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How to start a balcony garden

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How to start a balcony garden (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Learn to start a balcony garden.
  • You don’t need a yard to be a gardener.
  • Take advantage of spring weather.

Before you start a balcony garden, it’s essential to evaluate the space to determine what kind of plants you can grow.

Consider factors like the amount of sunlight your balcony receives daily, as this will guide you on whether to choose sun-loving or shade-tolerant plants.

Additionally, check the weight capacity of your balcony to ensure it can support heavier items like large pots or planters.

Before you continue reading, we invite you to download the La Entrevista con Alonso Bañuelas podcast HERE.


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Choosing the right containers and soil

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Selecting appropriate containers is crucial for a successful balcony garden.

Opt for pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can be detrimental to plant health.

You can choose from a variety of materials like plastic, which is lightweight and colorful, or clay, which is heavier and helps to stabilize taller plants.

When filling your containers, use a high-quality potting mix that will provide your plants with the right nutrients and drainage they need to thrive.

Start a balcony garden: Selecting your plants

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When choosing plants for your balcony garden, consider the climate, the amount of available sunlight and how much time you can dedicate to garden maintenance.

Hardy herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley are great for beginners and can be used in your cooking, making them both practical and rewarding.

For visual appeal, consider adding colorful flowers such as petunias or marigolds, which can also help attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

If you’re interested in something more sustainable, small vegetables like cherry tomatoes and peppers are also well-suited for balcony gardens.

Caring for your balcony garden

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Regular maintenance is key to keeping your balcony garden healthy and vibrant.

Water your plants according to their needs — most potted plants require watering once the top inch of soil feels dry.

Regularly check for pests and diseases and address any issues promptly to prevent them from spreading.

Additionally, fertilize your plants every few weeks to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients to grow.

Maximizing space with vertical gardening

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If your balcony is small, vertical gardening is an excellent way to maximize space.

Utilize wall hangers, railing planters, or even stackable pots to grow more in less area.

Vertical gardening not only helps you make the most out of limited space but also adds an attractive green element to your balcony décor.

This approach can be particularly effective for growing herbs and succulents, which require less soil.

Making the most of microclimates

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Every balcony has microclimates that vary in temperature, light, and exposure to the elements, depending on the time of day and the season.

Observing these microclimates allows you to place your plants in positions where they will thrive best.

For example, a plant that requires partial shade can be positioned to receive the morning sun but shaded during the hotter, harsher afternoon hours.

Understanding and utilizing these microclimates can significantly enhance the health and yield of your balcony garden.

Start a balcony garden utilizing companion planting

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Companion planting is a useful technique to enhance plant growth and deter pests naturally

By planting certain herbs and flowers together, you can naturally repel pests while attracting beneficial insects.

For instance, planting marigolds among your vegetables can help repel harmful nematodes and other insects.

Companion planting not only improves plant health but also maximizes the efficiency of the space available on your balcony.

Enjoying your balcony garden

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Once you start a balcony garden and it’s established, take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Whether that means harvesting your own vegetables, enjoying the fragrance of fresh herbs, or simply relaxing among your plants, a balcony garden can provide a great sense of accomplishment and peace.

Additionally, regularly spending time in your garden can help you notice any issues early, such as pests or diseases, and take timely actions to address them.

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