Gardening Without a Garden

balcony-garden-designBy: Erica Wery

Many apartment renters do not realize the vast, untapped potential they possess for gardening. Long gone is the outdated notion that you need a plot of land in order to properly garden. No matter what your dimensions of available space, possibility and creativity can still abound.

I have always enjoyed gardening ever since I was a small child. Every spring, my mother would take me to the store and allow me to select flowers and seeds to plant on my own. I would then tend to them for the coming months, and be greeted by the inevitable frost that would claim my beloved plants until the warmth and promise of the following spring.

My love for gardening has grown with me (no pun intended). Now that I live on my own and have access to my own deck, I have found myself utilizing every available inch and progressively building my own urban oasis.

Even when I still lived at home with my parents, I began experimenting with potted plants. I was amazed at the variety of things that would grow successfully from a pot or planter. The knowledge and experience that I acquired along the way has leant itself to my overall yearly success.

I’ve put together the following list of tips that will help lead you to gardening success:

  1. Start your seeds inside at least a month or six weeks before you would place them outside (without risk of frost). Seed starting trays can be purchased at most gardening centers. Make sure you have a sunny location inside that you can place them in.
  2. Select a purpose for your garden. Is it decorative, or do you want to grow edible plants and vegetables?
  3. Select specific plants to attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
  4. Hanging baskets, vines, and fast-growing climbers are good for small spaces because they will utilize unused vertical space.
  5. Layer plants that bloom at different times on top of one another in containers.
  6. Select your plants according to the amount of shade and sunshine in your space.
  7. Study how sunlight moves across the space over the course of a day and cluster your containers in areas where they will thrive.
  8. Clustering pots make it easier to water plants efficiently. Most containers will dry out and need water every day; during a heat wave, water twice a day (morning and late evening, never during the hottest part of the day).
  9. Where is your water going to come from? If no outside water faucet is available, then investing in several inexpensive watering pails will do the trick.
  10. Identify and address possible pests before they get out of control.

Also, please check out: http://www.balconycontainergardening.com/ which offers a vast assortment of topics, advice, and tricks to make the balcony or patio your very own wonderland.

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