Balcony gardening is becoming very popular these days. People are starting to realize the benefits of having their own garden space. If you live in a city apartment or condo in Bangalore, balcony gardening can provide you with fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, etc.
The idea behind balcony gardening is simple – you plant some seeds in pots, put them on the balcony, water them regularly, and wait for them to sprout. Once they start growing, you harvest them and enjoy the bounty.
There are several ways to go about balcony gardening. Some people prefer using soil-less mixes, while others prefer using soil. There are also various types of containers available, such as hanging baskets, planters, and window boxes.
Here are some tips and tricks for balcony gardeners in Bangalore.
1. Choose the Right Plants
Choose plants that grow well in Bangalore climate.
Choosing plants for balcony gardening is a lot like choosing a spouse. You need to be compatible, compatible, compatible!
If you're not compatible, you won't last long together. Likewise, if you pick the wrong plant, it will fail to thrive and eventually die.
That's why it's important to choose plants carefully. The right plants should complement each other, and they should be able to withstand different weather conditions.
When selecting plants, consider the following factors:
- Compatibility: Choose plants that are compatible with each other. They shouldn't compete for space or water, nor should they require too much maintenance.
- Weather tolerance: Look for plants that can tolerate different weather conditions. Some plants prefer warm temperatures, while others prefer cooler ones.
- Water requirements: Consider the amount of water needed by each plant. Some plants need regular watering, while others only need occasional misting.
- Maintenance needs: Make sure you select plants that require minimal maintenance.
- Size: Choose plants that are appropriate for your space. Small plants may grow quickly, but they take up a lot of room. Larger plants usually require more care and maintenance.
- Color: Select plants that match the color scheme of your home. This helps create a cohesive environment.
- Flowering period: Choose plants that bloom at different times of the year. This makes it easier to plan your garden.
- Plant variety: Choose plants that offer a wide range of flower types. This ensures you'll never run out of flowers to enjoy.
- Nutrients: Choose plants that provide nutrients to your soil. This will help ensure healthy growth.
2. Planting Tips
Plant in pots first. Then transplant into soil.
When planting flowers and vegetables, use a spade instead of a trowel. This allows you to dig deeper than a trowel would allow, making it possible to plant seeds directly into the soil.
Also, be careful not to damage the roots when digging. Use a shovel instead of a trowels.
When planting seeds, be sure to plant them at least 1/2 inch deep. This helps ensure that the seedling roots grow down into the soil.
If you're planting seeds directly into the ground, use a trowel to dig holes slightly wider than the seeds. Then place the seeds in the hole and gently press them into the ground.
Also, when planting seeds, try to avoid direct sunlight because this may cause the seeds to dry out prematurely. Instead, place the plants in shaded areas where there's indirect light.
3. Watering Tips
Water regularly. Don't let the pot dry out.
Avoid over watering. Watering too often causes plants to grow quickly, which makes them vulnerable to disease.
Overwatered plants also tend to get sick. They become weak and spindly, and they often die. Overwatering causes your plants to rot.
Use a watering can to water your plants.
Water only once in a while, and wait until the soil is dry before watering again. Some plants require plenty of water. Learn which plants require more water and provide it accordingly.
Watering shallowly doesn't allow enough moisture to reach the roots.
To help determine whether your plants need regular watering, look for signs of wilting. Wilted leaves indicate that your plants need water.
Wilted leaves are usually green, although they may turn yellowish brown. They may droop downward and appear limp.
Other symptoms include dark spots on the leaves and stems. These dark spots are actually dead cells. Dead cells are usually brown or black.
If you notice any of these symptoms, give your plants a drink. Then wait 24 hours before checking again.
If the symptoms persist, call a professional gardener from UrbanMali.
4. Fertilizer Tips
Fertilizers are essential for growing plants. They help plants grow faster and stronger. But not all fertilizers are created equal. Some fertilizers are better than others at helping plants grow.
There are two types of fertilizer: organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers come from natural sources, such as manure, compost, and fish emulsion. Synthetic fertilizers are manmade chemicals that are used to enhance plant growth.
Organic fertilizers are usually cheaper than synthetic ones. However, they're often harder to find and may take longer to work.
Synthetic fertilizers are typically more effective than organic fertilizers. But they're dangerous to your health and the environment and usually more expensive.
If you plan to use organic fertilizers, be sure to apply them when temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps prevent bacteria from forming and spoiling the nutrients.
Also, avoid fertilizing during periods of drought. Watering plants too frequently can dilute the fertilizer and reduce its effectiveness.
Finally, remember that different plants require different amounts of fertilizer. The amount of fertilizer needed depends on the type of plant and the soil conditions.
Use organic fertilizer every month.
Keep your plants healthy by fertilizing regularly. Fertilizer feeds your plants' leaves and stems, encouraging them to grow strong and healthy.
Fertilizers come in liquid form or granules. Liquid fertilizer is usually applied every two weeks. Granular fertilizer should be added once per month.
Apply fertilizer according to the directions on the package. Follow the instructions carefully, because too much fertilizer may burn your plants.
To determine what kind of fertilizer is right for your garden, call UrbanMali's professional gardener services.
5. Pest Control
When it comes to pest control, there are two main types of pests:
1) Pests that eat your plants (such as aphids, caterpillars, and slugs), and
2) Pests that damage your plants (like ants, beetles, and wasps).
To protect your plants from these pests, you need to use pesticides. But many gardeners are reluctant to use pesticides because they're afraid of harming the environment.
Fear no more. Use organic pesticides. The truth is that organicpesticides are safe when used correctly. And they are actually environmentally friendly. So if you're concerned about the safety of pesticides, here are a few tips to help you decide whether to spray your plants.
First, understand that organic pesticides are not harmful to humans. They only harm insects. Second, be aware that organic pesticides aren't toxic to pets or children. Third, remember that these pesticides are designed to kill specific pests.
Finally, keep in mind that pesticides are meant to be applied at very low concentrations. This means that you should never apply more than necessary.
Always apply organic insecticide spray. Consult a professional gardener from UrbanMali to learn more.
6. Pruning Tips
Pruning is the process of removing unwanted growth from plants. Pruning is important because it helps keep plants healthy and strong.
There are two types of pruning: deadheading and cutting back. Deadheading involves removing flowers after they've finished blooming. This keeps the plant looking fresh and attractive. Cutting back involves removing some of the older leaves.
Deadheading is usually done once a week during the growing season. Cuttings should be removed when they're at least 6 inches long.
Cutting back is done every 2 weeks during the growing season. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves.
If you're not familiar with pruning, ask your local neighborhood gardener from UrbanMali for help. We'll be able to show you how to properly prune your plants.
Remember to prune regularly.
7. Harvesting Tips
Harvesting tips are important because they help you maximize your harvest.
If you're growing tomatoes, for example, you need to know when to pick them. Tomatoes are very perishable, so you should harvest them at the peak of ripeness.
When harvesting, be careful not to bruise the fruit. Bruising causes the tomato to spoil faster than normal.
To avoid bruising, gently squeeze each tomato with your fingers. Then, place the tomato in a bowl filled with ice water. The cold temperature will prevent the tomato from spoiling.
Let them sit on the counter for a day or two. Then rinse off the excess water and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They'll keep for weeks this way.
If you grow peppers, wait until they've reached full maturity before harvesting. Peppers ripen at different rates depending on the variety, so just be patient and wait until they're ready.
When harvesting cucumbers, leave some space between each plant so that you can easily remove them from the vine. Cucumbers tend to grow back quickly, so you may need to thin out plants every couple of months.
Finally, when harvesting zucchini, squash, eggplant, or any other type of vegetable, try to avoid picking too many at once. This will encourage them to continue growing, and you won't be able to eat them all right away. Instead, harvest only as much as you plan to use within a week or two.
These are just a few examples of harvesting tips. There are plenty more ways to harvest produce from your balcony garden. The most important tip is to experiment and find what works best for you.
Always harvest when fruits are ripe.
8. Other Tips
A. Choose the Right Location
Choose a location where there is ample sunlight. This means that you should avoid locations such as windows, doors, and areas where there is shade.
B. Prepare the Ground
Before planting anything, prepare the ground properly. Remove weeds, remove any stones, and ensure that the soil is free of debris.
C. Planting Time
Plant early morning hours. If possible, plant in the evening. This helps plants to absorb nutrients better.
Cleaning up the garden is important. Sweep the leaves and debris away. Keep the pot clean.
Repotting ensures that the plants do not dry out. It also prevents diseases.
Maintain the garden regularly. Check the soil pH level. Add fertilizer if required.
Weeds are unsightly and can be dangerous. They compete with plants for water, nutrients, sunlight, and space. Weeds can choke out desirable plants, crowd out native species, and cause erosion.
To keep weeds at bay, remove them when you notice them. Use a garden rake to pull weeds, or use a hoe to dig them up.
If you're not comfortable removing weeds yourself, ask a neighbor or friend to help. Or hire a professional gardener from UrbanMali to take care of the job for you.
To keep weeds out of your garden, cover the top of the soil with mulch. Mulching keeps weeds from growing through the soil and prevents rainwater from washing away nutrients.
Mulch also protects the soil from drying out during hot weather.
These are some tips and tricks to help you enjoy balcony gardening in Bangalore. Enjoy!
Dr. Vandana, Co-Founder, UrbanMali