A lament of many condo owners and apartment dwellers is the lack of space for growing green things outdoors. However, as approximately 22% of Calgarians live in condos, there are hundreds of thousands looking for ways to nurse their green thumbs regardless of their living circumstances.
Thankfully, as times evolve, there are more and more clever ways to brighten up your balcony and allow condo owners and apartment dwellers to get their hands dirty, such as container gardening and vertical landscaping. As the summer winds down, check your local garden centres for sales on specialty products so you can get growing as soon as possible next spring.
Make the most of your balcony landscaping space by going vertical. There are great options available now for tiered gardens that allow you to exponentially increase the number of plants you can fit in your small space.
Many people are making use of wooden pallets for their vertical gardens. Often they can be found for free at stores (make sure to ask first!). They can be secured to a wall, and then pots and planters hung off them for a beautiful visual display.
Fabric vertical planters are also a great options, as they can be easily folded up and stored away when the growing season is done. They are also much lighter than your average planter and so can be easily hung without having to cause damage.
A narrow set of shelves can also work for a vertical garden, but must be sturdy enough to not tip over in inclement weather.
You can also plant vertically using plant stands to add variety to your plants’ heights.
Balcony vegetable garden
Yes, you can plant for food on your balcony! Small pots are good for leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, and you can even mix in some annuals for variety of colour. Tomatoes require larger pots and must be supported by stakes. Peppers need deep pots of at least one foot in height. Hanging vertical planters are perfect for herbs. The possibilities are endless, but just ensure you have the right size pot for the plant. Read the instructions one the plant carefully when you purchase it and ensure you have the right space and amount of sun available.
Use potting soil especially designed for vegetables and don’t be afraid to mix in a little bit of compost.
Be careful of …
Your condo rules and regulations. Be sure to read your condo building’s bylaws to find out exactly what is permitted on balconies. Some may not allow anything to be hung on railings, and others may stipulate no damage can be done to exterior walls. Be careful to avoid any conflict or fines.
Weight. Dirt and containers can get very heavy very fast, especially when moist. Be sure you know exactly how much weight your balcony can take and do not go over the limit.
Wind and weather. Balconies, especially those that are higher up, are subject to fierce gusts of winds. Keep everything on your balcony carefully secured so as not to blow away and potentially damage someone else’s property.
Tipping. Tall (and small) potted plants can be easily knocked over, which is not only messy for you, but also your downstairs neighbours. Choose the right size pot for the plant, and layer the bottom with heavy objects such as rocks to make them harder to tip. Use stakes to support the plants and place then next to a wall to act as a windbreak.
Too much sun or too much shade. Depending on where your balcony faces, or what you have surrounding your building, you may face far too much heat or far too much shade. Watch your plants closely and make sure you are watering them when dry and moving them into the sun when they won’t dry out.
Watering. Make sure to place saucers or trays underneath your pots to ensure there is no spillage that can damage your balcony or building. A collapsible watering can is a great option for a balcony as they can squish up and be easily tucked away.
Pesky fowl. Keep unwelcome birds away from your balcony by placing shiny objects near your plants. Birds tend to avoid anything shining and flashing. Options include dangling CDs and shiny tape. Fake owl statues also work, as the birds think there’s an actual owl up there waiting for them. There are also bird repellants available.
Have a landscaping dream in mind?
Mirage Landscaping is a full-service Calgary landscape design, construction and maintenance company serving residential and commercial property owners throughout the area. We provide services for all phases of your landscaping projects, from concept through to completion, including design, construction and installation. Discover our work through our portfolio, and contact us for a fast, free quote.