One of the compromises we made when buying a town home was to live without a yard. As a Landscape Architecture student, some couldn’t fathom how I would survive without the opportunity to garden. The beauty of our place is that it’s the front unit of the building, which means we get an abundance of natural sunlight upstairs. It also means we get an abundance of natural sunlight on our balcony. So, who needs a yard when you’ve got prime growing real estate right outside your sliding glass door?
When I was a kid my parents and grandparents always had fruits and vegetables growing in the garden. It was such a fascinating experience for me as a child, and I get very nostalgic when I think of those summers filled with daily garden surprises and the amazingly delicious bounty it produced. I love that I experienced what it’s like to nurture a garden, and revel in the results. I also love that urban gardening is becoming fashionable. I won’t get on my soap box here, but I feel that at-home/local/urban/community supported agriculture is great for all. With that said, can you guess what I’m using our sunny balcony for?
This is my first go at a vegetable garden of my own, and instantly I was transported back to that excited kid looking for new veggies everyday. When my husband saw the start up costs of my balcony garden, however, his cost benefit analysis didn’t compute. (He didn’t understand the cost benefit analysis of our dog, either, but now he does!) After purchasing all of the cedar boxes and the electronic composter, I do agree that growing and composting in the ground is far cheaper than doing it on your balcony, but the rewards are still the same.
Here is our garden, and my gardening assistant:
We don’t have a huge balcony, and would like to keep enough space for BBQing, so finding the right growing containers was important. After months of searching for the right planters, I found these 10″ square cedar boxes and knew they were the solution. They blend in well with the building, discourage pests and rot, are easy to move and don’t take up too much space. Plus, I like the way they look. And I still can’t believe how perfectly the composter fits out there…even right next to an outlet!
So far we’ve had basil, lettuce, spinach, green beans, chard, rosemary and garlic come from our new garden. And my Meyer Lemon and Mandarin trees are blooming like crazy! I’m still waiting on zucchinis and bell peppers, and I’m afraid the artichoke is not going to happen. Despite our bit of bounty, though, we definitely still need a CSA box each week!
Tune in next time for Dog-Gone It…