Introducing: Our patio garden

What do you do when you love the idea of growing your own food, but you have no backyard and are a bit crunched for free time as well? You start a patio garden in containers, obviously. Or at least, that’s what we’re doing. Patio gardening is relatively low commitment: there is none of the weeding, double digging, travelling out to a community garden spot, etc. that might be involved in a more traditional garden. While I dream of having a little plot of land and growing all of our vegetables from scratch, the patio garden is what works for us right now.

We got off to a bit of a late start with gardening this year, thanks to a March move. So, we decided to start small and get four tomato plants. We bought four different kinds of seedlings, a few pots and cages, and two bags of soil. Mix together and it’s an instant garden.
Water regularly and pretty soon you’ll start seeing tomatoes:
And eventually you arrive at our current stage, ripe heirloom tomatoes available every day, if we want them:

As you can probably see, some larger pots would have been a good idea–our Brandywine plant in particular is showing some definite signs of cramping. But no big deal, we’re already planning on upgrading for the tomatoes next year, while the smaller pots get used for herbs and greens. And, I’m even hoping to continue container gardening into the fall, replacing tomatoes with some nitrogen fixing peas and beans.

We’re also being very meticulous and weighing our crop as it gets harvested:
While it’s probably a little silly given that gardening is a perfectly nice activity in its own right, we’re excited to see how our cost per pound compares to typical prices at a grocery store or farmer’s market. So far, we are about even with the cost of heirloom tomatoes, but lagging the typical cost of roma or beefsteak tomatoes (which, let’s face it, is what my frugal efforts usually lead me to buy). Factoring in the superior taste, the convenience, and the nice calming effect just watering a few plants at the end of the day seems to have, I think we’re really coming out pretty well.


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