July 13, 2023

Did I Ever Show You My Balcony Garden?

I have always been an avid gardener and whenever possible, I've had a large vegetable garden. Then, due to unplanned events, we spent four years in a "temporary" living situation of a small second story apartment. Our balcony overlooked a parking lot which wasn't very scenic. So our first summer there, I attempted an Old World style balcony flower garden. It was both prettier to look at and gave us a sense of privacy, as it somewhat shielded the view from the parking lot into the sliding glass doors.

The first year, I grew morning glories on trellises. The following year, I decided to branch out a bit, after I found some 10¢ packets of pea seeds. I bought them on a whim and planted peas instead. 

Eating our own fresh peas while cooped up in a small apartment made me feel incredibly happy.

Then, I found a bush tomato plant. I had looked for one of these before, but this was the first time I've found one small enough to plant in a pot.

My balcony only got late afternoon sun, so they weren't plentiful, but they were ours.

Other things I grew:


I harvested the stems and leaves right before it bloomed, when they are the most potent. My kitties had dried organic catnip all year long. 

Aloe vera (on the left at at the top) and "cat grass."

My only regret was that I didn't develop this more. The hot afternoon sun was difficult to deal with and dried out the pots quickly, but if I'd known about permaculture then, I probably would have found solutions for that problem. Indoor gardening with grow lights too, is something I wish I'd explored.

I realized later that I could have done so much more, even living like that. And that's why I want to start off today's peek into the 2023 Permaculture Adventure Bundle, with a book that contains ideas for everybody, whether you live in an apartment or on a farm. 

Building A Better World in your Backyard Instead of Being Angry
at the Bad Guys
by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop.

You can have your Permaculture and Eat
It too!
By Robin Clayfield

Growing Fruit Trees with Ease: Fruit Tree Fundamentals
E-course by Susan Poizner

Working Together: The Homestead Tree
eBook by Harold Thornbro

Rocket Mass Heater Risers: Materials
& Designs eBook
by Paul Wheaton
and Chris "Uncle Mud" McClellan

Carbon Negative Mass Heaters webinar by Alan Booker

2 issues of Permaculture Design Magazine

Click or tap here, to see everything you get.


Boud said...

I've known some marvelous balcony gardens, like yours. I notice you had the huge advantage of a concrete floor. Around here balconies have wood plank floors, with spaces. They're both flimsier and very likely to drip on the downstairs neighbors making watering a bit fraught. So you have to work around that. I did, and grew specimen roses! But eventually having a ground floor area of patio and a bit at the front door was such a relief for watering without fear of repercussions.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, this actually has a lot of applicability in the modern world. At least in our location, massive multi-family buildings are going up all over the place. Some have balconies, so do not - but all could benefit by doing something. Just because one lives in an apartment building short or long term does not mean some sort of gardening is not possible.

Leigh said...

Boud, good points. On the other hand, concrete absorbs and retains heat, which became a problem with outdoor temps in the upper 90sF for months on end. I think if I had a plank floor, I would still do it, but with extra precautions, such as good deep saucers under all the pots. One thing planks with spaces allow for, is air flow, which helps keep both the porch and the soil in the pots cooler.

TB, yes! Seems to be more popular in Europe, or at least it used to be. I have seen photos of wonderful balcony and urban gardens, which are hugely aesthetic, as well as food productive. It's too bad more people don't take advantage of edible landscaping, too. That plus porch and patio gardens could really help with the grocery bill.

Ed said...

I think in just about all my apartments, I managed to grow cherry tomatoes in a pot. Like you said, the heat made them dry out and they were never abundant, but they were mine.

Leigh said...

Ed, good choice of house plants! I find the drying out to be the discouraging thing about container gardening. Maybe I'll have better luck over winter in my greenhouse. At least I hope so.