Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Small Area Gardening

Small Space Gardening

Even if you don't have a big back yard, that doesn't mean you can't create a vibrant, thriving garden. You can try out your green thumb on a patio, balcony, or even a sunny windowsill! To create a lush landscape in your tiny space, consider these gardening tips for small spaces.

1. Make use of vertical space. If you're gardening in limited area, the key is to start thinking upwards. Attach hanging planters to the ceiling, or add window boxes to your balcony. You can even stack an old, weather-safe bookshelf with planters to fill with low-growing flowers or herbs. Use the materials you have on hand, and be creative.

2. Evaluate your light levels. Many first-time gardeners fail to appreciate just how important correct light levels are for plant growth. Remember that if you're gardening on a balcony or windowsill, you won't get as much light as you would in an open garden plot. Unless you're really sure your spot will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day or more, it's best to stick with garden plants that prefer partial to full shade.

3. Choose your plants wisely. Gardening in a small space, roots won't have the luxury or growing and spreading as they normally would, and the pH of soil can be a bit different than it would be in open ground. Select garden plants for your garden that have shallow, contained root systems and are relatively pH tolerant. If you pick plants that aren't a good fit for your containers, growing zone, or light levels, you're setting yourself up for frustration!

4. Choose the right pots. Pots are more than just soil-holding vessels; they're important components of your tiny garden's ecosystem. Plastic pots are inexpensive, lightweight, and hold water well, but their thin sides means plant roots can sometimes scorch in the heat of summer. Terracotta pots look beautiful, but can wick moisture out of the root system. Glazed ceramic pots are a good option - they hold in water without wicking it away from the plant, and have enough heft to prevent mid-summer scorching.

5. Water carefully. Especially in the heat of summer, container plants will dry out much faster than they would in a conventional garden. They'll also consume more fertilizer - so stick to a more stringent water and feeding cycle than you normally might.