Fern Richardson and Colby Eierman (both Gen X and Y garden writers) have created a couple of great books filled with ideas.
Fern, who is the same writer who brought us the wildly viral pallet vertical garden, has written a book called Small Space Container Gardens that shares a whole host of ideas for transforming even the tiniest of spaces into something special.
My Favorite tips:
- If you have sensitive plants on your balcony that have a tendency to over bake during the hottest part of the day, try putting them under a bench or a table or near a larger plant that will shade it. (I'm having a major 'duh, why didn't I think of that' moment.)
- Plant Borage to encourage Lacewings (a beneficial bug that eats bad bugs) — and you can candy the flowers or freeze them into ice cubes for a special cocktail treat.
- Use Ajuga Reptans (Carpet Bugle) in a container — its runners will eventually spill over the side of the pot. (I on the other had use it freely as a groundcover, counting on those runners to work their way around the garden and keep the place a little less weedy.)
I had no idea that citrus trees require so much nitrogen and that I might have better luck if I invest in and use some Citrus Fertilizer (which being up here in non-citrus growing Yankee territory, I didn't even know existed *— yeah for internet shopping!).
There are also directions for simple pruning or more advanced espalier tricks. I am leaning towards the 'open center' look for a couple apple trees that I planted last year, and I am excited to try out training weights (which are just pieces of string tied around rocks to weight down branches into the form that you want them to grow).
If you have ever thought about branching out in edible gardening into the world of pomme fruits, citrus and stone fruits, but thought you didn't have the space to make it work, this is certainly the book to help you along.
Check out the books:
• Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs
• Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard
(Image: Rochelle Greayer)