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Gardening without a garden

Living in an apartment normally means going without a garden. What can you do if you love gardening but you only have a patio or balcony to work with? We give you tips on how to create a garden with minimal space.



1. The first port of call for the apartment gardener is a pallet. Here is how to do it:
  • Find a Pallet - check with your local supermarkets, they normally have unused pallets.
  • Prepare the Pallet. Repair any loose boards and add landscape fabric to the back so you dont damage the wall that the pallet will rest against.
  • Pick Your Plants. Cascading plants like the nasturtiums she has on the top level will make it feel full and vibrant. This would also be an excellent place to have a vertical herb garden planted with thyme and basil and rosemary.



2. You can also mount canning jars, which you can buy at any supermarket, on the wall.



3. The easiest garden idea we have seen is a repurposed shoe organiser! Mount a curtain pole on hooks and hang the organiser. Pour some water through each pocket and ensure that the water can drain. If not make a few holes in the pocket. Remember when watering your plants to do so slowly and use a good moisture retaining compost.



4. Use galvanised tubs to create a garden to grow your herbs in.



5. If you are planning on planting bigger plants, plastic containers are a better idea. Use a wooden support for vine plants and watch as your balcony garden grows.



6. Wooden boxes used to store wine in can be repurposed as beautiful planters.



7. If you really have no space, there is a way to grow citrus indoors:

  1. Buy the right tree. Calamondin Orange, Improved Meyer Lemon, Ponderosa Lemon, Eureka Lemon, Persian or Bearss Lime, Eustis Limequat, Rangpur Lime, Otaheite Orange, Nippon Orangequat are all great varieties for beginning indoor cultivators.
  2. Soil needs to be the correct pH and promote proper drainage. A range of 5-8 is best. You can get a pH test kit from your local nursery. A mixture of 1 part sand, 1 part peat and 1 part bark, perlite or vermiculite will serve your tree well. The soil should be loose enough to permit adequate but not excessive drainage. Any type of pot will do, but a 1" - 2" layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot will most readily promote drainage.
  3. Citrus trees require a minimum of 5 hour of sunlight per day. Ideally, they should get 10-12. Supplemental lighting in the form of high intensity discharge lighting can be used to maximize your yield. One important thing to keep in mind is to slowly acclimate your trees if taking them from the outdoors to indoors for winter. Though acclimation isn't necessary if only bringing them in for a few days to prevent freezing.
  4. Humidity. Citrus trees will drop their leaves if the humidity grows too low in an indoor environment. Ideal humidity should be at 45 - 50%. Use a humidifier, if necessary.
  5. Regular watering is necessary for your tree's survival. When the top 2 inches of soil are dry, water (but don't soak) the tree. If water pools in the saucer, empty the saucer. During warm summer months, you may need to water as often as twice daily. During winter months, water much more sparingly.



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