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How To Start An Urban Garden This Spring For Your Balcony! |

Who’s Ready For Spring?


It’s about that time ladies and gentlemen! Springtime, that is! So what are your plans for spring?

  • Are you the kind who breaks out their cleaning supplies for “spring cleaning”?
  • Do you prep your gardens for beautiful flowers, fruit and veggies?
  • Are you going to be digging through and gathering your seasonal recipes to get ready to cook and bake with fresh produce?


If you’re like me, I’d like to do a little bit of it all, but we all know how it goes. You start one thing and then you’re on to another.


I’d Like To Introduce Myself


Hi, I’m Whitney.  I’m an avid learner and live “er” of everything healthy (well, I really try at least). Growing up, I was surrounded by farmland and my parents always had a lot of gardens.

These reasons have inspired me to want to start my own garden. Since living a healthier lifestyle can be expensive, I decided a garden might help curb some of the costs.

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Starting Your Very Own Balcony Garden


To start my spring season off right, I’ve begun by purchasing some plants for my first ever balcony garden.

I went to a nursery in town and 2 hours later I returned with an exciting array of plants. There were so many options; it was truly hard to choose.

There are several questions you need to ask yourself before you start your garden.

  1. Do you get mostly sun or shade on your balcony? About how many hours of each do you get a day?
  2. Do you want to garden organically or conventionally? The organic selection of fertilizers and pesticide are becoming more and more available, and much more inexpensive.
  3. Do you prefer to have plants that require less maintenance? Or, will you be making a daily commitment to keep up with watering the plants?

When you go to a nursery, ask for help from a horticulture professional. They are very willing to help. This is all a learning process for me, especially since I’m living in a different climate. I wasn’t shy about all of my questions.


Choosing Your Plants


When choosing plants, be sure to look for signs of healthy plants.  

  • The leaves should not be wilted and should be full of life.
  • I find that if the plant is a little older it tends to do better.  Test it out and see if you like little plugins or if slightly bigger plants work better for you.
  • Check the roots of the plant.  You don’t want your plant to have its root system too compacted and tangled.  It is okay to see the roots, but you should also be seeing rich dark soil with the roots.
  • Be sure that there is no powdery substance on the plant.  This could be a fungus or mold and could later destroy the plant.

I finally made some decisions and I purchased a “Park’s  whopper tomato” plant, a “datil pepper” plant, and a “mint orange” herb (for tea!).  I was tempted to buy more, but I certainly didn’t want to be overwhelmed.

If you’re new at this too, it might be best to keep the saying “too much of a good thing, isn’t always a good thing” in the back of your mind. Remember, you can always go back and buy more.

I started with what I anticipate being the “easy stuff” and go from there.  I also purchased some organic fertilizer to keep the plants going strong.


Choosing Your Containers


I don’t exactly go dumpster diving, but I happened to find some terracotta pots months ago near a dumpster one day. Now, I have the perfect containers and a new home for my plants.

When you decide on the best container, it’s a good idea to keep the size of container you choose in mind, to be sure there will be plenty of room for your plant to grow.

Each container has their pros and cons, but it’s important for you to purchase what makes sense for you.

When you go to a nursery you will find many container options:

  • clay/terracotta pots: they are generally cheap, but can crack (from frost and strong winds) and tend to absorb water meant for the plant *search for frost  proof pots
  • plastic pots: they are very lightweight and retain water well, but can tip easily with wind
  • wooden barrels: they can handle different climates, but can rot after absorbing water if they are not lined (certain woods like cedar are an exception since they are not as susceptible to rotting)
  • foam pots: they provide good insulation, but are not as environmentally friendly
  • metal containers: they are sturdy and retain water well, but can attract too much heat, which can be damaging to the plant
  • stone containers: they are very durable and retain water well, but are heavy to lift and can be pricey

Or, you may choose to be thrifty and consider the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle).

Find some unique items to transform around your house (be sure to consider how well they will drain, so drilling a couple holes might be necessary):

  • old watering cans
  • old paint cans
  • old dresser drawers


Sit Back And Enjoy Watching Your Plants Grow


Although I’d like to wake up one day, step out onto the balcony, and see my plants decorating the siding and cement, I realize this might only occur before I wake…in my dreams!

So I am going to sit back, nurture my plants and enjoy watching them grow over the next few months.

I’m eager to make some fresh salsa, add peppers into my favorite dishes, and my favorite… making some fresh herbal tea. May the yummy-ness kick in at any time!

As for now, I’m going to push the “spring green cleaning” to another day and use my homemade products another time.


 So now, I have one question for you: What do you plan to do to break into spring? 


A Little About My Photography


One more thing. Photography. I love photography! So the pictures you see, are from yours truly :)

Unfortunately, the weather has been extremely drowsy in the “sunshine state”, so hopefully next time I can share with you updated photographs.


About Whitney McNutt

Hi! I’m Whitney. I currently live in Florida, however, I’m originally from Maryland. I am a graduate student working on my Master’s in Business Administration, while also working part-time. I have a lot of passions, some of which include food, green living, and photography. I love learning about new ways to live a healthy, organic, and peaceful life. I look forward to sharing this passion with others.

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