The Q&A Archives: Balcony Gardening

Question: Hi, I have never done any gardening before. I live in an apartment and only have a small balcony. I would like to have some nice flowers or veggies in my balcony. Can you please help me with ideas on how and where to get started?

Answer: Most annual and perennial flowers adapt to growing in containers, and some veggies will grow in containers, as well. When choosing containers, make sure they have adequate drainage holes in the bottoms, and use potting mix rather than garden soil. Potting mixes contain organic material, sand and perlite or vermiculite, which makes them light, fast-draining and moisture retentive. The annuals you choose should be specific to the environment. If it's a mostly shady spot, you can grow pansies and lettuce together. Or, grow impatiens, lobelia, campanula, or helleborus. The choice of annuals is almost limitless. If it's a sunny spot, choose sun loving petunias, coneflowers, sunflowers, etc. For some specific ideas, consult "Container Gardening for Dummies", published by IDG, ISBN# 0-7645-5057-8. The book is full of plant lists for specific situations, discusses the basics of watering and fertilizing, and provides lots of ideas for turning your deck or balcony into a colorful garden site.

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