Small and Mighty - Successful Balcony and Patio Gardening

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Learn how to grow food in sometimes difficult small spaces: balconies and patios!

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Small and Mighty - Successful Balcony and Patio Gardening

  1. 1. Small and Mighty Successful Balcony & Patio Gardening Independence Gardens Portland, OR January 2012 © Independence Gardens LLC Download the handout that goes along with this slideshow! http://bit.ly/xm6MrW Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  2. 2. What We’ll Cover TodayIntro we are Independence Gardens • We build raised beds, chicken coops, terraces, trellises, & other garden infrastructure • Help with garden design & planning, cleanup, prep, and installation • Teach edible gardening classes • & make Doo Tees! Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  3. 3. Topics We’ll Cover • Key elements of small/ contained growing spaces • Top five tips for gardening successfully in small spaces • Best plants to grow in small spaces • Other resources (tools, supplies & materials) • Take-home tips What We’ll Cover TodayPreview Got Questions? Please ask as we go along. Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  4. 4. What We’ll Skip TodayAnd Some Other OptionsSpace • Limited size - Prioritize what will grow & what you will eat • Technical specs - Can it hold extra weight? • Accessibility to you & to others - Use edges/walls/railings, keep open floor space & reachability • Horizontal/vertical Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  5. 5. And Some Other OptionsSun • Which direction does your space face? - If north, you will have special challenges, as the sun comes from the south • How many hours of sunlight do you have each day, & when? - 4-6 = absolute minimum - Morning sun is gentler - Avoid bakin’ balconies! Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  6. 6. And Some Other OptionsWind • Height matters - If you’re in the penthouse suite... • Direction - Where’d THAT come from? • Constant vs. gusts - Plan for both • Watch out for... - Plant damage - Flying pots Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  7. 7. And Some Other OptionsSoil • It’s not like growing in-ground - The soil food web won’t be well- supported in pot-islands - Soil change-out every year • This puts you in charge of all nutrient needs - pH level matters - Fertilizer in the soil - Supplementation: fertigation & foliar feedings Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  8. 8. And Some Other OptionsWater • Where does it come from? - Do you have nearby water access, or will you need to bring water out? • Where does it go? - Do you have a downstairs neighbor? • How does it escape the system? - Evapotranspiration - Drainage Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  9. 9. And Some Other OptionsNeighbors • Speaking - Let them know what you’re up to • Leaking - Be considerate of the impacts your garden might have • Sharing - Ask if you might share space/ resources - Getting them on your team • Pests = unwanted neighbors Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  10. 10. And Some Other OptionsVisibility • Lookin’ gooood - Your aesthetic might not match others’ - Complaints can cause problems • View - Not interrupting yours or anyone else’s • Attracting grazers - Animals or people Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  11. 11. And Some Other OptionsTop Five Tips • 1 - Choose appropriate containers • 2 - Support your plants • 3 - Buffer harsh conditions • 4 - Time it right • 5 - Grow with & for others Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  12. 12. Why Compost?1 - Containers • Be creative • Focus on good drainage OR no drainage (closed-loop/ hydroponic) • Avoid black pots (unless your plants need LOTS of heat) • Bigger than you think you need (don’t dry out) • Multiple plants per container • Decent-looking is always good Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  13. 13. 2 - Supports • Take advantage of vertical space • Use burly structures and gentle attachments • Avoid permanent modifications Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  14. 14. 3 - Buffers • Shadecloth • Floating row cover (Reemay) • Windbreak screen • Cloche/cold frame • Make sure structures are flexible to meet plants’ needs! • And design so they meet your needs, too Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  15. 15. 4 - Timing • Start seeds indoors or buy them at proper size/stage • Make a space for the plants before they arrive • Monitor conditions (e.g. soil & air temps) • Water in the morning • Succession plant Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  16. 16. 5 - Company • Make it easy for yourself • Invite visitors - People and other helpers (pollinators, for instance) • Work together • Share the harvest Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  17. 17. • Herbs • Tomatoes • Salad greens & leafy greens • Small fruit (e.g. blueberries & columnar apples) • Your choice of climbing crops: – Peas & beans – Nasturtiums – Cukes/squash • Bonus: pollinator attractors What to grow? Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  18. 18. Resources • Tools - Use what you have on hand first (spoons, pitchers, old containers)...then try Red Pig • Plants - Buy from a local nursery • Supplies & materials - Linnton, UFS, Naomi’s, &c. • Neighbors, friends & family! Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  19. 19. Take-home message • Balcony/patio gardening usually means container gardening • It’s very different from in- ground gardening • But you can utilize even the smallest spaces to produce great edibles! Tuesday, January 31, 2012
  20. 20. Got Questions? Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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