College dorm rooms tend to be small and cramped with little space for anything beyond studying, eating, and sleeping. If you are lucky enough to live in a campus apartment, however, chances are there will be patio space included. Decorating the patio wisely will provide an extra room for studying or eating outside, and it may even be possible to block out dull or distracting views, smells, and sounds.
The best way to accomplish these goals is with a patio garden. Whether you have successfully grown plants in the past or have no experience, the right selection and an understanding of container basics can turn any patio into a place to be proud of.
Finding the right species to populate the patio, and many other critical decisions, might make this seem like another academic effort at first. Once you know the basics, patio gardening is nothing but creativity. Cover the basics by exploring what a container garden can bring to your college apartment.
Changing the View
Some want to use the patio as an outdoors study area, while others just prefer a relaxing place to recoup between classes. Unfortunately, patios all too often look out on noisy and smelly parking lots and other distracting eyesores. Fixing this problem with a container garden is easy.
First, identify the nuisance. The view can be covered with a vertical planter. A thick mass of evergreens or an ivy in a vertical planter will reduce the noise level dramatically. Smells can be masked with liberal plants of aromatic herbs and flowers. Lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, tulips, and dahlias. There are many to choose from, and it is important to use a mixture. This will ensure that at least one plant is always at its peak of the growing cycle.
College life often comes with a college diet of cheap and processed foods to accommodate the lack of appliances. A college apartment with kitchen offers more possibilities, but the budget may still be limited. It has been proven time and again that large harvests can be accomplished in small spaces at a fraction of the cost of store-bought groceries.
Focus on supplementing one aspect of the diet. Herbs are extremely easy to grow in containers, and they are nutritionally dense. A salad garden will produce late into the fall and come back into action very early spring. Edible flowers take up little space and can liven up any meal. Growing vertically will provide triple the harvest or more.
Advice for Patio Growers
The best advice for starting a patio garden has nothing to do with soil amendments or watering requirements. Make sure that each plant grown has a definite purpose, such as flowers for a special someone, a screen against distractions, or the only thing that makes cheap noodles taste edible. Having a purpose ensures you will find the motivation to care for the plants properly. The experience gained from growing a patio garden will last a lifetime, just like the college education.
Tanya Mitchell is a part time writer and nurse earning her online masters in nursing education to teach others in her field.