Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Excellent Advice for a Balcony Gardener: What You Need Know!

I love to garden, it's not secret!  But, and this is a big BUT,  gardening on a balcony is totally different than growing your garden on level soil!  Let's review some of the differences.

At some point in everyone's life, they must re-evaluate what is important in their lives.  So it came to pass with my husband and I.  We have lived in the same home for almost 40 years and the daily upkeep of the gardens, grass and the household was becoming arduous to say the least.

We started looking for ways to make our lives easier and less strenuous on our bodies.  Apartment/Condo living was looming before us.  Neither one of us could do the stairs well any longer.  So to that end, we made the decision that many find difficult!  We gave up our primary residence for an apartment.
                                                     https://pixabay.com/en/home-facade-architecture-barcelona-964537/


So What's So New About That?

Well anyone who knows me, knows that I can garden from morning till evening without stop.  What will I do when there is no longer a patch of ground that needs my attention?  Truly I was a little distressed at the upcoming move.  But, at this point I am here to tell you that so far I have survived without having the time to weep over the weeds, mourn the loss of the dirt, or sympathize over the lack of sore muscles after having over done the weeding in the first weeks of May.  


Let's Review What Can be Done 18 Stories up in the Air!


Reviewing what I can do in my new space has given me a new direction for my gardening abilities or lack thereof.  Well let's just agree that my gardening skills 18 stories up in the air have not been tested yet.  One thing is certain, after only two weeks in my new surroundings, I know that my gardening efforts will be different.  No Question About IT!

There are a list of things that you need to know about your new surroundings!

  1. You need to know which direction you face.  Is your apartment facing north, south, east or west or a combination of those.
  2. You need to know if your growing zone has changed.  That will depend on how far away you have moved.
  3. You need to know what is allowed and what is forbidden as far as growing things on your balcony. (This assumes that you do indeed have a balcony)
  4. Then you need to decide what you absolutely have to grow, like tomatoes or cucumbers or beans.
  5. Now you need to do some research.  What will grow well in pots and how big do those pots need to be?

When you have reviewed those answers then you can make some decisions.  


I am blessed in that our apartment faces south, so sunlight is abundant, but not overwhelming.  Having an overhang helps to keep the balcony sunny but it does not become an oven, even in the heat of the day.
So for my particular circumstances, I will be able to grow tomatoes, peppers, beans and more.  What I need now is a way to grow all of these without loosing so much space that there is nowhere to go out and enjoy the view.  
                                                                        https://pixabay.com/en/fordon-slope-view-residential-area-904300/


Vertical Gardening

I have found the answer to my prayers.  The biggest new fad in gardening seems to be making the most of the space you have available.  That for me is a blessing.  My space has diminished by at least 50% and of that 50% I want to be able to sit and enjoy my surroundings.  So my actual space is quite a bit less than I had before.

When you can't grow wide, you need to grow tall.  Use the space in the air for everything that you don't have space for in the ground. It makes a whole lot of sense really.

My old garden was probably about 20 feet by 35 feet.  My balcony is about 20 feet by 6 feet.  So my choices in ways to garden have been severely changed.  I will grow flowers to make my soul happy in balcony planters which are allowed in my building.  Having two already, I will increase that number to six within the next few weeks. Then for my vegetables I have decided to go with a vertical garden that also combines the ability to compost.




These choices that I show you here, don't allow you to grow in abundance, but will be great for herbs, some smaller flowers and just the ability to get your hands dirty.  For me this would be just a tease.  For many gardeners though, this would be enough to keep them happy.

Is it enough for me?


For my own purposes and for my joy of gardening I have gone the whole nine yards(no puns intended).  My choice is a little expensive, but offers me the ability to grow many vegetables, herbs and flowers in one place. It also offers the ability to compost all my kitchen scraps and have a vermi-culture happening all at the same time.  For myself it is a win-win proposition.  I didn't have to think about it for too long.   I'm talking about the Grow Tower 2.  I saw an ad for this unit and researched it further.  I am convinced that it will be my new favorite growing station all in one place.


This unit is my newest addition to my balcony since moving two weeks ago......and here's a link for you to see why I think this is going to be one heck of a great addition to my living space. Garden Tower  Project will let you see why I'm so excited to be gardening in this totally new way. I can control the plants I want to grow.  I can use the composted material to naturally feed my plants and I can see that there have been no pesticides in use too.  All natural and good for us is the way I want to garden and I will do so in a very limited space.  I'm looking forward to this new escapade and will keep you all in the loop.

Stay tuned! 

I promise to keep you updated on the results of my new foray into the world of gardening in a limited space and let you see my pictures of the Garden Tower Project so you can review the changes as they occur on my own balcony in a zone 6a growing area.  Maybe this Review will help you to make the leap into vertical gardening and have you enjoying the fruits of your own labor too!





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

9 comments:

  1. So now we know what your big move involved, Olivia. :) Congrats - and enjoy plying your gardening skills to the challenge of a smaller and different (above ground) space.

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    1. Thank you Miss Elf. We are still unpacking boxes and sorting things. I am missing my "computer bible" I should have packed that better. There is so much information in there that I depend on. If I ever move again, that is going with my valuables in a space that I control. Looking forward to the new challenge.

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  2. Oh, I am so glad you found a way that suits you and your need to continue gardening Olivia! I am not restricted to just a balcony yet, but I will definitely keep the tower in mind. I believe it was Dawn Rae that first introduced me to vertical gardening and I have oft wondered if it would still be a valuable option for me with our pups who trample anything. I sincerely hope you love your new apartment and that you find it much easier.

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    1. Thank you Miss Sylvestermouse. It is certainly a change but one that I am already learning to love. Now if I could just find those things that I need for my day to day blogging activities I would be a lot happier. I am missing my "Computer Bible", you know the one where you put all the codes that you use on a regular basis. It's still missing in one of the boxes that are still to be unpacked. Oh boy, that better happen soon. I'm a mess without my notes.

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  3. Good luck to you Olivia in your new home. We have very little space for gardening where we currently live, but we do have a rather large deck out back and can use many of your ideas there. Thanks so much for the tips and I'll be looking for updates :)

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  4. Wow, Olivia, that is an awesome planting system! I love that the plants use the nutrients from the compost that comes from your kitchen waste. I can't wait to read more about it as your project progresses. Best wishes on your new apartment and I pray that everything works out well for you there for a long time to come!

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  5. Looks like you're making the best of the space you have. I don't think I'll ever live 18 stories up, but I may have to grow most of my veggies on my patio, so I will probably need to adopt some of the same containers you have.

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  6. Oh Olivia, that Garden Tower looks wonderful. I'm anxious to see photos as you progress.

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  7. Oh my goodness, you've made the move to a condo! That's a big decision and since you love to garden you're going to have the best darn balcony in the place. Balconies done up with a lot of greenery are the absolute best ones. They look good from the street as well as from inside and it gives the feel of being in a yard when you step out. When we sell our home, if we decide against another home, it will be back to condo living for us as well. I'll have to refer to your tips when the time comes.

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