Now that is what we call a garden on a balcony! Source: gardening etc
Choose plants that do well in pots
Be aware of the altitude
Vertical gardening for space maximisation
Remember the good old times when our grandpa and grandma owned a nice house in the village with a large land filled with lush crops for the picking? Face it, fellow farmer-citizens, landed houses are a thing of the past unless you plan to buy a home at the outskirts of the city, far far away. Even then, they are not cheap, ouch!
Hence the only feasible way for us to grow our plant babies is at the balcony. Impossible, you say? Hold up. Even the word “impossible” can be broken up into “I’m possible.” So turn that frown of yours upside down, and let’s get digging. Oh, I forgot, this is the balcony. Bring out the pots then!
They love the pots
The right plant in the right place. Source: cosmopolitan
Not all plants work well with pots, as some species in particular require much room to spread out their roots for aeration purposes and more. Hence if we are to take the confined space of the balcony into the equation, any plant that needs ample space is a no-go.
Want to know what works in pots? Herbs! Onions, thyme, sage, rosemary and bay are my go-to plants because they are small and easy to care for. Even better, I don’t need to visit the grocery shop for my raw materials since they are sitting right outside the balcony, chilling in the sun.
If you are into aesthetics, chrysanthemums, begonia, and petunia will find themselves at home in pots. That should turn your balcony into a profusion of colourful rainbow petals.
Attitude problem…we mean altitude problem
Break the wind before the wind breaks your plant. Source: getty images
People may assume that gardening on ground level is similar to gardening at a height, let’s say at the top floor of an apartment building. That could not be further away from the truth.
For starters, hot drying winds constantly blow at an altitude, quickly parching your plant babies. Hence you will need to make provisions by watering them often or erecting a windbreak to block out the wind. Feeling lazy? Just use a self-watering pot.
As a bonus, the windbreak serves as a great support for your climbing vines too, assuming if you plant some. Besides, the windbreak gives you some privacy by disrupting the vision of your nosy neighbours. Win-win!
Another factor to consider is sunlight exposure. Even the hardiest plant needs to take a bath in the sunlight occasionally. Just like me. I take a bath only once a week to reduce the wastage of water. Usually I just perform self-grooming.
Anyway, balconies are usually shady, unlike a farm at ground level. If your balcony faces east or west, it will only get direct sunlight for part of the day.
If it faces north, then it may not get any direct sunlight at all. Then there are also the neighbouring buildings that might block natural light. So farmer-house-buyers, prior planning is important if you intend to turn that balcony into a cornucopia.
Either that or you can get shade-loving plants. Lettuces, salad, and parsley come to mind, and they will also reward you by filling up your refrigerator upon maturity.
Why go down when you can go up?
Plant babies. Plant babies everywhere! Source: deardesigner
Time to laugh at all those landed house owners who can only grow their crops horizontally. We apartment farmers are a versatile lot and we love to show our creativity and innovation by growing our plants through various positions, vertically or horizontally.
Forget about pots for a moment. Horizontal planter boxes are what you are looking for if you want to save space. And why keep your pots on the ground? Get some hanging pots to hold your leafy friends too. Either that or a rattan basket. You can keep them close to the wall or have them swinging at the edge of the balcony, whichever strikes your fancy. Need more space? Get a cupboard and fit those smaller pots inside the cubbyholes. Just don’t overdo it because you will need some space for body movements on the balcony.
Food, privacy and love is in the air…or in the balcony
The garden is sprouting with the fruits of your labour, making your apartment unit look as though it has grown a green unruly beard. And your annoying neighbours who are constantly peering in through your balcony can see nothing but the great job you have cultivated. Life is so much better when you have your green babies by your side. They give you love, shade, privacy and when you get hungry, you can eat them too. Don’t tell them I said that, okay?