Great organic foods are not cheap but anyone can have access to great produce with a little love and attention. Having started a little apartment garden myself, I know that there is a great sense of pride and achievement when one can go out to their own garden and harvest something for dinner or add a little of their own herbs to garnish their dinner.
In even the smallest places, gardens are possible but it does require some different gardening skills. In shady areas, there are some tricks to get plants to thrive. In some cases, vertical gardens and choosing the right plant containers are an important decision. Start covering up plain balcony spaces.
Tips on balcony gardens
Great gardeners are great observers. By understanding your space, you can create the a garden the suits the environment. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about your garden and space simply by observing it at different times in the day.
1. First, look at how much sun or shade you get in different parts of your space because a spot with at least 6 hours of sun a day to grow herbs and vegetables.
2. Start small by creating a few herb and salad plant planters and move them around and watch how they cope in different parts of your space. Once you have experimented with what works, you can start to use larger planter and variety of plants and flowers.
3. Make sure you understands what your plants need. Not all plants need to be watered every day, some grow best according to the season and some need lots of space to grow. Make sure you take the time to observe its growth and before long, you will know what to do to maintain a successful balcony garden.
If you have a balcony that is covered by a lot of shade; don’t despair. There are plenty of vegetables that will grow well without full sun. A simple rule is that if you grow a plant for the fruit or the root, it needs full sun. If you grow it for the leaves, stems, or buds then some shade will be fine as long as it is not in dense shade. Growing in three to six hours of sun per day (or dappled shade) are:
- Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, and cress.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
- Leafy Greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach and kale
- Lemon Balm
Remember that you won’t have to water these as often and are quick to wither in hot weather.
Overseas holidays in hot summers have been a big problem for me. You very quickly realise that all your hard work can turn to dry, withered twigs. Its a sad sight come home too. So in the spirit of economic and environmentally friendly ideas, I’ve discovered that it help available.
Simple self watering sub-irrigation system
The GardenBox is something I stumbled nupon to help the budding gardener. It’s designed with a simple sub-irrigation system that saves 90% of the water and only needs to be watered every 2 to 6 weeks. This means that if you forget to water your plants or go away on holidays, you can return with the peace of mind that your herbs and veggies will still get all the nutrients they need ($395 each).
Milk cartons planters
Try something a little unconventional but allows you to reuse those milk cartons. First cut the milk carton in half and then put a few punctures in the top for drainage. Turn the top upside down and set it back into the base. Your container is now ready for planting! Make sure you don’t plant anything that grows too big as there is limited space for the roots to extend in the milk carton.
Speaking of reusing your rubbish and giving it a new life. Try taking all tin cans and creating colourful planters. You can remove the labels, give the can a light scrub and some paint. Once the cans have dried, hammer a few holes at the bottom for drainage and they are ready to plant whatever your heart desires. If you plan to plant edibles in your cans, choose ones that are labelled BPA-free to avoid chemicals leaching into your food.
Try a potted vertical garden if irrigation for traditional vertical gardens are too challenging to maintain. With a wire frame and some ceramic planters, you can achieve a great modern look to cover up any plain balcony wall.
For a cheaper alternative, try using an old shoe organiser as a planter. It works in the same why and is great for herbs but be sure to water evenly and pin some holes at the bottom for some good drainage.
For a great tips on recycling, also visit tumbleweed