Austin | Dallas | Houston
HTX Best of 2013
Cadillac
Innovative organic

Produce game changer: Pop-up patio gardens aim to let urban dwellers grow their own vegetables

Enlarge
Slideshow
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
The Outdoor Popup Garden, designed to lay flat on dirt, sells for $315 and includes home delivery. Photo by Joel Luks
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
Patiovore Edible Gardens offers a series of organic, all-inclusive gardening kits. Photo by Joel Luks
Patiovore, gardening, garden, Jessica Haskins
Jessica Haskins, business owner. Facebook
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
The Patio Popup Garden sells for $385. Adding to the garden kit are a stainless steel base made from from reclaimed materials that acts as a water catch reservoir. A wicking system recycles water back to the popup container. Photo by Joel Luks
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
The frame is crafted from untreated cypress wood that's outfitted with two metal trellises, a watering can, markers, local organic soil, mulch, fertilizer and instructions. Photo by Joel Luks
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
Patiovore, gardening, garden, Jessica Haskins
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013
Patiovore, gardening, garden, March 2013

As the fixation on locally-sourced food continues to gain momentum, consumers are becoming more cognizant of where their sustenance comes from, how it was produced and the socio-economic and environmental implications of the growing process.

One local company is addressing all those concerns by making growing food at home easier — even foolproof.

Can you be any more of a locavore than by harvesting consumables from your own patio?

Patiovore Edible Gardens, a one-year-old company founded by San Jose, Calif.-native and Houston-transplant Jessica Haskins and her brother David, debuted a series of organic, all-inclusive container kits at the Sustainable Living Fest at Market Square Park last weekend. These ready-made, seasonal do-it-yourself packages are suitable for small yards, patios and indoor habitats. 

Haskins, who studied business at the University of Houston, admits that the idea emerged from years of killing the hardiest of house plants. A green thumb didn't come naturally to the eco-conscious business owner, but her determination to learn the how-to's of horticulture makes her a good teacher for those looking to do just that.

 "What's great about Houston weather is that we can grow fruits and vegetables all year long."

"I couldn't keep anything alive," she jokes. "So I had to think hard about what I was doing because I was determined to grow my own vegetables. Those Whole Foods bills can get expensive, you know?"

The Outdoor Popup Garden, designed to lay flat on dirt, sells for $315 and includes home delivery. Think of it as a raised bed crafted from untreated cypress wood that's outfitted with two metal trellises, a watering can, markers, local organic soil, mulch, fertilizer and instructions. Seeds, selected based on what's appropriate for the particular growing season, are included as well. Home gardeners will need cardboard and newspaper to compartmentalized plant varieties and mitigate the growth of weeds and grass. 

"What's great about Houston weather is that we can grow fruits and vegetables all year long," Haskins explains. "The monthly seed packages have variable growing spans, so when gardeners are done for their current batch, they will have options of what to sow next."

Plant Sense

On tap for March's seedling collection are sweet basil; Shiso Perilla, a Japanese basil with cinnamon, clove and cumin notes; Golden Purslane, a nutritious, non-invasive weed; Bright Lights Cosmos, a colorful flower that attracts beneficial insects; French breakfast radish, which takes one month to grow; Spacemaster cucumbers; rocket arugula; Trionfo Violetto heirloom pole beans; Dwarf Taylor heirloom bush Beans; and micro greens.

 Can you be any more of a locavore than by harvesting consumables from your own patio? 

Haskins shakes things up a bit for April with cumin, malabar spinach, Henderson bush baby lima beans, Thai basil, fenugreek and summer savory.

The Patio Popup Garden sells for $385. Adding to the garden kit is a galvanized sheet metal base made from reclaimed materials that acts as a water catch reservoir. A wicking system recycles water back to the popup container. The Indoor Popup Garden, at $485 per unit, is best for a south or west facing window that offers plenty of sunlight. Haskins opts for shade-tolerant veggies for this indoor model.

What renders Patiovore gear attractive is that Haskins removes the guess work for the new aspiring gardener. The company eliminates the need to source components from different vendors, and offers follow up customer service after the purchase to make certain the kit is successful. Intelligence from Haskins Patiolab will surely come in handy.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address