The concept of balcony gardening is always associated with urbanization. In cities, many people generally tend to live in apartments where they usually don’t have much space to grow their plants as compared to rural areas.
For them, a balcony becomes the only option where they can create their own little garden. It is the best spot where there is a great availability of good sunlight, and challenges you to think in a creative way to build a garden in such a limited space.
Before starting your journey of balcony gardening, I would like you to first understand the necessary information and the rules and regulations related to gardening on the balcony. As it would be highly beneficial, and ease your journey.
First, and foremost what is meant by balcony gardening?
Let me give you a quick understanding, Balcony gardening is a type of garden where you opt for container gardening or pot technique. Opposite to the traditional gardens, where you can grow veggies or flowers on the surface of the soil without, or using any containers. The reasons for such a distinct nature of the balcony garden are due to the lack of space and a concrete platform to work on.
Things to know before starting your new balcony garden
1. DON’T start until you know this:
It is so important to contact the management team of the condo or apartments that you’re living in. As, oftentimes, some of the condos, and apartments don’t allow gardening on the balcony due to several issues such as low endurance to the soil weight, attracting the pest, and birds can disturb the neighboring people.
And, they may also restrict the balcony for only planting flowers. In a way, if your apartment management team allows it, then learn the rules, and regulations to avoid any dispute.
2. Water supply:
Water is a highly essential element while growing plants. Therefore, you must make sure that your balcony needs to have a water supply near it. It will be easier to water the plants. In case you don’t have a water supply near the balcony area, then invest in a watering can to solve the above problem.
Moreover, pay attention to the drainage of water from your plants, and check whether the excess water is not getting into other people’s property.
3. Check the balcony facing direction, temperature, and wind flow
Knowing the balcony facing direction is a must because there is a requirement of sunlight that plants need in order to grow. If your balcony doesn’t stand next to the requirement, then you should drop the idea of balcony gardening.
The best-facing direction would be north, east, or northeast, where you can grow flower plants, herbs, and vegetables. For west-facing, pick up the full sunlight-loving plants. And remember, the south-facing area gets all day-long sunlight.
Understanding the temperature of the balcony brings you an idea of what you can grow if the temperature is high and low. Tropical plants grow healthy even with high temperatures, whereas daffodils and lilacs can grow in low temperatures.
Similarly, the wind blow check is necessary in order to protect your plants from shedding up leaves, or fruits. The balcony can get windy depending on how much higher is your floor. In this situation, buy windbreaks or balcony privacy screens to restrict the wind blow rates in your balcony.
4. What’s your budget?
That being said, seeing the most aesthetic pictures of balcony gardening on Instagram, and Pinterest can surely make you feel overwhelmed. And, you wish to invest a lot of money to make the view look stunning.
But budgeting, and planning for your gardening for balcony are also the fundamental steps you should look forward to first as it will help you stick to the plan. You can easily decide what you need v/s what you want exactly for your small garden.
5. Picking the right plants
Starting with beginner-friendly plants is always a good idea. Take for example plants like money plant, aloe vera, snake plant, cactus, or herbs like mint, basil, or succulents. If you wish to attract birds, and butterflies, then grow fuchsia, or gardenia.
Okay, now in terms of bigger spaces, then go for a bamboo plant for adding privacy, or a rubber plant. Try to add dynamicity, and balance in your balcony garden. Also, don’t forget that your plants must align with the given temperature, and soil to boost their growth.
6. Equipment, and Containers
Yes, equipment and containers are essential for making it efficient to work with balcony gardens. Below is a list of basic tools that you must have for gardening.
- The watering can will be a great support as it can prevent excess water drainage. They have light sprinklers which ensure the moisture of the soil is not over-watering
- Since we are in a limited space, it becomes highly important to cut the excess branches for a cleaner look and get rid of any dead foliage to keep the plants healthy. That’s why pruners should be used over the scissors.
- If you are sensitive, or cautious about your nails getting dirt while working with the soil, then get yourself gloves. Also, they can be a great use when you are using fertilizers upon your plants.
- For easily transferring your saplings or digging a hole inside the container, then trowels can do it for you.
- We also need to get ready to combat the problem of pests, as this is something important when you’re living in a condo, or apartments. And pesticides are helpful for ensuring the healthy growth of the plants, and happy neighbors.
- You need soil that needs to be well balanced with nutrients that give the plants to grow nicely. But after harvesting, your soil will lose its fertility and, hence the fertilizers come in the picture for again replenishing your soil with essential nutrients.
- Lastly for tools, garden forks are needed because there are certain things that trowels can’t do. Like mixing the soil with fertilizers, or losing your soil similar to the spade.
- Containers for balcony gardens should be picked up wisely. There are different criteria to look at while investing, such as the wind problem can be tackled by using earth pots, or ceramic pots, fabric bags for better water drainage and airflow, or plastic containers for hanging plants. Lastly, if you wish to grow veggies in your balcony garden, then size of the containers should be appropriate to give them enough room to grow.
- If you’re growing climbers, then consider the sticks and strings for giving them support. Not just climber plants, the tomato plants once they bear flowers and fruits, you should place a stick to make sure they don’t lose their strength to stand.
7. Don’t forget about vertical gardening:
When you have a limited space, it definitely becomes a lot more challenging to start. However, this challenging part makes it more different, and fun. However, I again recommend you to have a plan first to prevent any future issues. Vertical gardening will be your friend, you can have an herb wall, or a veggie garden by simply using a ladder, shelf, or stick.
In terms of scarcity of soil at your place, then use the method of growing your plants in water. These days, you can see many people growing plants easily in water on Youtube. Both vertical gardening and hydroponics methods are awesome if you face any issue related to soil.
Other growing methods can be hanging gardens for flower gardens by using hanging planters, and window box gardens are great for someone who wishes to start small balcony gardens.
8. Take baby steps:
As a beginner, you may feel the urge to bring a lot of plants to take care of. However, you need to ask yourself if you are able to provide them with the maintenance they want? Or the budget is too much to handle right now.
We suggest you take the matter into consideration, and start this journey wisely. Taking the baby step is more convenient than complicating the process as it gives you the learning of how to take care of the plants.
You need to enjoy the ups, and downs of this joy of growing plants. And let’s say if you love the idea of gardening, you can sign up for courses, or even take tutorials when you feel like you need help!
I hope this guide for balcony gardening gave you an overview of how you can approach this form of gardening. It aims for complete beginners so that; they don’t need to worry about the process.
Moreover, you can, of course, decorate the balcony area with string lights, or furniture to encourage yourself to always learn and spend time in your small garden.
Go for DIY crafts for less spending! You can comment down your tips, and tricks if you have one from your own balcony gardening journey. I would highly appreciate your tips and tricks, and others too.