Terrace and patio gardens have caught on for apartment dwellers and those without much outdoor yard space. You can transform any hardscape into a luscious garden. One of the most important decisions you'll make for your garden is selecting the right soil. If you're wondering which soil is best for a terrace or patio garden, we've done the research and have the answer you need.
Potting soil or mix needs to enable plant roots to breathe and let water drain. The best mix will include equal parts of organic matter, peat moss, and vermiculite. The combination of these ingredients will provide nutrients, retain water, and let some drain. The specific amount of each element depends on the particular plants you are planning to grow. You should spend money on a high-quality mix or make your own.
There are differences in the industry when it comes to using the phrases potting soil vs. potting mix. A patio or terrace garden needs a soil-less potting mix. Dirt or soil from the ground is not sterile and can cause problems like diseased plants. Keep reading this post as we explain in detail how to get the right mix for your garden.
How Do You Start A Terrace Garden?
It's exciting to start planning your very own green space on your terrace. You already know that you need a healthy soil mix. The other important element you need is sunshine. To help you get your garden going, we've compiled a few best practices below.
Plan Your Space
Before you decide what to grow, you need to determine how much space there is to work with. If you have adequate space, you can plan for a container garden or use pots to arrange your plants. Keep in mind that an elevated area might have weight limits. Containers full of soil tend to be heavy to lift. Should space be at a minimum, or if you want to optimize your area, you can always think vertically.
Vertical gardens can be established on a wall or suspended from a ceiling with chains. There are also options for your garden to be freestanding on a ladder or rack.
Look For Natural Light
Before you commit to a plan, spend a day watching the way the sun shines on your terrace. Most plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day to thrive. On the other hand, direct all day sun might mean you need to plan for a barrier of shade. Or choose tropical plants that can take the heat.
If your terrace lacks sunshine, you can always invest in grow lights. You'll need an outlet to plug the lights into, but they can produce the type of light your plants need to thrive.
Access To Water
A terrace built at ground level should be simple enough to water. Make sure you have access to a hose or the ability to bring water to your containers.
Utilizing self-watering pots might be more carefree if your terrace is at an elevation. Another option is to build a drip irrigation system that will provide water to your plants. If you are using pots, make sure they are set on saucers or trays to catch excess water.
How Do You Mix Soil For Container Gardening?
A nutrient-rich soil mix will contain a formula of organic ingredients of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost. You can use your mature compost or purchase topsoil to add to the mixture.
You can start from scratch and mix equal parts of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite in a large container. If possible, you can mix it on a tarp in a large bin or wheelbarrow if you need more volume. Use a shovel or a rake to combine all the ingredients. Your final product should be loose as you run your fingers through it.
You can also purchase premixed soil at your local nursery or on Amazon. Below are a few options to consider buying online.
Burpee is well known for growing organic plants.
Check out Ocean Forest ready to use potting soil.
MiracleGro creates a concentrated planting mix that is ideal for containers.
Can I Use Topsoil In My Terrace Garden?
You can use topsoil in your terrace garden, but whether you should use it is the real question. If you don't have access to the first few inches of fertile topsoil, it can be purchased from a nursery or landscaping company. You might need to buy it in bulk, or perhaps you will find a bagged option.
Make sure the topsoil you are buying is loamy and screened of debris. To learn more about loamy mixes, read our post 11 Best Loam-Based Compost Mixes.
Some topsoils are inferior in quality, lacking nutrients. To pump up the health of the dirt, add compost.
Keep in mind most potting soils or mixes are designed for container gardening and don't contain dirt at all.
Read our post Which Soil Is Best For Vertical Gardens? for an in-depth discussion on the elements of soil.
What Can I Grow On My Terrace Or Patio?
Deciding what to grow on your terrace or patio depends on your space and access to sunlight. If you have at least six hours of sunshine hitting your patio, you have a lot of options.
Here is a list of what you should consider growing:
- Herbs like basil, rosemary, mint, and sage
- Hot peppers and bell peppers
- Tomatoes such as cherry and Roma varieties
- Flowers such as verbenas, marigolds, and geraniums
If your patios or terrace only receives partial sun, less than six hours of light, here are some ideas for what to grow:
- Loose lettuces like red or green oak
- Greens like kale, spinach, and swiss chard
- Stalk vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli
- Root vegetables like carrots and turnips
- Flowers like Begonias and Impatiens
Time To Start Your Terrace Garden
The best way to create your garden is to start small and plan. And, the essential ingredient your plants need, besides your time, is the best soil you can make or buy.
We hope this post has helped you understand the components of high-quality soil. And remember, there's no dirt; it's soil-less. Whether your garden is on a large terrace or hanging on a wall, we wish you great success.