You don’t need acres of land to flex your green thumb. All you need is some ingenuity, time and patience. If you are short on space but still want to try your hand at gardening, you have come to the right place. Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Not all plants need sprawling acres to grow, some are just right for your smaller living space.
Want to get a head start on creating your own green space? Read on to learn how to grow a small garden on your balcony.
1. Advantages of a balcony garden
There are lots of reasons for you to give a balcony garden a try. First of all, you reap the benefits. Whether you are planting veggies or flowers, you will have visual proof of your hard work. Also, there are some plants that are perfectly suited for a small and enclosed environment. Finally, apartment living can make you feel a bit removed by nature. A balcony garden lets you be one with the earth even if you are five stories up.
2. Different types of planters
There are lots of very pretty planters on the market and there is one for virtually every taste and price range. Some have multiple tiers so that you can maximize the number of plants you have growing in one space. There are self-watering planters that do the work of watering your plants for you. But, before you make your first purchase, come up with a game plan. Figure out how much space you want to dedicate to your garden. It’s not a bad idea to sketch a rough blueprint for yourself. You are not working with a ton of space, so figure out a way to utilize what you have wisely. Also, remember that you may have to switch your plants into larger planters as they grow and mature.
3. Look up
Since you don’t have a lot of space, try to think vertically instead of horizontally. Look for planters you can hang. You can also try attaching containers to the wall. Check out this mounted herb garden from Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/192880796510853225/. Also, this tutorial helps you make a hanging garden out of gutters: http://nestinstyle.com/garden/how-to-make-a-hanging-gutter-garden/ .
4. Don’t overdo it
It’s easy to get excited about your new garden, but try not to overdo it. Your balcony is only designed to hold so much weight. Too many plants and planters can create a safety hazard in the event that there is an emergency and you have to get out or emergency crews have to get in. Also, in such a small space, too many plants can crowd out the sun for other plants which means that they won’t all get a chance to grow and flourish. You may want to check with an expert to see how much weight your balcony can support before you begin your project.
5. Grow veggies
Vegetable gardens aren’t just for the farm. There are lots of veggies you can grow in just a little bit of space. A few of those foods are: tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers and beans. If you are growing different veggies in different planters, make sure you clearly mark which ones are which. For more info, check out this site: http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/container-vegetable-gardens.html
6. Spring fling flowers
You can’t eat flowers, but they sure are pretty to look at. That’s reason enough to attempt to grow them in your balcony garden. Flowers can pretty much grow anywhere as long as they have the right care. Make sure your flowers get plenty of water and sunlight. Educate yourself before you plant so you know if your flowers need special conditions to grow tall and strong.
Vines can make your balcony look less like a boring balcony and more like a part of nature. However, make sure your vines don’t get out of control. Make sure to keep your vines under control so they stay on your property and don’t overtake your neighbor’s balconies, too. Instead, you can train your vines to climb trellises. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your vines off of things that have to be repainted or retreated occasionally. That’s because once they claim something as theirs it’s hard to get them to let go.
8. Add seating and enjoy the view
What’s the use of putting in all the hard work that comes with cultivating a garden if you can’t sit back and enjoy it? Make sure to add some seating to your balcony.
9. Keeping your garden neat
Because your garden is confined to containers, you will have less mess to contend with than other gardeners, but you will still have things you will need to tend to and haul away. Make sure to pull up weeds, dead plants and rotten fruits and veggies as soon as you spot them. Haul any trash or refuse completely off the balcony so that they are out of the way and don’t blow onto neighbor’s balconies. Be careful when watering so that excess water doesn’t flow outside the confines of your balcony or onto an unsuspecting person below.
10. Be neighborly
Make sure your habit doesn’t bother people who may be living around you. If you are renting, or if there are rules and regulations for people in your community, check with whoever you need to so that you can get their ok before you start planting. Keep your garden neat and tidy. Keep everything firmly on your property. If you really want to get your neighbors on your side, butter them up with some pretty flowers or fresh homegrown tomatoes.
Gardening is a relaxing and rewarding hobby. Heed these suggestions and you’ll be tiptoeing through the tulips in no time at all!