Today the population is moving from rural to urban areas due to urbanization, and since apartments can house more people in less space they’re becoming increasingly popular. Together with the increasingly fast rhythm of our lives that brings numerous daily obligations, this has made us disconnected from nature. Gardening is the perfect way to reestablish this connection and improve your health, and you can create your garden even in the limited space of your apartment.
Terraces get plenty of sunshine and therefore are ideal places for your garden. These terrace gardens are really easy to maintain and that maintenance is highly therapeutic. The will provide you with fresh air and absorb carbon dioxide, reducing the heat in the surrounding of your home. So it’s no wonder that the majority of city people want to have a terrace garden. If you’re among them and don’t know where to start, we’ve prepared some tips that will show you the way.
1. Consider The Weight
Before you start you need to make sure that your terrace or balcony is able to hold the weight of your plants. If your building construction is an older one it will be able to support less weight, but if it’s built in the right way it could even take the weight of the bigger trees. If you plan to cover the entire surface with soil in order to make a lawn, you also need to make sure that balconies and roofs have waterproofing. If they don’t it’s recommendable to do it in order to avoid leakages into your home. If you prefer a regular look with pots there’s no need for this extra effort.
2. Provide The Right Conditions
Different plants have different sunlight requirements, so it’s important to utilize both – sunny and shade areas of your terrace. There are plants that require more than 5 hours of direct sunlight, while some thrive in semi-shade or complete shade. Even those sun-loving ones may need to be moved to the shaded area in hot summer so they don’t get scorched. It’s important to grow plants on the Western or Southern side of your terrace so they’ll have enough sun, but if you’re located in a warm tropical climate it’s recommendable to provide the afternoon shade.
Watering is equally important as sunlight. During the summer you’ll have to do it twice a day, so it’s mandatory to establish a source of water near your terrace and to equip yourself with a hose pipe to prevent the watering of your plants turning into a tedious task. Since it contains nitrogen, rainwater is very good for your plants and you should consider storing it in a large container for later use.
3. Prepare The Soil
The success of your terrace garden largely depends on the kind of soil you use – it should provide important nutrients that will make your plants grow. That’s why its mandatory to use premium quality potting mix and to add lots of compost, which you can make from your kitchen waste. You’ll also need to add river sand and manure. Keep in mind that different plants require a different kind of soil – while plants such as cacti and succulents thrive in sandy soil, for the ones such as azalea and citrus you’ll need to raise acid level in the soil. You’ll also need to add compost every two to three weeks to replenish the nutrients.
4. Ensure The Absorption
If you want your plants to grow, you need to ensure the absorption of nutrients and water. In order to allow the drainage of water and air movement, the soil must be porous and waterlogging will also stop the growth. That’s why it’s mandatory to have a drainage layer on the terrace, which must be placed above the insulation layer. You can use simple drainage mats and add a geotextile filter which will separate them from the soil layer. It will prevent soil loss and plant debris through running water which could block the drains. If you’re using pots and containers you simply need to raise their bottom for water to drain out and air to move, and put a cloth lining inside that will prevent the nutrients and soil from creeping out through drainage holes.
5. Start Small
Although you can grow everything in your terrace garden – there has been even a coconut tree reported – you should start with a small pot and a single vegetable. Plants such as cherry tomatoes and chilies are the best start because they require little care and are thus easier to grow. Then simply gradually increase the number of pots and the variety of plants over time.
As you can see, it’s nothing complicated. You just need to be aware of the needs of the plants you intend to grow, and start with a clear visualization of the space. You need to consider their weight, soil, sunlight and water requirements, and to take it slowly and patiently.