One of the downfalls of living in a big city is the lack of outdoor space. Londoners are privileged to have as many big parks throughout the urban metropolis as they do, but what about personal outdoor space, like a little back garden in which to grow vegetables? That can be much more difficult to come across unfortunately.
If having a garden is of interest, there are ways around the lack of space, and that is to make the most of the available space you do have. Balcony gardening is not without its challenges but it is quite possible to grow a full garden worth of plants, flowers and vegetables.
There are a number of balcony gardeners who share their tips on blogs. Some good ones are Life on the Balcony; The Balcony Garden; The Balcony Gardener; Fennel and Fern; My Tiny Plot; and The London Vegetable Garden.
Some tips for summer balcony gardening include:
1. Grow baskets full of berries:
Line the basket with moss and fill it with potting soil and fertilizer. Strawberries need full sun for at least 6 hours a day for best results. Don’t over fertilize, keep plants well watered and you’ve got yourself a little strawberry garden for under a few pounds!
2. Window food:
Salad leaves and herbs are the easiest vegetables to grow because all they require is a shallow box on a bright windowsill. For best results try growing rocket, radishes, runner beans and /or tomatoes. Windowsill lettuce beds can be made out of ice cream tubs with holes in the bottom.
3. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse:
While you’re saving space, why not save some money too? A few ways to do so are:
– Reuse buckets, wine crates or wicker buckets as planter boxes.
– Tea bags and coffee grounds make great compost.
– Bamboo shoots are great for supporting tomato plants.
– Deter slugs from getting at your plants by smearing Vaseline around the rims of your pots.
Balcony gardens don’t only have to be about veg and flowers, you can build butterfly houses, hang beautiful light fixtures, or set up a little sitting area to have a cup of tea. The idea is to create a beautiful hub filled with fresh, living and colourful things to add an element of self-sufficiency and home-grown resourcefulness to your life which is otherwise, fast paced, imported and processed.
There is no shortage of information available in books and online if starting a balcony garden is something of real interest. Taking a trip to your local nursery and talking to one of the experts there would also be really helpful.