Maximizing Tiny Balconies

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Tips to Take Advantage of Your Tiny Balcony This Summer

Bryn Huntpalmer


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Just because you live in an apartment or a condo, doesn’t mean you can’t have a truly fantastic garden. As more and more people leave the suburbs for city-living, we are becoming experts at maximizing small living spaces. If you are fortunate enough to have a patio or balcony, make the most of that space. Create a quiet respite from a tough day or a charming spot for an impromptu date night! However you choose to use your space, introducing some plant life can add beauty, help purify your air and repel pests, and provide you with an array of fresh produce. Read on for some ideas to get you started!


Create a Greenhouse Effect–the Good Kind! 

Depending on where you live, investing in a good quality glass cabinet, as well as terrariums can help you stay outdoors and enjoying the serenity of your garden throughout the year. If you live in an area that only experiences mild winters, your plants will have a better chance of surviving and you could potentially have fresh vegetables year-round! You may also want to try your hand with tropical plants that thrive in warmer temperatures.

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Think Vertically

Floor space is a hot commodity on a balcony. If you want to grow a number of plants, don’t bother with trying to dance around numerous pots on the ground. Go for a vertical solution instead. I love this pallet garden. It provides space for multiple types of plants, and is inexpensive or free if you can find one to repurpose. Growing a Greener World has a great step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your own pallet garden.


Be Strategic About Sun Exposure

Native plants tend to do well in dry conditions and with full sun exposure. If you have plants that are a little more delicate, save floor space for them and utilize your balcony rails for your heartier  plants. Lavender, marigolds, and petunias all do well in direct sunlight. As a bonus, marigolds have proven effective at repelling mosquitoes.


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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Grow Your Own Veggies

The amount of energy that it takes to harvest, process, and transport your food is known as “food miles.” Be kind to the planet and your pocketbook and grow some of your own food. Basil and chives are easy to start with, then move on to small veggies like tomatoes or peppers. Your space may limit you from growing vegetables like zucchini or eggplant that may become too heavy for containers, but there are still lots of other options to explore. Indira Naidoo published, “The Edible Balcony,” which includes over 60 recipes based on small space, city gardening.


Don’t Forget to Compost!

You don’t need a lot of space to compost. Small Notebook has a great tutorial on how to make a worm compost bin. You’ll divert so much waste from your trash can (and landfills) and you’ll have incredibly nutrient-rich soil handy for your garden. Is there any reason not to compost? Try it out and you’ll never want to go back to chemical based fertilizers again.