Small Space Gardening Tips
by Bernadette Miller
Just because you live in an apartment does not mean that you cannot enjoy the benefits of having freshly grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Many apartment dwellers have successfully planted their own patio or balcony gardens; with effort, and by following a few helpful tips, you can bring out your green thumb on your apartment patio or balcony as well. For this article, the term ‘patio’ and ‘balcony’ are used interchangeably.
CREATE A GARDEN DESIGN
Some patio gardeners will simply invest in a few packages of seeds or a few potted plants and see what happens, but if you want to enjoy the best results, it would be a good idea to put some time and effort into designing your space. Think about how large plants grow, what types of foods you will eat, and how much of them you want. Also, consider whether the plants are annuals or perennials when making your plan, and what their care requirements are. Finally, whether you want to splurge, or keep it low-key, keep your budget in mind. Almost anything can serve as a container, and saving seeds, participating in plant swaps and getting cuttings from friends are great ways to get started with minimal investment. Conduct research online or visit a local nursery to fully complete your garden design.
USE VERTICAL SPACE
A thoughtful idea when horizontal space is limited is to use vertical space. You can invest in a planter's rack or shelving to add square meterage to your garden. Consider how shelving along the two to three walls of the balcony would add to your space, but also think about creating more shady areas or taking advantage of sunlight by using shelving against the open areas near the railing.
THINK ABOUT WEATHER CONDITIONS ON YOUR PATIO OR BALCONY
Another factor to consider when designing your space is to consider weather conditions. Some plants require regular water, and you may have to water them every day or every other day for them to thrive. Keep in mind that potted plants may dry out more quickly than those in the ground. In addition, consider the amount of sunshine your patio or balcony receives and how much wind is present. Every balcony is different; some offer full sun, full shade, or partial shade. If necessary, invest in a sun cover to block the sun as needed for some of your plants.
Growing a patio garden can be a fun hobby and a great way to produce your own healthy fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These tips can help your initial efforts with small space gardening be more successful.
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