Growing Zones for Raised Bed Gardens
Container Gardening (such as a Window Box or Deck Planter) is slightly different than growing plants in the ground…which is what the Growing Zone Maps are meant to do. The basic environmental issues are similar but the size and location will vary.
Information for this post is from the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Your tax dollars at work by the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. See link at bottom of page
The USDA map is the one most gardeners in the eastern United States rely on, and the one that most national garden magazines, catalogs, books, and many nurseries currently use. This map divides North America into 11 separate zones. Each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone.
Check out your growing zone by entering your Zip code at this USDA website (cut and paste in your browser): http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov
Other Growing Factors
Many other environmental factors, in addition to hardiness zones, contribute to the success or failure of plants. Wind, soil type, soil moisture, humidity, pollution, snow, and winter sunshine can greatly affect the survival of plants. The way plants are placed in the landscape, how they are planted, and their size and health might also influence their survival. Certainly the type of container they are in plays an important factor in successful gardening.
Light: To thrive, plants need to be planted where they will receive the proper amount of light. For example, plants that require partial shade that are at the limits of hardiness in your area might be injured by too much sun during the winter because it might cause rapid changes in the plant’s temperature.
Soil moisture: Plants have different requirements for soil moisture, and this might vary seasonally. Plants that might otherwise be hardy in your zone might be injured if soil moisture is too low in late autumn and they enter dormancy while suffering moisture stress.
Temperature: Plants grow best within a range of optimum temperatures, both cold and hot. That range may be wide for some varieties and species but narrow for others.
Duration of exposure to cold: Many plants that can survive a short period of exposure to cold may not tolerate longer periods of cold weather.
Humidity: High relative humidity limits cold damage by reducing moisture loss from leaves, branches, and buds. Cold injury can be more severe if the humidity is low, especially for evergreens.
Planters for Apartment and Condo Balcony or Deck Railings
Living in a condo, an apartment, or in a high-rise doesn’t mean you can’t grow stuff on the deck or balcony.
Condo or apartment railings are perfect to hang planters where growing flowers, herbs, or even organic is easy and successful. Gutter Gardens come in two widths which have different depths to allow you to grow almost anything you may want. And all the floor space on your balcony is free since your planters hang from the railings…outside, inside, or both! Growing flowers is the most popular use of Gutter Gardens. The 6″ wide size is ample enough for most all annual flowers…both full sun and shade.
The mounding annuals work beautifully with some of the trailing plants (spillovers) like creeping jenny or sweet potato vines. Geraniums grow beautifully in full sun and impatiens are very happy in shade areas. Mixing colors is a good idea as long as they have similar sun requirements. Depending on how much sun you have will determine what plants to choose to decorate your apartment or condo balcony. A good local nursery will be glad to sell you plants that work well in the spots you have selected for your container gardens.
Each deck or balcony railing is unique for each condo or apartment building. We offer several lengths of stainless steel ties to accommodate nearly all variations. If you rent or lease, you are probably not allowed to put any holes in the railings. We solved that by providing unbreakable stainless steel ties that will not damage the finish on a rail/balcony. While they are “permanent” and will never fall off, you can take them with you when you move by simply emptying the contents and snipping the cable ties.
Stand Up and Garden? What’s that all about? The picture below is the very first planter I made after a back injury in 2012 prevented me from bending over to garden. Lovely, isn’t it? I needed a way to garden and came up with the idea of using rain gutter materials that would hang in a level, secure manner. It took about a year to get all the ‘kinks’ out and now the Stand Up and Garden planter has made gardening easy and fun again. Using stainless steel hardware, these handy containers can be mounted under windows for a long-lasting Window Box…or screwed into a wooden shed or deck/fence railing. However, most people use the (included) stainless steel cable ties to hang the planters from a Balcony or Deck railing. When installed correctly, they will not damage the finish on the railing and they will stay in place until you take them down.
Why ‘Stand Up and Garden’?
Rabbits and deer and weeds, oh, my! Putting a planter UP not only makes it easy for people to garden, it makes it nearly impossible for critters to reach your prize flowers or vegetables.. Attaching your Stand Up and Garden (SUAP) planter as a window box or on a railing can remove many of the irritations gardeners face. No more need to haul a hose around the yard.
Other Benefits of Gardening on your Deck/Balcony:
- Having access to your herbs right outside your kitchen window or deck makes cooks very happy.
- Using a raised bed planter allows one to be as organic as one wants….by purchasing quality organic potting mix.
- Hummingbirds are often drawn to planters that are on deck/balcony railings.
- Dead-heading is easy (and a rewarding morning ritual) so your plants will thrive and bloom all season.
Give the Gift of Gardening! Women everywhere love getting flowers on their special days. This Mother’s Day, get your mom (or wife, or grandmother…etc) a gift that will please for many years to come. A unique planter system that safely attaches to the railing on her porch, deck or balcony makes gardening more enjoyable…and easier than ever.
Many people now live in areas where there is little or no space for a garden. Or, they may have the space…but not the energy to keep up a large garden. Yet, the delight of tending to flowers or growing ones own herbs is now so very easy. It’s a form of raised bed or container gardening called “Gutter Gardening”….and it allows you to Stand Up and Garden. Easily installed using unbreakable Stainless Steel cable ties, this method of growing eliminates many of the problems faced by gardeners everywhere. First, it finally gets rid of the issues caused by wild life…the rabbits, deer and squirrels simply can’t reach the planter. Second, no more worries about having to weed. Another benefit is that Gutter Gardening allows you to stand up while taking care of your plants.
How come it’s called Gutter Gardening?
These lightweight yet durable planters are made from recycled aluminium rain gutter materials. They have intentional holes in the bottom with a filter to allow drainage. For most growing needs, the 6″ wide planter has adequate root space for most annuals. There is also an 8″ wide planter that is recommended for window boxes or for growing serious vegetables. The end-caps are riveted on and a food-grade caulk is used to prevent solvents from leaching into the root system of edibles.
No matter if the exposure has a lot of sun or nearly total shade, annuals (flowers that only live for one season) can be selected to bring brilliant colors to your fingertips. And there is an almost therapeutic, calming impact that nature has on all of us.
Available in 4 colors and in different lengths, this is one gift that will make a lasting impression.
What Container Planters work on Decks and Balconies?
A very popular method of container planters are coco-lined garden planters which have been around for a long time. I have used them and had semi-success in plant stands on the front porch. They never worked well on my deck because my rails were not suitable for level mounting. So, shortly after planting, the potting mix began falling out to the patio below. The brackets that came with them never seemed secure in holding so much weight. Because safety is so paramount…we came up with a completely safe method
of hanging planters using stainless steel cable ties to securely hang Gutter Gardens™.
Then, I noticed that some birds were using the materials for nesting…so even more dirt fell out. Because they are so porous, they demanded water more often than less porous planters. By the end of the season, they looked like this picture! What a mess.
Container planters can be made of various materials such as terra cotta, concrete, plastic or resin. Since we want to Stand Up and Garden, these planters can be placed on a shelf or table on the deck/balcony. Keep in mind that weight determines the ability to move the planter around. Also, remember that the UV rays from the sun will degrade plastic and resin and make them brittle/breakable.
Gutter Gardens will never break, fade, fall, crack or disappoint! These planters are uniquely designed to hang in a level, secure manner. So easy to install, too. Take a look at some pictures on this website, You will be amazed at how utterly wonderful Gutter Garden planters are!