Spring has sprung! Temperatures are rising, animals are coming out of hibernation, and flowers are blooming. It’s the perfect time to turn your balcony or patio into a garden! Even if you don’t have a ton of room you can grow some herbs, up your culinary skills, and save a bit of money on groceries! There are also several vegetables that lend well to patio growing. Given this past winter’s instability, there may still be some frosty mornings in our future, so you may want to start the seedlings inside before moving them outdoors once the threat of frost is over, or just plan now and wait a few weeks to start planting.
Step 1: Make a Plan
Before you start planting, it’s good to have a plan of sorts in place. What types of herbs and produce do well in your area? Also, keep in mind what kind of sunlight your patio or balcony gets. Do you have direct sunlight throughout the day or is there partial shade? Some plants or flowers do better in one or the other, and a bit of online research is a good place to start. It’s a good idea to look up your planting zone, and if you’re new to the area see what nurseries are in your area or when your local farmer’s market or box hardware store will start selling gardening items and seedlings.
Step 2: Get Supplies
Are you starting from seed, or wanting to hedge your bets, so to speak, and plant seedlings? Do you have an area to set up pots or another larger setup, or should you go with an over-the-railing rig? Keep in mind you’ll also need potting soil and some basic gardening equipment like a hand trowel (unless you’re planning on dirtying up a kitchen spoon). While you can start purchasing items like pots, potting soil, and other equipment at any time, unless you’re trying out your luck with seeds make sure to hold off on purchasing the plants until after the last freeze of the year.
Step 3: Plant
Read the information on the seed packet or seedling tag to learn vital information such as the planting depth, distance from other plants, and water and sunlight requirements. If you’re starting from seeds you may need to germinate them by soaking them in water for 6-24 hours, which should be on the seed packet. Now it’s time to get a little dirty! Place some soil in your pots of choice, then for seed sprinkle them on top of the soil before covering them in another shallow layer of soil. Seedlings will need a well to be placed in, then make sure to be gentle and not damage the roots or stems as you’re planting them.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Keep in mind that your plants will grow and expand over the course of the spring and summer, so it’s recommended to frequently trim herbs and flowering plants to encourage a better harvest. Do a bit of research to find out how and when to best harvest herbs, and keep in mind you can also dry or otherwise preserve your own herbs to use them in the fall and winter months as well. With just a bit of work and regular watering, you can enjoy fresh herbs and flowers to spruce up your meals, cocktails, or kitchen table all season long!
Did you plant your own balcony or patio garden? Show it off on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!