Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maximize Your Condo's Balcony For the Ultimate Green Experience

Whenever you see a sign saying ‘DMCI condo for sale,’ what comes to your mind first? Do you often think of a cramped place with nowhere to put your favorite plant in? Not so, because condominiums have terraces suitable for a mini vegetable garden. You never had to sacrifice a green experience with these simple tips.

Containers


Container gardening is the most popular terrace garden. Of course, you will need a container or two depending on how wide your balcony is. Wooden boxes, plastic buckets and clay pots are just some of your choices. You should only use high-quality containers with 8 inches depth and 6 inches diameter dimensions. Match the container size to the available space.

Any plant that can be easily transplanted is great. Optionally, germinating seed indoors like the way you would with backyard growing is possible. When the vegetable plants are ready, just transplant them to the container.

Varieties


Almost all vegetable plants that can be planted on a backyard can be also planted on your condo’s terrace. Vegetables such as eggplant, tomato, parsley, green onion, lettuce, cucumber and herbs can thrive on containers given the right conditions.

If you are planning to plant beans, squash or tomato, you should use wooden tubs or bushel baskets. These are better gardening supplies for bigger plants.  



Soils


When planting on container gardens, you might as well use synthetic soils as growing mediums. They are the best for container plants as they are made of peat moss, sawdust, wood chips, perlite, vermiculite and other such planting media. The goal is having a lightweight, loose mixture of soil media so the roots of your vegetables will get the right water and air balance.

The rule of thumb is one part soil, one part gravel and one part moistened peat moss. If you are going to buy packaged soil from your local gardening centers, they usually contain more peat so you may only need to add coarse gravel or vermiculite. Compost may be also added for extra nutrients for the plants.

Drainage


Container gardens need adequate drainage. Put drainage holes on the container, if they don’t have any. Before putting the soil though, you may fill the bottom with coarse gravel to improve drainage for your vegetable plants. Line the pot bottoms with newspaper.

Water


Do not forget to water your vegetables once the container garden is settled on the balcony. Watering is the biggest concern when maintaining the container garden. Containers dry out pretty quickly. Watering once a day every day though is enough. Water thoroughly without disturbing surface roots. You may also add water-absorbing polymers, so you need not water more frequently especially if you have bigger vegetable plants.

When it rains, and your veranda has no roof, there is no need to water them. Even when your balcony has roof above, make sure that direct sunlight is abundant. You may move the container around the balcony if you have to. Porous containers such as wood or clay will need more water compared to metal and plastic.

You may also add water-soluble fertilizers. Don’t over-fertilize the plants, however. Nitrogen fertilizers are highly suitable for green, leafy vegetables. For fruits and flowering plants, phosphorous fertilizer is more suitable.

Yield


The balcony garden may eventually yield a good amount of veggies on condition that they are getting plenty of sunlight and water. Vegetables grow best when in full sunlight. Make sure that the plants receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. Fruiting vegetables need more, say 10 hours a day. You may just follow the sunlight path around.

You’d know the plants are ready for harvesting. However, harvest them when they at their peak of ripeness for the best tasting veggies.


Nowadays, more and more people are moving into condominiums. If you think condos lack the land for gardening, think again. Terraces, aside from rooftops, can be converted into a vegetable garden. Growing veggies on your balcony is not difficult at all. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to green your condo. Simply follow the simple soil and container rules noted above for a flourishing balcony vegetable garden. 


C’mon and unleash the urban gardener in you!

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