Life on the balcony (3)

Life on the balcony

The number of apartments is growing with increasing population. More buildings usually mean less green spaces and a grayer city. Living in an apartment must not keep you away from having a healthy green space.

Even small spaces such as a balcony can become a rewarding and refreshing garden of your own. All you need is a smart planning.

What do you want from your garden? Ask yourself, which type of a gaLife on the balcony (2)rden you would like to walk into each day? This also depends mostly on the space, sun and wind exposure and also on the irrigation system available. But first thing is first.

Weight management: Firstly, find out how much weight your balcony can hold. Use light weight containers and compost. Good quantity plastic pots are one option.

Make most of the space you have: Figure out what else you need your balcony for. You can have your garden, a space to dry clothes and a place to sit and enjoy your garden.

  • Use your balcony walls to maximize your space. Hanging baskets and flowering vines can do the job beautifully.
  • Install a cement slab or a wooden plank on some blocks to give you an extra space to put your plants. Space under it can become your storage for empty pots, compost bin or watering can.
  • Don’t get carried away. A crowded garden will not be pleasing and will be hard to maintain.

Sun and wind exposure: It is very important to know how much wind and sun does your balcony receive each day before you go on plant shopping.

  • Strong winds will not be liked by most of the plant. Place your pots beside the walls which will act as a wind breaker.
  • Sun exposure is not an issue because nature has produced plants with different need for the sun. If your balcony gets full sun, you can grow almost everything in it successfully. Be it crops or flowers. If your balcony receives partial sunlight, you will have a whole new range of plants to chose from. You can grow all the herbs,orchids, ferns and vegetables that enjoy indirect sunlight.
  • Most of the apartments have combination of such spaces that means one can grow anything that he likes.

Effective watering: Your plants need pure water. If your apartment doesn’t offer you drinkable water and you are purchasing water for consumption then you can easily purify your saline water with low priced but good quality products available in markets.

Also keep in mind the slope of your balcony for drainage. Ideally, you will not flood your floor with water by using a watering can.

Life on the balcony (1)Grow crops in the balcony: Grow your own food. You can try different combination of vegetables in a single pot. Plant radishes and leaf lettuce together to save space. Have at least 2 pots of tomatoes all the time,eggplants, cucumber, pepper, chillies and lemon are must haves. You can grow herbs that you use everyday in hanging baskets i.e coriander, mint, fenugreek etc. some fruiting trees like chiko will also do great in a container. Do include some fragrant flowers that will invite butterflies and bees and will also make your house smell like heaven.

I have a 11 by 4 feet long balcony in which I am presently growing, bitter gourd, pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumber, celery,mints, coriander, fenugreek, chives, basils, parsley, lemon grass, cardimon, lemon, chiko and lemon as edibles. And orchids, ferns, cactus, jasmine and roses to add more life to my balcony.

Add life to your balcony too.

Happy gardening !

WRITTEN BY:

Zahra Ali Husain is a sustainability educator, freelance writer and an environmentalist. She is also a co-founder of Organic City Pakistan and runs the Green Schools & the Horticulture Therapy programs along with Yasir Husain. Zahra also manages an organic farm.

  • The chillies look really hot!
    I wanna plant iceberg this season, kindly let me know when to plant them and where to get the seeds.
    Many thanks in advance!!!

    10/05/2011
  • Anonymous
    REPLY

    Zahra,

    One question with regard to

    Apologies for my ignorance, but where do I get Good quality plastic pots in Karachi. ( I am new in Karachi 🙂
    I tried various plastic containers but they all submit to mother sunlight.

    Ibrahim

    06/06/2011
  • Always happy to connect with another balcony gardener. Working through your site – great information and interesting posts. Although our growing seasons (and views from the balcony) are very different, looks like we are growing some similar plants.

    21/06/2011
  • Tak til deling!

    04/07/2012

LEAVE A COMMENT