Brenda’s series of posts about rain barrels had the city dweller in me envious. Often, apartment living relegates our green thumbs to the occasional arrangement of cut flowers or a few indoor house-plants. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have even a small balcony there’s a lot you can do to create a green oasis no matter how far from the ground you are. Here are some tips on starting on a balcony (or patio) garden. Not only will you be helping to fight global warming but you’ll gain an additional space to relax in at home.
1. Assess the conditions
Does your building have restrictions on hanging plants? Do you have high winds and does the rain beat in? You could consider a rain shade and make sure pots are secure. Do you have children or pets who may use the plant pots as steps to climb to dangerous heights? Make sure you factor in seasonal changes too as some plants may have to be taken in so they won’t freeze during winter months.
2. Draft a plan
As with a regular garden you’ll fare much better if you begin with a plan. Is your balcony narrow with tall walls and little direct sunlight? Perhaps a vertical rack of plant pots housing ferns may work. Talk to the people at your local nursery or Home Depot. People who sell plants and accessories are usually very knowledgeable and willing to give advice on the type of plants, size of pots and soil that will be key to getting it right.
3. Start small
Gardening can be addictive especially when you first purchase and bring home plants and they look healthy and pretty on your balcony but give yourself a few weeks to get used to tending to them before rushing to fill the entire space. You may find that certain plants thrive with the conditions you can provide and you can supplement these with similar species. Plants don’t take well to overcrowding so don’t put too many in one space. Remember, you can always add more later. Also, don’t forget to leave room for people to sit in your garden and enjoy your creation.
4. Be creative
You can be extra-green by re-using old containers as plant pots. Just make sure to drill holes in the bottom so they will drain well and place them on an old dish. Have you always wanted a pond? A vegetable garden? Do bonzai tickle your fancy? Use your garden as you would a canvas and it will keep you engaged and fulfilled.