The long hours of sunlight and warm days of the summer months are the perfect time to start a new garden. Though we tend to think of gardens as a feature of homes with large yards, those of us confined to balconies and windows boxes can still create plenty of space to grow flowers, herbs and even some vegetables. Here are some tips to make the most out of a summer garden in a tight space.
Start with small plants, such as herbs or flowers, that are easy to grow.
Small, annual flowers, such as marigolds, pansies and impatiens, grow very well in the confined space of a planter box. Likewise, most herbs remain compact if they are harvested regularly, making them a perfect addition to either a window box or a small pot. Adding a touch of greenery or splash of color can go a long way towards making a balcony feel more alive and vibrant, and many of these smaller plants are relatively easy to grow. When shopping for a new plant, you’ll want to look for ones that appear healthy, with no abnormal spots on the leaves or dead branches coming off.
With herbs, proper harvesting is key to the plant’s health, so the balcony gardener should check with websites or books to learn the specifics for each plant.
Grow crops that have patio varieties.
Many crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants come in a number of different varieties. Choose a compact breed, which will often be labeled as a plant ideal for a planter or pot, and thin it out to keep it a manageable size. These types of plants can both make a patio look more beautiful and provide nutritious veggies.
Use good soil and fertilize frequently.
Plants need a lot of nutrients from soil in order to thrive which is why many of them will not do well in pots and planters. Starting with good soil is the best way to ensure that your plants turn out healthy and strong. Potted plants will also need to be fertilized frequently because there are fewer bugs in potting soil to help enrich it naturally. Choose a high quality fertilizer and be sure to use it often.
Use pots with good drainage.
Many pots and planters are made without drain holes. While this can help keep an indoor plant from making a mess on the floor, for outdoor plants that may need to be watered more frequently, these planters can lead to a gardener accidentally water-logging the plant’s roots. Too much water, just like too little, can kill a plant. Proper drainage is a must for patio planters.
Make sure there’s good light where you place your plants.
Different types of plants like varying degrees of sun. A patio that gets a lot of direct, afternoon sun may get too hot and bright for many plants. Chose plants that will do well in the type of sunlight that you have and remember that you can slide them around the patio if they seem to need more or less light.
Have a patio garden? We’d LOVE to see pictures! Upload them on our Facebook page!