The deck isn’t for outdoor entertaining—there’s no room. Instead, it’s for outdoor growing—a variety of edibles in pots, tubs and wicking boxes.
Looking west, there are mostly tomatoes and strawberries sharing wicking boxes and tubs and strawberry wicking buckets with just strawberries :
There’s a couple of cucumbers in one wicking box and they can scramble over the deck and be free of ground-dwelling critters which might chew them :
In the other direction, more wicking boxes with climbing beans and capsicums in one and parsley, basil and more climbing beans in another :
Against the house wall, there’s a blueberry in a large pot and strawberry wicking buckets on stands :
There’s even room for a pond of sorts, with a solar-powered pump and water spray :
Down below the deck there are more wicking boxes and tubs, with tomatoes, climbing beans and the little Australian native Finger Lime in a large tub next to the gas bottles. The climbing beans are on wire frames set in behind the pots and when they’ve climbed to the top of those, I put string lines up onto the deck railing to extend their support :
I’ve put more climbing beans in the milk bottle planters which will be going through their second summer. I expected the plastic would degrade and fall to bits long before this, but it’s hanging in there. They’ve got string lines also, to take the tendrils right up onto the deck. When they get to the top, I just wind the climbing ends around the deck wires :
First (very small) crop :
On the other side of the path around the base of the deck is another row of wicking boxes and tubs, with more tomatoes, capsicums and whatever else can be poked into a spare growing space :
And finally, a grapevine growing along the deck wires and the top railing. This is a purple muscat grape which I grew from seed :
It’s planted in the ground beside the steps up onto the deck. It’s been in about 4 years and has never flowered. But look! This year there are 2 small bunches of soon-to-be grapes hidden under the leaves :
The deck and surrounds are my permaculture Zone 1 growing spaces (permaculture design creates zones—areas around the house, based on frequency of use—there are usually 5 in all). Zone 1 is the zone nearest the house, which you visit at least once and probably more than once, a day. You plant all the things you use regularly—such as herbs, and leafy veggies where you want just a few leaves at a time. It’s a short step out onto the deck to pick herbs for dinner or a few strawberries for breakfast mueslii. The chooks are in zone 1 also, just a few metres from the deck.
Originally, I had all my vegetable beds right down the back, 30 or 40 metres from the house, because it was the only spot away from trees and in full sun. It was stupid—I was never going to walk all that way (especially if it was raining), just to get a sprig of parsley for the mashed potatoes. The permaculture design course I did just blew me away—it showed me how we do silly, unworkable things when we put a garden together, without any conscious thought or design as to our use of physical energy, or the connections between things. I’ve had to do a lot of retrofitting—using the deck as a growing space has been a real success.
Who needs to entertain anyway?