What are your options if you live in a building such as an apartment complex or other structure and the only location you have access to for gardening is your patio? Is it possible for you to cultivate a flower or vegetable garden that yields a lot of food? Is it possible to have a quiet refuge, even if all you have is a patio, where you may enjoy your morning coffee or an afternoon glass of lemonade?
The correct response is “yes.” However, since there is only so much room, you’ll need to figure out how to prioritize your items. It’s probable that you’ll have to sit on your patio throughout the fall and winter months if your primary objective is to gather as much produce as humanly feasible. If your patio is big enough, you may be able to produce some veggies while still having a comfortable spot to sit and read or just hang out. The first step is to determine what it is that you want, and then you can plan appropriately.
And if you do end up running out of room on the ground due of all the pots and plants that are growing out of them, you can always suspend a hammock from the ceiling. One of life’s greatest luxuries is unwinding on a hammock while taking in the sights and sounds of nature (and yes, even your backyard or balcony may be considered natural space).
Growing Vegetables on a Patio or Balcony
You are possible to cultivate a wide range of veggies in pots so long as your patio or balcony is exposed to sunlight. The sun should shine on peppers and tomatoes for at least four to six hours each day. Tomatoes require not just containers that are bigger, but also some kind of support, such poles or railings (tomato vines can become very heavy by the end of summer). The Ohio State University Extension provides a lot of helpful information on growing common vegetables in containers.
On the other hand, leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, and kale thrive when grown in shaded conditions. Plants that may be grown successfully on a patio include cucumbers, blueberries, and strawberries. Planting sweet potatoes in a watering trough or an old bathtub is a viable option if the available space is sufficiently big and the location is on the ground level. Caution: Using such huge containers on balconies or other constructions above the ground is not recommended since they may be too heavy for the surface.
To achieve a more vibrant color palette, vegetables, herbs, and flowers may be interplanted. Adding flowers has a number of benefits, one of which is that the blooms of the flowers will attract pollinators, who will then pollinate the vegetable plants.
Patio Water Gardens
Water is a fairly heavy substance, so you’ll need to use caution with this one (very dense, really). The standard conversion factor is eight pounds per gallon, which equates to about one kilogram per liter. Therefore, a basic water garden that is 10 gallons in size may weigh up to at least 80 pounds (remember to include in the weight of the container, even if the weight of the plants is quite little). When considering weight, it is not as important to take into account the material of your patio whether it is brick, field stone, or anything similar that is directly on the ground. On the other hand, an older balcony or deck made of wood or metal cannot be expected to support much weight in addition to you and one or two of your friends.
An example of this would be a friend of mine who, some years ago, installed what he called a “portable” hot tub on the deck in his backyard. The weight of the container with the water plus the individuals is impossible for me to even begin to guess. By the end of the summer, the part of the deck where it had been sitting had begun to sink. Even though this reveals more about the inferior construction of the deck, it is still an instance of the fact that you need to consider the strength of the framework of your patio before filling it up with anything.
It’s not necessary to have a huge space for a water garden. A foundation might be constructed using a half whiskey barrel. The whiskey barrel should be lined with pond liner, and then a pump should be added so that the water can be circulated. At this point, you may begin planting. If you need to alter the height of the plants in the water, add water lilies, cattails, spider lilies, or other aquatic plants one at a time, using bricks or another sturdy material as support. It is not required to remove plants from their pots prior to putting them in your water garden. You can just place the plants directly into the water garden. In point of fact, rearranging them as required is made much simpler if you keep them in their respective pots.
A minimum of six hours of sunlight every day is required in order to maintain blooming water lilies and other floral water garden plants. If you live in a hot region, however, and you want to add fish to your water garden, you may need to give shade to prevent the water from being too hot. This will allow the fish to survive. If you do want to include fish in your water garden, keep in mind that you will most likely be seeing them from the highest point in the structure. When seen from above, a stunning fish that is seen through the side of a transparent glass fishtank may not seem to have as much color as when seen from the top.
Apartment Balcony Ideas
Annuals that thrive in direct sunlight, such as petunias, coleus, and sweet potato vines, are well suited for growing on the balconies of apartments since they are often sunny. You may plant impatiens, fuchsia, and maybe even some polka dot plants on your balcony if it gets some shade. Whatever you decide to put in the window boxes and other containers, take the necessary precautions to ensure that they will not be blown off the balcony by mistake or by the force of the wind.
There are times when all you want is a quaint corner where you may read or rest in peace. You may be able to install a small arbor with seats underneath it on your balcony if the building’s management or condo association gives you permission to do so. The Virginia creeper, also known as Parthenocissus quinquefolia (shown on the right), is an excellent choice of plant for covering an arbor on a balcony. Allow the vine to wander over the arbor so that it may provide shade and seclusion. Plant the vine in a container and place it beneath the arbor so that its roots will be protected from the sun. Put bamboo plants in pots and position them wherever you need a living wall but don’t want to wait for it to grow. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that may reach great heights and provides both shade and seclusion as it matures.
Patio gardening has the potential to deliver joy, produce, and quiet, in addition to providing more living space. If you didn’t think you had enough space for a garden, why not begin with only a few plants that are contained inside pots? You may be surprised by what you are capable of doing.