (y)
 

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