Small 20' deep by 8' wide patio - suggestions?

I have a small backyard (30' x 8') in my condo. I am in zone 6b (Vancouver, BC) and get an average 8 hours of sun/day.
The first 10' is covered in patio paver stones, for the bbq and dining area. For the other 20', I'm planning on either purchasing floor decking (see http://www.ikea.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId 101&storeId=3&categoryId667&langId=-15&parentCats555*12667&chapterId703&cattype=sub) or make the decking myself if its quite a bit cheaper. I'll leave a few spots open in between the decking squares for planting the odd thing, and using containers for other things.
Because my area is so tiny I've decided to grow cucumbers using a trellis, I did this last year and it worked great. My tomatoes I'll try in tubs this year, possibly with wheels so I can move them around if they need a more sunnier spot. What other things can I try in such a small space? Peas perhaps? What about squash?
I'd love to hear from urbanites that have small city gardens such as myself and photos of what they have done would really be wonderful!
Shaynelle
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

I grow everything in containers in my small big city back yard. The only vegetables that I've found difficult to grow are root crops, like carrots, radishes, and beets. Containers dry out much more quickly than the ground, and they get a lot hotter - this constant fluctuation makes life hard for the carrots et al. It can be done with a big container, and very close attention to watering. For that matter all plants in containers need a lot more water and fertilizer than they would in the ground.
Things that I grew easily and were worth the space:
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, tomatillos, ground cherries, leaf lettuce, onions, spinach, rat tail radishes, strawberries, basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, savory, tarragon and chives.
Things that I grew well, but took more effort (and/or a few tries to get right):
Swiss chard, garlic, sweet potatoes, melons, peas, beans, bulb fennel.
Things that I had little success with, or found wasn't worth the effort:
carrots, radishes, beets, corn, celery, broccoli, heading lettuce, corriander, and dill.
I'm sure I've left out some things I've grown, but that's a quick list.
BP
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You had trouble with Dill? Bummer. :-)
I just cheat and start out with 4" pots from the nursery! Much less trouble than seeds. <G>
Dill needs good sunlight.
K.
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It's not that it didn't grow, it's just that it wasn't worth it. When one has a very limited amount of space, some things take up too much of it to be worth the time and effort. I'd get a pot full of corriander or dill just fine, but one recipe would use up most of my crop ( I cook a lot). They need a deep pot, to accomodate the tap root, are short lived compared to other herbs, and generally need a lot more room than something like basil or oregano - they'll grow in anything.

One 4" pot of dill when grown will do me for one fish crust or stuffing for one chicken. When I make a batch of salsa I use a cup full of chopped corriander. I'd need real space to bother growing it.
Part of the fun of gardening for me is the growing from seed. I'll only buy a plant if it is propigated by cuttings or division, or can't be easily grown from seed (if it takes a year to germinate, forget it!). It's also more economical to grow from seed (6 tomato transplants $3.50, one pkg of 25+ seeds= $2-3.), and one can also get rare or heirloom varities that aren't sold at the garden centre or nursery.
BP
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Oh I see. :-)
And I know what you mean! Sometimes when I'm going to bake a large fish with lemon and dill, I'll go ahead and buy some from the store if mine is not big enough.
I planted more this year. <G> I have a nice large herb garden on the west side of the house.

How big do you let it get? Mine usually gets at least 2 ft. tall. The 2 four inch pots I bought at the nursery this year have about 6 nice bushy dill plants in each of them. I'll still probably put in more tho' <G>
I understand what you mean tho'. I also love to cook with fresh herbs and you can go thru a lot very quickly.
I use more Basil and thyme than anything else, and I've got plenty of thyme! Just found a new Tarragon plant yesterday as well. That is SO good with poultry!
Rosemary just gets big all by itself, and a little sage goes a long way. I finally have some sage now that is wintering over. The dwarf and white sages are going on their third year this summer. :-)

All good points, but I don't have the patience! The only things I grow from seed are string beans, okra, morning glories and moonvine. ;-) I can usually get a 6 pack of tomato plants at the garden center for $1.25.
K.
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Katherine wrote:

There is a vining squash, Tromboncino, that is suitable for trellising and can save you lots of space. There are several varieties of miniature tomatoes that are bred specifically for small containers and hanging baskets, Red Robin, Patio, Tumbler, Window Box Roma and others. I grow Red Robins in 6" pots and always have more tomatoes then I can eat. There are also miniature eggplants such as Bambino that do well in small pots. Most peppers do well in containers. I grow cayenne and jalapeno types four or five to a 15" pot, bells types three to a 15" pot. There is a miniature bell pepper, Jingle Bells that will do well in a 6" pot. Most herbs will do fine in hanging baskets, freeing up deck space. The main thing is, don't limit yourself to standard varieties. Look for dwarf and miniature types. You can often get more pounds of fruit per pound of soil from a miniature variety then from a standard.
Lorenzo L. Love http://home.thegrid.net/~lllove
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.     Cicero
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snipped-for-privacy@thegrid.net says...

I grow Brandywines (big indeterminate) in containers! And Celebrity (big determinate), and Miracle Sweet (another big indeterminate). I'm also giving Pruden's purple (big indeterminate) a try this year. You don't need to stick to "patio types" and a small pot. It can be a small diameter pot, but if it's really deep you can grow any tomato. I use 20 gallon rubbermaid bins and put three or four Brandywines in. My tomatoes are probably some of the most crowded ones in existence, but they produce enough to feed the neighborhood!

I tried "jingle bells" for a couple of years - the taste isn't great, compared to other sweet peppers. They are good for stuffing with something cold, and serving as an appetizer though. I have found that the miniature varities of veggies are bred for compact size and that taste generally gets left behind. When I compare the taste of a "Patio" tomato to a "Brandywine", I find that there is no comparison at all.
I found that the best way to grow the larger varities was to crowd multiple plants into a big pot instead of giving each plant it's own pot. The larger pot retains water better, and gives more root room for the plants, even with the crowding.
BP
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Katherine) wrote:

Shaynelle, you can grow a lot of things in tubs if you give them the right size and the right treatment. I grew about half my stuff in containers last year. I rent the first floor of a house & have a patio. THis year I have plenty of ground. I sucessfully grew medium sized pumpkins (great for inidvidual kid-sized jack-o-lanterns), peppers, tomatoes, snow peas, snap peas, jalapenos, bell peppers, cayennes, radishes, lettuces, scallions, & a bunch of herbs. I tried potatoes but a wilt hit them. I did get two little potatoes. :-) I also grew six corn stalks, but I messed up the fertilizer on them and while they were full grown the tassels came out weeks too soon. I did get half a cob of corn, which I feed to the birds.
This page has links to some pictures--not all are still available. http://members.aol.com/digitalvinyl66/PatioGarden.html
I've already started my lettuces, spinach, radish, broccoli & cauliflower in this years containers.
If you want to have some reading material on it, McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container is the best I've read. They focus on those veggies that are the most successful in containers. Theoretically you could grow any given a large enough container. However some won't produce as well. I recal my mom planted some tomato seed in a flower windowbox. It grew 3-4 feet high and produced cherry-sized tomatoes. The seeds were from beefsteak-styles, so the crowded spaces stunted them, but things will grow given the opportunity. McGee & Stuckey discuss beets, beans, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, greens & lettuce, onions, Leeks, garlic, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash & tomatoes.
Controlling Moisture consistency is a big thing in containers. I used a couple of methods. I used self-watering containers which performed well during heatwaves. However the spring was too wet and mold was an issue in almost all of them before I released they could keep the dirt TOO wet. I use Terra-Sorb or Moist-Soil crystals (break down into potassium in 3-5 years). They soak up excess water and release it when the ground dries. It helped to keep things evenly watered. I had only half-dozen tomatoes out of 35 lbs form cracks. Regular watering is important and soil amendments like those help. I also tried hydro mat, diapers for the bottom of the pots. I didn't notice them helping as much--although I think I have only one container with it now. One of them grew a mushroom out a drainage whole during the all-too-wet spring.
I won't buy clay pots anymore. They dried out way too quickly. My clay pots needed to be watered twice a day during summer when plastic ones needed just once. The soil in the clay ones also didn't have any terra-sorb in them.
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email) Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound 2nd year gardener
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