Growing a garden is beautiful. You know that.
But there’s a problem.
You live in an apartment and don’t have the growing space.
What if there was a way to grow beautiful smelling flowers, delicious fruits, and organic vegetables in your garden?
The good news is that there is a way and it’s easy to do. The method you can use is apartment gardening. You can grow all kinds of plants in the balcony of your apartment.
Let’s look at some easy tips that can help you get started.
1. Planning is everything for your balcony garden
It’s important to plan how you’re going to use the balcony for your garden. You can draw a rough sketch on paper to understand the layout. It’ll help you make the best use of your limited space.
It’s good to make changes on paper rather than moving plants and materials around later.
An apartment garden has needs like any garden. You’ll have to water the plants, fertilize them, prune them, and care for them.
Adding these activities as part of your plan will make things easier once you get started.
2. Decide on the time to spend in your balcony garden
A garden is a responsibility that needs some part of your time. So decide on how much time you’ll spend working in it.
It’s best that you start slow and with a limited number of plants. You can always add more plants later when you’re grown in confidence.
You’ll have to spend time watering, pruning, and fertilizing the plants in your garden. You can reduce some watering tasks by using a self-watering container.
You can also choose plants like succulents that don’t need to be watered as often. Or you could hire someone to water the plants if you feel that saves your time.
3. Figure out the plants you want to grow in your garden
There are a variety of plants you can grow in your balcony. This could be plants that give fruits, vegetables, or flowers.
So pick what kind of plants you want to grow. Do you like to smell the flowers in the morning? Or would you enjoy the taste of delicious fruits and vegetables?
Do you just want a space that is filled with green plants? Maybe you want to create a relaxing place in your home? Or a privacy screen that protects your home from prying eyes?
You can even mix and match different kinds of plants based on what you want. And slowly add them as part of your garden.
4. Make a budget for your balcony garden
How much you spend on your balcony garden is up to you. You can be as frugal as possible or spend a lot of money.
Don’t mind spending some money on getting good potting soil. That’s a must if you want to have a good base for growing plants.
You can save some money buying second-hand containers for your plants. Check if your neighbors or local gardens are selling seeds and plants as those tend to cheaper.
The good thing about having a balcony garden is you don’t need a lot of tools. Just a pair of gardening gloves, pruner, and watering can should be sufficient.
5. Consider the sunlight that reaches your balcony
Sunlight is one of the most crucial needs of plants in your garden. If you want to grow fruits and vegetables, they need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight.
When planning your balcony garden, note the direction of the sunlight throughout the day. If there are obstructions like walls, other buildings, then your balcony might get indirect sunlight or shade.
The amount of sunlight will also vary based on the seasons from summer to winter.
Once you know the sunlight that reaches your balcony, you can choose the plants accordingly. If you get good sunlight, you can grow full-sun plants. But if there’s a lot of shade, you can consider shade-loving plants.
6. Choose the right containers for your balcony plants
There are a ton of creative ways to use containers in your apartment balcony. This could be containers like pots, hanging planters, wall planters, railing planters, and hanging baskets.
The types of containers you choose depends on the space you want to utilize. And the types of plants you want to grow in the containers.
Plants like tomatoes, peppers, and lemons tend to grow tall and bear a lot of fruit. That’s why you need to grow them in large pots.
Do consider the weight of the container with the plant and the soil to decide whether it’s suitable growing in the balcony.
You can get the containers made with different materials like plastic, terracotta, metal, and ceramic. The plastic containers may not look great but retain moisture for a long time.
The terracotta pots are porous and tend to lose moisture fast. This means you need to water the pots often.
Make sure that the containers have drainage holes at the bottom and a saucer to catch the excess water.
7. Use the right soil for your balcony garden
The worst thing you can do is use the garden soil in your containers. This is an invitation for pests and diseases to reach your plants.
The garden soil may also contain pesticides that will harm your plants especially if they’re fruits and vegetables.
You want to use good quality potting soil that has good aeration. It’s beneficial if the potting soil comes with nutrients as well.
Don’t hesitate to spend a little money on the potting soil as that’s the foundation of a good balcony garden.
You could even top up the potting soil with organic compost that will add rich, organic matter beneficial for plants.
8. Give your plants plenty of water
Plants need plenty of water to grow well. This is more important for plants in containers because they can’t spread their roots into the ground and seek water.
Containers can dry out fast especially when it’s the summer season. That’s why you need to water at least once per day. And more in case you see the plants drying out due to lack of water.
Do remember that terracotta pots tend to dry out faster than plastic ones because they are porous.
One alternative is to use self-watering containers that have a reservoir. Then you don’t need to water as often but keep the reservoir filled with water.
A good watering can is your friend for watering all the plants in your balcony. Make sure that the containers have drainage holes at the bottom so excess water flows out.
9. Vertical gardening can help you get more space
Your apartment may be limited in the space you have to grow plants. But that need not stop you from growing a lot of plants. Vertical gardening is one way of avoiding this problem.
You can grow plants that need vertical support like tomatoes, peppers, beans with the help of a trellis. You can grow vining plants that tend to creep on the supports.
You can also utilize the vertical space with the help of containers like railing planters, hanging planters, wall planters, and hanging baskets.
10. Start with herb gardening
Gardening can be intimidating when you’re a beginner. The best way is to start small and gain confidence.
You can start with herb gardening because it’s easy to grow them. You can choose ones that are suitable for the conditions in your balcony.
You can grow herbs like chive, mint, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano. Growing herbs will help you eat organic while saving you a lot of money.
Creating your own garden is no longer a dream.
All you need to do is take the first step. Make a sketch of the space you have in your apartment balcony and the plants you want to grow.
And you’ll be well on your way to creating the best garden you can.
Kevin Rodrigues is the founder of https://gardeningmentor.com. He’s a software developer that wants to transition into a full-time gardener. He plans to grow an organic garden that can help sustain his family. His love for gardening drives him to share tips, guides, and resources on his website.