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If you don't have a backyard to work in, can you really grow a garden? As a matter of fact, you can. If you have a balcony to work with, you can start setting up a growing space in little to no time at all. How, though, do you go about watering your garden once you've planted your plants?
You water a balcony plant with as much care as you'd water a plant in your normal garden. However, you will have to take a few additional steps to keep your containers from flooding, including:
- Drilling drainage holes, if necessary, and emptying drainage pots.
- Establishing a watering schedule.
- Compensating for the lack of rain or adjusting your watering schedule according to the weather.
It's easier than you might think to get into the groove of watering your balcony plants. Let's dive into the details, though, so your next balcony harvest can be as successful as possible.
Watering Your Balcony Plants
Watering balcony plants doesn't have to be a challenge. When you're getting started, make sure you take the following steps:
Prepare Your Pots
When you plant produce in a traditional garden, you can rely on the soil around you to drain excess water away from your plants. While potted plants are convenient, they often don't come with automatic drainage. That's why you'll need to make sure that the pots you get have drainage holes. If they don't, it's on you to drill those holes or replace your pots.
Your balcony plants are going to need that drainage if you're going to safely water them. Without those holes, you risk drowning your plants' roots and compromising your harvest.
Research Your Plants And Build A Schedule
Each of the plants you grow on your balcony is going to have different needs when it comes to water. Do your research ahead of time and see which plants need water when.
Once you know what each plant's needs are, you'll be able to build a watering schedule either by hand or with organizational tools like Microsoft Excel. It may seem excessive, but having a watering schedule to abide by will help you better manage your eventual harvest.
Have The Right Tools On Hand
You can't start watering your balcony plants if you don't have the right tools on hand. You won't need to invest in a sprinkler like you would in a larger garden. However, a watering can or self-watering orbs will serve you well.
Check The Weather
The amount of water your balcony plants will need will often vary based on the weather in your area. If you're going through a drought, you may need to water your plants more frequently.
Comparatively, if it's been raining frequently, you may be able to water your plants as infrequently as once a week. Check your weather and vary your watering schedule accordingly, or else you risk losing your crop.
How Often Should You Water Balcony Plants?
You'll need to water the plants in your balcony garden frequently. That said, there's no one set watering schedule. The needs of your garden will vary based on the plants you want to grow.
That said, there are some ways for you to create a unique watering schedule for your garden. Look into the needs of each of your plants and see if you can line up their watering days. Other tips for watering your balcony garden include:
- Invest in self-watering containers, especially if you live in an area that doesn't see much rain.
- Purchase some water-retaining soil granules and integrate them into your garden containers.
- Mulch your plants. Organic mulch will help your soil retain water for longer, allowing you to water less frequently.
- Check the weather before you water. If you have a balcony that gives your plants exposure to rain, you can forgo your watering for the day.
What Are The Best Plants To Grow On A Balcony?
Ready to turn your balcony into a veritable garden? It's easier to do than you might think. Several different types of vegetables and herbs will thrive in containers on your balcony, including:
- Spring Onions
- Bok Choy
If the produce you want to grow doesn't appear on this list, don't lose hope. You'll know whether or not your plant of choice will thrive on your balcony based on its needs. Ideally, balcony plants thrive in partial shade.
They'll also prefer middling amounts of water. Root vegetables, for example, do not appear in the above list, but potatoes and carrots alike can thrive when kept in a balcony pot.
Do your research ahead of time and experiment with your balcony garden. Before you know it, you'll be able to cut your grocery costs in favor of home-grown vegetables.
How Do You Keep A Balcony Garden Clean?
Planting a balcony garden is one thing. Keeping it clean is another beast entirely. The good news is that there are several tips and products designed to make this process easy.
If you want to keep your balcony garden clean, why not try the following?
Stack Your Planters
Anyone who wants to clear up space on their balcony will want to consider elevated planters. These planters will let you continue to grow a harvest's worth of food on your balcony without allowing those plants to take over the whole space.
Scrub Up Run-Off
Unfortunately, watering your balcony plants isn't an exact science. You may overwater, or a rain shower may knock some of the dirt out of your planters. If you notice dirty water or stains on your balcony, you'll want to do your best to either mop those stains up or otherwise remove the excess water from your balcony. The sooner you act, the less likely it is that your balcony will be damaged or dirtied.
Launder Your Fabrics
If you have lawn chairs on your balcony or other fabric-based accessories, your balcony garden will put them at risk. It's always best to launder your fabric-based furniture with relative frequency when growing a balcony garden. Consider giving your fabrics a boost once a month or more frequently if your garden is especially large.
Hide Your Storage
Want to keep your gardening gear near your garden but don't want to deal with the clutter that it generates? Then you're going to want to invest in hidden storage. There are several storage units that you can disguise to look like additional pots or more elegant furniture.
Invest In Darker Colors
When gardening gets tough, there's no shame in gaming the system. Consider staining your balcony a darker color or investing in darker balcony furniture. When you do, it'll be harder for guests to see any dirt stains or gardening excess that may have spilled over from your plants.
Clean Up After Yourself
When in doubt, the easiest way to keep your balcony garden clean is to clean up after yourself. Don't leave your tools or soil bags lying out for animals or other critters to get to. Try to organize your planters as best you can. If you make a mess while planting or weeding, sweep the dirt away. You'll have to make an effort, but it'll be worth it when you're entertaining.
You don't need a yard to stretch your gardening muscles. Experiment with a balcony garden and see how the planting process treats you. Once you've settled into your groove, you'll be able to establish a watering schedule. Before you know it, you'll be able to enjoy all manner of home-grown meals.
Before you go, check out these other great balcony gardening guides: