The Year Of The Balcony Garden

By Nikki Tilley | May 12, 2021
Image by AnnaNahabed
by Nikki Tilley
May 12, 2021

When I first started gardening, I had plenty of space to practice and I took full advantage. What began as just one ornamental garden soon took off into many of them, along with a huge hillside vegetable plot. To say I was addicted to this pastime is by no means an overstatement. Even when I found myself years later with much less space for gardening, I had to be surrounded with plants. It’s still a running joke with friends and family on my need for PA (Plants Anonymous).

Small Space Gardening

During my pending divorce, the kids and I stayed in an apartment for a short time. Though it was the ground floor, it included a nice enclosed balcony. Although certainly not what I was accustomed to, the small space provided adequate room for growing more than a few container plants, which was my only option available for gardening at the time. It suited me fine though, since the only plants I was able to bring with me were in pots anyway.

The only major downside to this balcony garden was the lack of sunlight. There was some, but very little. I had to settle for what I could get, so I basically crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, and I didn’t attempt any veggies that year. Most consisted of houseplants that spent the spring/summer outside, but I also had my prized container rose and a few other potted ornamentals I was able to rescue from the old place – some irises, hosta, creeping phlox, and a strawberry plant. Thankfully, they all made it through just fine and even travelled with me to my new (and current) home the following season.

Though the time spent there was relatively short, I learned something valuable. Plants can and will grow just about anywhere (another one of my specialties these days). So even if life throws you a curve ball and that big garden you once loved is no longer possible, you can still grow plants in small spaces. Had I been there long enough, I would have grown that potted vegetable garden – there are still veggies that thrive in shadier spots

I’m once again fortunate to have a larger growing space but still find myself partial to container gardening. Even now I continue to grow a number of plants in pots, including tomatoes and lettuce. They offer more flexibility than those planted in-ground. You can move them around as needed and take them with you whenever you relocate. Not that I plan on it anytime soon, but just having the peace of mind that my beloved plants in pots will be with me regardless of where I am is satisfying. Hard to believe I never gave that much thought before”¦ not until the year I had the small balcony garden.

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