It can be challenging making a balcony garden in a unit or apartment block. We provide you with the need-to-know about creating your balcony sanctuary.
Everybody should be able to enjoy a garden, no matter where they live. By using specific tips, even a small balcony can sprout a selection of fruit, vegetables and herbs. Here’s the need-to-know about creating a balcony garden
1. Sun and shade
Assess your balcony. How much sun does it get during the day? Is the sun obstructed in any areas? Choose a spot that is in the sun for at least three to four hours a day.
A balcony, even a few floors up, will be affected by wind. If you live close to the ocean, salt is also a factor and it will dry out your pots. Create a wind break by setting up a shelf that elevates your pots from the ground – holding the taller plants at the back and the smaller pots in the front.
Consider herbs if you’re a keen foodie: coriander, basil, parsley, and oregano are easy to grow from pots.
Consider fruits: plants you may not expect are suitable for a balcony garden, including citrus fruits, blueberries, currants and figs.
Consider vegetables: mignonette lettuces, cabbages, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and Asian vegetables are ideal.
Choose pots dependants on your choice of plants and the space available to grow. Terracotta, glazed ceramic and plastic are the most suitable. Small fruit and vegetable plants generally require pots 25-30cms in depth. Remember to add drainage holes at the base, but add a drip tray to minimise water wastage – some balconies have sloped floors and drains.
Tip – take note of the weight of your pots as they can be collectively heavy for your balcony. Opt for plastic to reduce the weight.
5. Potting Mix
The essential for any budding green thumb. Use a high quality mix like Osmocote Potting Mix. This is to ensure the soil is high in nutrients and well drained.
One of the main reasons that plants in balcony gardens die is lack of water or irregular watering. Create your own drip irrigation system with a battery timer to make sure your seedlings survive.