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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Creative Container Gardens: How to Grow Organic Veggies on Your Balcony

Organic gardens are becoming an integral part of our nation's capital this season.  Chances are, you've been inspired to grow your own fruits and vegetables as well - but a few acres of pure garden space may not be an option.  Whether you're living in an apartment with limited outdoor space or need to protect your plants from wandering wildlife, container gardens are versatile, easy to maintain, and ideal for any situation.  
Why Container Gardening?
What could be better than walking into your backyard and picking a fresh tomato for lunch?  Stepping onto your porch and getting it!
Container gardens are more than just convenient though - they're:
  • Creative. Almost any type of container can be transformed into a unique planter for your garden.
  • Flexible. Your container garden can be in the backyard, on your balcony, or on the roof. The plants can easily be moved indoors to protect them from harsh weather or wandering animals.  
  • Easy.  Growing in containers ensures the right soil mixture for organic cultivation. Watering, removing pests, and caring for the plants are simple tasks as well.
Getting Started
The right plants - You can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in container gardens. Tomatoes and fresh herbs are favorites. Perennial flowers, peppers, lettuce, carrots, and even potatoes can thrive on your patio as well. 
Location - A container garden can be located anywhere, but you'll want to choose a location that is easily accessible and receives the right amount of sunlight throughout the day.  Patios, balconies, and decks are the most common spots for container gardens. You can also place your containers on the roof, the windowsill, in the yard, or any other sunny location that provides enough space.
Choosing your containers - This is the perfect opportunity to reuse and recycle! Old tubs, baskets, buckets, and bowls are a few possibilities. For a rustic look, consider old boots, wheelbarrows, and leaky watering cans. Whatever type of container you decide to plant in, be sure to bore holes in the bottom to prevent root rot and allow drainage.
The planting soil - Your local garden store should offer a variety of organic planting materials. If you prefer to make your own, combine equal parts garden soil, clean sand, and either compost or peat moss. For best results, wet the soil first and then add it to the container.
Caring for Your Organic Container Garden
As with any plant, you'll need to be sure your containers receive enough water and enough sunlight. Water your garden at least once a day, more often in hot, dry weather. If any plants begin to wilt or die, it is often best to replace it with a new plant to reduce the risk of pests.
If you see insects or bugs visiting your garden, brush them away with your hands. Organic pesticides are available to prevent insect infestation or a homemade mixture of water and detergent will keep pests away. Remember to keep your plants free of dead leaves and blooms that attract insects.
Images: Er.Wespecies_snob via Flickr

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Blogger Yona Williams said...

Thanks for this information, Danielle. I think I will try my hand at container gardening for my balcony.

5/06/2009 11:23:00 AM  

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