3 Balcony Garden Essentials

Because space is limited in balcony gardens, find miniature varieties of your favorite plants.

Even if your only outdoor space is perched stories above the ground, you can have a bountiful harvest at your fingertips. With a little forethought, practically any herb, vegetable or flower is possible in a balcony garden. Here are three tips to consider for balcony-garden success:

Be aware of your balcony-garden location.

Most edible plants require at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day, but balcony gardens come with a unique microclimate compared to ground-level gardens. During the summer, southern or western exposures may feel like an oven, so protect your plants during the hottest months with a lattice screen or by tucking them underneath the roof line. There can also be wind issues that will wreak havoc. Be prepared to bring in your plants or shield them with sturdy wind breaks.

Get creative with balcony-garden containers.

Practically anything that will hold soil can be a suitable growing container for balcony gardens. There are great brackets and boxes specifically designed to attach to railings and underneath windows to make the best use of space, but the important thing is to give the plants what they need.

Even if you’re using an old cowboy boot for your strawberries, make sure there are drainage holes, because soggy soil is detrimental to good growth. Don’t put gravel in the bottom of a container for drainage; it creates a false water line and stunts root development.

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