In light of social distancing/quarantine Adam and I have gotten really into fixing up/beautifying our apartment. We recently re-signed our lease and this will be the first place we've stayed in for over a year together, so we are excited to not have to move this summer! One thing on the docket was starting a small balcony garden and fixing up our balcony in general. After a fun trip to Lowe's here are some of the things we decided to plant:
1. Summer Squash
2. Green Bell Pepper
3. Lemon Thyme
6. Country Park Pratia
Next I wanted to go over a few tips and tricks for making your own balcony garden at home! Especially for all of the apartment-dwellers. Check them out below:
1. Look for plants that grow well in your area
So some plants are pretty safe in most areas, one that I've found easy to grow almost anywhere is Basil, but other plants can be a bit trickier. One in particular is flowers - when it comes to selecting flowers looking at not just area and times of year they grow, but the minimum and maximum heats can also be valuable to consider. For instance - a lot of flowers we looked at told us that they should be planted after the last freeze of the year. So spring-summer is what we assumed.
What we did not realize until doing a bit more research is that the flowers won't live past the 80F temperature point. In Oklahoma we have been in 90-100F weather for almost a month now, so it is no wonder those plants weren't responding well! So make sure to double check your plants' temperature range when selecting what will grow best on your balcony.
2. Evaluate length of sunshine
A big part of our plants growing has been looking at how much sunshine they get in a day. Our porch gets little to no sunlight before 2pm, but from 2pm-8pm it gets partial to direct sunlight, so plants that can grow successfully in 6 hours or less sunlight a day are ideal for our balcony. A balcony on the other side of the building gets pretty active sunlight from 7am-1pm, opening them up to a different range of plants to choose from.
3. Don't be afraid to re-pot
When our squash started to have problems we realized that the pot was not large enough. We had a similar issue with the basil and thyme, so we invested in some larger pots and re-planted a lot. The squash pictured in the left photo is 13 hours before the picture on the right was taken, meaning that after re-planting it to a larger pot improved dramatically overnight.
4. Pesticides are important
It started with our bell pepper plant starting to look a little dry and eaten. Our squash was coming out beautifully and growing at a rapid pace, then one day after putting the plants a bit closer together to hit a sunny spot on the porch, our poor summer squash started to take a turn for the worst.
We started to increase the water (assuming it was because the soil was dryer with the increasing temperatures) and that helped a little, but not enough. We really looked at the leaves and noticed they were being eaten by pests. To combat it, we invested in a natural pesticide to help get rid of the pests eating our plants.
I am a student affairs professional, an amateur chef, and an adventurer at heart.
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