The Mighty Little Container Garden

A container garden on balconies and terraces is a great way of growing what you want, 
where you want it. It's portable and easy to maintain. Lots of crops in small places.
Growing a Vertical Garden in raised beds or ontainers is even better.

Before swooping down on your garden or home center for plants and planters, Ask yourself.....


How big is your space?
If itís small, start small.  Figure out how much real time you have to garden. Arrange beds and larger containers around the outside edges to define the space and spread out the load. Make use of wall space to hang trellises or shelves.

Is your balcony or terrace windy?  The higher up you are, the more wind you are likely to have, and hot drying winds can damage your plants. Use the lattice or wire trellis that will hold your plants to block prevailing winds, while providing support. Wind is drying, and you'll have to water containers more often.

How hot is garden area? If heat is an issue, plant tropical plants.  Succulents and jungle plants love the hot climate. 

If your balcony  has room for a bistro table or small metal round end tables, create a succulent bowl. It's very pretty, adds dimension to your garden, and they are low maintenance. You can stuff a bunch of succulents of different varieties into the succulent bowl. You can purchase large stone or clay bowls just for succulents. And it needs very little watering. You can plant each plant very close to one another, without it looking crowded. The bowls look like pretty sculptures if growing the plants close together. 
Cover empty spaces with gravel. If you'd like to see my succulent garden plants,  click here.

If your balcony is small, you can install shelves along the walls to allow for additional growing or to add decorative green space. Keep in mind that most veggies need a minimum of 6 - 8 hours of sunlight a day. 

One more little thing.... It would be very cool if you are blessed with a large harvest of vegetables, herbs or flowers, that you gift a little something to your fellow balcony, terrace, or courtyard neighbors. You might convince them to grow their own small-space garden. At the very least, you'll get a smile and maybe a new friend. Especially if your ivy is visiting their balcony.

Vertical gardening - AKA Intensive Gardening



-photo found on pinterest with no acknowledgments provided

Grow A Rooftop or Balcony Garden that doesn't cover the whole floor surface. 
Leave room for hanging out and enjoying your garden.

Make the most of your little balcony or terrace spaces by gardening vertically. You can use stacking planters, railing planters, vertical wall planters and hanging baskets. And you can grow a bigger garden by using that concept, along with raised garden beds or containers.

There are very beautiful and functional vertical gardening features that can house your flowers and veggies. Best of both worlds.

Be sure to leave space for a bistro table and chair so that you can relax and enjoy your garden in the evenings.

The best way to have privacy on a small terrace or balcony in an apartment building, is to grow privacy. Grow climbers like ivy, honeysuckle and clematis. These can be permanently your privacy screen, because they're all perennials. Just leave them there over the winter. Be sure to trim them if they grow out of bounds. Be courteous to your neighbors, even though you can't see them. They will definitely appreciate the fragrance of your honeysuckle or jasmine.

Distribute the weight so that all the pots or beds are not putting a lot of weight in the same place. Pottery and soil weighs a ton when wet. I know this.

Use containers that will accommodate adult-size plants, because you really don't want a plant to mature as a dwarf, unless you planted a dwarf. And you don't want to keep up-sizing your planters and making another messy chore for yourself.

Watering is a key consideration. You will have to do it more frequently for container plants because the soil of plants growing vertically is more exposed, and will get dry quickly. Also be sure to check that the pots and urns you use has drainage holes. I have forgotten, and i ended up with drowned plants. Not all pots do. But most at least have a mark on the bottoms and tell you to drill holes, if you wish. Check all planters for the holes before you fill with dirt. Keep drainage-ready containers on top of a dish or saucer if you have neighbors beneath your balcony. Nobody appreciates being watered or having their outdoor dinners spoiled by your rain. But don't let plants sit in water too long. They will certainly rot. Empty the saucers after water is absorbed by the plant after watering or after a rain.

Keep in mind that any support structure has to accommodate a mature plantís weight, and it should be well- anchored. There are many types of supports from which to choose. In addition to trellises, tripods, arches, and pergolas, there are gazebos, wire cages, netting, and poles. Plants don't have to be climbers to like a support. Any tall or heavy plant appreciates the lift. Anchoring is wise. A good wind or storm can topple the plants, break the pots, and cause injury to your neighbors, their kids or their pets who hang out below your balcony. There are lots of lawsuits waiting to happen if you don't plan well.

Benefits of Vertical Gardening

Increased vegetable and herb yields. Making maximum use of space means a bigger harvest. Maintaining and harvesting from a vertical planting is also physically easieróplants reach a higher level, so the need to bend and kneel is minimal. I like that.

Foliage and fruit are off the ground, less susceptible to disease and chewing things, and vertical growth provides better air circulation, which means that plants dry faster after watering, reducing the risk of fungus and rot.

Symptoms of disease and pests are easier to spot. More leaf surface is exposed to the sun when plants arenít growing on the ground.

For photos of my container gardening, check out this page, and for more ideas, visit  this page. 
Remember that you can switch out flowers, veggies and herbs within the design you like, and use them on your balcony, terrace, patio, or in a courtyard.

Here is a suggested reading list to help you begin Vertical Gardening

Download these free garden designs you can adapt to your urban or small space garden 

Just click the pic to start downloading the .pdf
Plans contain the plan,  illustrations, plant suggestions, and planting guide.

Download A Courtyard Garden Plan by Southern Living
Check your USDA Hardiness Zones Map and easily substitute plants that grow in your region.
Resize to fit your space. Click for the free .pdf download.

 

 

These are my favorite planters and trellises for both raised bed and container gardening. 
I 've used several of these all over my gardens. I have a weakness for clematis and honeysuckle vines.....
Use these indoors and outdoors. Includes bird netting, plant clips, landscape fabric and a few good books.

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