As Spring approaches, we need to decide what, if anything, we're going to grow out on the back deck.
In years past, we've grown basil and beans. One summer, we made a raised bed in the backyard and grew cucumbers. That was great. Unfortunately, the following year, the deer discovered the plot.
Last year, we were bums and didn't grow a damn thing.
I'd like to plant a whole bunch of stuff. We recently switched the cat litter boxes to scoopable litter. The scoopable form comes in these really sturdy plastic buckets. However, since we have 5 cats, we buy at least a couple buckets every week. We're starting to get quite a collection. I think they would make great planters.
We had initially thought that we would purchase some picnic table benches and put planters on top of those. It would raise up the plants for easier tending. It would also get them up out of the shadow of the deck railing. And it would get them off the deck surface, preventing chronic damp underneath.
But now I'm thinking that I could stack two containers. I could drill drainage holes in the bottom of the top container. And I could leave the lid on the bottom container and drill holes in it. The top container would act as the planter. The bottom would catch excess water for reuse, as well as just keep it off the deck. And, it would raise up the planters without the need for a bench.
The only problem is in draining off the water in the bottom container. Maybe a small hole in the side? Haven't figured that out yet.
So, what should we grow? Basil is a given. I love basil. String beans are nice. We screwed some hooks into the roof overhang, letting us run strings from planters to the roof. (Got the idea from a friend who grows hops for beer brewing on the front of his suburban palace.)
With the raised planters, bush beans would also work well.
Cukes are a problem because they'll want to spread out and the deck gets too hot for them to actually touch the wood. Plus, who knows what's in the wood stain.
We might try some radishes and carrots. But you really need square footage to grow anything more than just a handful of either of those.
I've been thinking of actually growing some real live tea. Certainly, you couldn't grow enough to yield a significant amount of tea. But it would be cool to drink at least one cup of real tea you grew yourself.
And then, of course, there's marijuana. With the recession, I expect pot sales to take off. Always good to have a cash crop handy. (Let's see how long it takes for my wife to chastise me.)
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