To be perfectly honest with you, I never thought of myself as a gardener. Even hearing the word kind of makes me squirm. As a kid, my least favourite part of the summer was being forced to weed and water the garden. Now that I'm no longer forced to complete these chores, and with my own humble abode to take care of, I kind of see the appeal in gardening.
Plants, like animals, are clinically proven to relieve tension. It's been said that "just one plant is linked with a reduction in feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, confusion, fatigue and stress". Not only that, but if you live with a lot of people, having plants will clean the carbon dioxide in the air, ridding you of daily drowsiness and even headaches. But even with all of these health benefits, the reason I like it, is because it's a productive hobby.
So with this in mind, I'm here to help you set up a perfect balcony garden. Living in Montreal doesn't permit most of us the space to create the garden of our dreams, but you can make the most with what little room you have!
I'm not a fanatic when it comes to organic food. But if I have the option to grow it, and it will ultimately be cheaper, why wouldn't I take advantage of it?
Sweet Potatoes: These lil' guys are a great option for a summertime balcony garden, because they don't like the cold. It's super simple to get it started, all you need is an organic sweet potato and a jar of water. It will take a couple months to finish it up, but it's definitely worth the wait in the end!
Photo cred - gardeningknowhow
Watermelon: Yes, it is possible to grow watermelons on your balcony. The popular summer fruit is an easy way to make you look like a gardener extraordinaire. It only takes an old t-shirt, a bucket and PLENTY of water.
Microgreens: A simple way to vamp up your garden is to add microgreens. Microgreens are what I like to call "salad stuffers": cilantro, baby spinach, and arugula are all included in this category. They're dead easy to make, and take only about 1-2 weeks to fully sprout.
When I think of summer I think of the fragrant smell of herbs taking up the back garden. Buying spices and garnish can become quite pricey after a while, so why not take a swing at growing them yourself? Herbs are generally pretty simple to grow, only requiring a pot, water and some TLC. These are the best herbs to grow in the summer season. Make sure to check out the full instructions on harvesting!
Photo cred - bcliving
Mint: Mojitos anyone?
Basil: Basil is so easy to grow that you don't even need soil to do it!
Dill: Great for summer dishes like potato salad, quinoa, and salsa. You can also use it to make your own pickles in the winter.
Cacti and succulents are ideal for those of you busy with summer jobs. Cacti and succulents don't take much watering and don't even really need a lot of sunlight. But they sure look hella fresh.
Moon Cactus: These plants are a little bit alien-looking, but they add something to your garden like nothing else. Characterized by the colourful bulb on their head, they are sure to keep your garden looking funky, with little-to-no effort on your part.
Succulent: As if it's even possible, succulents may be easier to grow than cacti. You don't need to put them in a place with direct sunlight and you only need to water them when they're parched. How convenient!
While city critters can be very cute, you don't want all of them to be munching on your greens. Here's how to repel the unwanted animals and bring in the helpful ones.
Squirrel Repellent: Spring has sprung and summer is on its way in, which means our little squirrel friends are back in business - with a vengeance. While we like seeing them scurrying around the park, it's not so great to have them eating up all your hard work. All you need are some spices and a spray bottle to keep them off your balcony foliage.
Cat Repellent: While you may see your balcony as the equivalent to Eden, a kitty may think of it as a glorified litter box. Montreal is a jungle of stray cats, and while we need to do all we can to help, you still don't want to deal with cat poo in your microgreens. Here are three options for keeping the kitties out of your garden.
Butterfly Feeder: What's better than having a lush, sunny garden? A lush, sunny garden filled with butterflies of course! This DIY only involves 5 steps and will end up making your garden look and feel magical.
The best part of having a balcony garden, is the ability to get creative. With such little available space you've gotta do all you can to make the most of it. Here is some balcony inspiration to help get the gears goin'!
Photo cred - uncovet