With the explosion of condo and townhouse developments in most urban centres, the number of balconies and potential balcony gardeners around the world is at an all-time high. Gardeners of all ages are growing flowers, vegetables and fruit, flowers, shrubs and trees. Many are planting ponds.
Greening your balcony is easy to do – all it takes is a desire to grow something you want to enjoy, harvest or share. Most balcony gardens are small. I know mine is. But they are easy to plan, plant and maintain.
Balcony gardening is typically container gardening. Layout is easy to change, especially if your containers are small or on wheels. By moving around your containers, you can take advantage of sun and shade conditions and redesign your balcony garden as plants grow and fade. Balcony gardeners can also take advantage of microclimates – a variation in temperature, humidity, light or wind that impacts growing conditions and often extends a growing season by weeks. So really, what’s your excuse?
OK, Maybe a Couple
There might be a few challenges that you’ll face depending on where you are gardening, so if you are really looking for excuses here they are.
It’s too windy. Most balconies do get some wind. How much depends on how high up you are, what side of the building you are on and where you live. Wind can damage your plants, knock plants over and just make it damn unpleasant to be outside.
It’s too hard to water. My balcony rarely gets wet. Most of our weather rolls in from the west and north, my balcony faces east and south. So it’s protected. The balcony above creates a complete overhang and the brick wall to the west completely blocks the weather. There is also no water tap outside on my balcony, which I think is pretty typical, so I have to haul all of the water from my kitchen. I’m OK with that. You might not be.
Eeeew, bugs and birds. I have had challenges with birds – both pigeons and Canada Geese. Let’s start with the geese. There are a lot of them here and they are big. When they land on the balcony, looking for fresh spring shoots and water, they can make a mess and knock over containers.
But bugs? My biggest problem is the gardening bug. If you get this one on your balcony, you’ll probably have difficulty getting rid of. Smart gardeners know that with bugs, no harm, no foul.