Apartment dwellers rejoice: Gone are the days when suburbanites and a privileged few were the only ones who could enjoy a bountiful garden! Today, it’s easy to transform one’s balcony into a miniature paradise and grow at least part of your own food.
Using the Right Tools
Before turning your balcony into a green oasis, make sure it is strong enough to support the weight of the containers, planters, and brackets to be used. Usually, balconies can support up to 350 kg per square meter.
Choose large planters at least 30 cm deep to allow for root growth and with drainage holes. Opt for light plastic planters. Even if those made of earthenware or terracotta may look prettier, their greater porosity means you will have to water your plants more often. As well, plastic planters come in all sorts of shapes and colours—ideal for creating great combinations!
Don’t use regular soil, which is too heavy. Buy potting soil sold at garden centres—it’s much lighter and will retain moisture much longer, especially if you mix in compost (¾ soil, ¼ compost).
Choosing Vegetables Suitable for Urban Gardening
When gardening in small spaces, you must make sure to plant vegetables that are sure to grow. Beans, broad beans, tomatoes, radishes, small squash, and cucumbers will grow happily in hanging baskets.
Choose native plants rather than exotic ones; the former are better suited to our climate, will require less care, and live longer.
Mix form and function! In addition to smelling and tasting wonderful, edible flowers and aromatic plants have medicinal properties and practical uses. Use thyme, ginger, and rosemary to prepare healthy infusions against sore throats (and hangovers). Plant fragrant geraniums to keep mosquitoes away and aloe vera to soothe sunburnt skin.
We know you’re very proud of your garden and would like to show it off to your entire neighbourhood… or not. In cities, alleys sometimes offer residents no privacy and this can be frustrating. Why not install a basket of fire or a small wooden trellis to grow jasmine, honeysuckle, or clematis for fragrant elegance!
Thriving on Teamwork
To ensure this urban planning experience is pleasant for everyone, involve your landlord from the start. Discuss your vision of the project, the various steps to carry it out, and the material you will need.
Avoid creepers which, despite their multiple properties, may damage the walls of the apartment building and become invasive. To eliminate the risk of accidents or breakage, consider installing the hanging baskets over your own balcony and make sure they do not to exceed the maximum weight allowed.
Also upkeep your garden… You wouldn’t want it to look neglected and drive away good neighbours!