Living in an apartment is not a barrier to having a garden. You could use your originality to create a garden out in the air, almost! Do this the eco friendly way and reduce the carbon foot-print, while you are at it.
A good method is to plant in pots, and these do not need to come brand new, from a shop. Use the empty pots and containers that tend to gather around the house. For example, these could be ice cream containers, milk cans, oats tins, milk powder tins or clay pots that contained curd. This way you could be sustainable and economic, at the same time. One thing to be taken into account is the drainage of the container. This would depend on the material the containers are made of. While clay containers would offer better
drainage, plastic would not allow any water to escape. To prevent the roots from rotting, drill two or three small holes at the bottom of non-porous containers. For a clay pot, one hole would suffice. To prevent water from running onto the floor, place old saucers or plates underneath the pots.
The survival of the plants would depend on availability of minerals in soil and correct amounts of water, in addition to lighting conditions. A good rule of the thumb is to mix compost with the soil of your choice. Make sure the soil is not too sandy. It is necessary to water the plants once a day to ensure their survival. Remember, that they are grown on pots and they have no way of obtaining the minerals and nutrients they need by themselves. Therefore, you need to fertilize the plants once a fortnight.
You could make your own compost right in your apartment. All you need is food scraps and a garbage can. Drill few holes in the garbage can and place it on top of two or three bricks. Place a small basin
underneath the bucket to keep the floor clean. Add sawdust or straw to the bottom of the can to assist in absorbing excess moisture. Then start adding food scraps. Each time you add food scraps, add shredded leaves or soil on top of it, with a little water.
Make sure you don’t include scraps of meat, fish or dairy product leftovers. You could use shredded cardboard or wastepaper to balance out the food. Food is considered to be ‘green’ material while cardboard or paper is considered to be ‘brown’ material. The ratio is two part of brown to one part of green source material. However, do not worry too much about the ratios. If it’s too dry, you could add water. If it’s too wet, you could add more brown material.
The most important factor is to maximize the available space. To do this, avoid the obvious option of placing flower pots on the floor. Instead hang plants from the roof or the walls. Use an old bookshelf and place the plants on the shelves. Or mount an old shoe organizer to the wall and plant in each pouch. Typical plants for a balcony include rock violets, African violets, jasmine creepers, sweet Williams, blue and white cape leadwort and hydrangeas. Mint is a handy herb that could be planted in a balcony garden. However ensure that it receives plenty of sunshine. Consider adding tumblers and creepers.
Bougainvillea is a plant available in large number of varieties and would add colour to the balcony garden.