General Gardening

Saving and Storing Seeds

ISeed packetsf a container plant does well in your garden, save the seeds each year, and the plants you grow will begin to adapt to your local conditions. You can even end up creating your own heirloom varieties that you can share with others. Saving seeds will allow you will have healthier plants each year that grow better and better – and it’s cheaper than buying new seeds or seedlings each year!


Participating in a Plant Swap

Aloe vera transplant plant swapOften a container plant will explode with growth, produce a lot of seeds or grow too big for the balcony garden. Balcony gardeners don’t have much space to work with, so a lot of pruning must be done, many seeds can go unused and large plants need to be given away, sold or thrown away. But there is another solution to these problems: a plant swap.


The Harvest Club of Orange County

The Harvest Club of Orange CountyA volunteer organization in Orange County, Calif., called The Harvest Club, has combined urban gardening, sustainable food production and volunteerism in a fascinating way. Jeff Lebow founded The Harvest Club in 2009 in Huntington Beach, and now the club has more than 450 harvest volunteers and more than 200 registered backyard growers throughout Orange County to harvest fruit and other produce from residents’ backyards that would otherwise go to waste.


Vegetables from the Container Garden

Rosemary potatoes from the garden.Several good films to get you excited about vegetable gardening are two documentaries about food. One is Supersize Me, and the other is Food, Inc. Supersize Me is the famous 2004 documentary that follows director Morgan Spurlock on a 30-day MacDonald’s-only diet. He had gained 24.5 pounds and some unexpected physical and emotional effects from the 30-day junk food binge. Food, Inc. is a 2008 documentary about the way our food is produced and marketed. Vegetable gardening in a balcony kitchen garden is one way to know where your food comes from and how it was grown. It is also a more healthy and delicious alternative to eating prepackaged foods.


Protect Your Balcony Floors with Raised Containers

 Jude Adamson

A simple tip to keeping your balcony floors in good condition is to keep your plant containers off the floors. Setting them directly on the floor can cause a lot of water to sit on the floor, which can slowly lead to damage.

There are products you can buy, called pot risers or pot feet, which you can place underneath the pot. These work well, but you can also use plant stands, plant container caddies or rollers (very handy if you want to move plants around or have heavy plants), or improvise and place other items below the plant's pot. Just make sure that the container plant won't easily fall over!

If you use dishes underneath your plant pots, it will protect your floor but may also collect water after it rains or if you overwater. Water that is left in the dishes may attract mosquitoes and other garden pests, and it will keep the potting soil too moist and may eventually lead to root rot. I personally use plant dishes under my plant pots, and I drain the water onto the floor or into another pot so the plant doesn't sit in stagnant water for too long.

In the photo above, the containers are raised with simple bricks. Any item that is sturdy, level and will not break down outdoors in the elements will work as a plant riser.

Now go out there and get your plant pots off the ground!

Additional information