Summer is fast approaching, and for a young professional living in a downtown apartment or condo, that can mean it’s time to spruce up your balcony. The art of container gardening is on the rise and offers a way to keep the growth of plants and vegetables limited, meaning they could easily fit on a balcony and transform it into a legitimate outdoor space.
There are numerous beneficial reasons to consider a balcony garden, not the least of which is the fact that they improve overall air quality in a city that can sometimes become congested and polluted. But having one also offers a unique opportunity to grow your own organic and pesticide-free food and save a lot of money in the process. Most herbs and vegetables like beans, beets, carrots, eggplant, and lettuce are ideal for growing in a container because their roots need less room to spread and they can handle the amount of sun exposure a balcony provides. Tomatoes can now even be grown from hanging vertical growers, perfect for an intimate balcony setting. Different container sizes are of course required for different vegetables because some are bigger and more deeply rooted than others. Any seedling you buy will have a tag on it letting you know how big it typically grows.
By incorporating simple plants, flowers, and maybe even a small fountain, lanterns, and a chaise lounge if you have the space, your balcony garden can be even more beautiful and stylish. Marigolds, for example, are useful at warding off pests and add a nice touch to any setup. The end result seems to be a peaceful place to sit with the laptop and work or meditate, as well as being a lush extended living space for hosting a small cocktail party or meeting during the summer months. The website Toronto Balconies Bloom is actively promoting this concept in an attempt to create a more beautified city and offers some simple ways to get started. This notable practice is really about injecting more of nature into the city, a combination that will benefit everyone involved.
Many office-type workplaces are now allowing employees to keep gardens on balconies and other locations on the premises as a way to reduce stress. Imagine being able to take a gardening break instead of a coffee break, definitely an interesting twist to your workday.
In China, the Shenzhen Metro Tower project currently under development has incorporated structurally-supportive balcony gardens into it’s architecture not only to provide workers with outdoor sanctuaries, but also to collect and circulate rain water throughout the entire building and create an energy efficient and sustainable hydro system. These environmentally co-operative designs are worth consideration and may well be the future standard for all buildings. In the meantime, plant some seeds in a pot on your balcony and see what grows from there.