No matter how many towers high you may live, if you have love for plants, there is always a way to grow them. Most apartments have a balcony arrangement. Be it a small one or a window sill, there is always room for plants. If you are a plant lover, you should consider growing them in the space available in your flat.

I presently have a small balcony attached to my flat at the 15th floor (a little high,eh?) and no matter how many houses I move out and in, I like to keep a little greenery for soothing my eyes. Watching a plant grow and bloom with your own effort is so soothing and I think it’s a great way to relax. Though I like to grow my greens like mint and coriander for kitchen, I also prefer the beautiful roses and blooms. So I get a couple of pots and some soil with compost to make my tiny little garden.

The problem I faced with growing plants in the balcony was how messy it had become with excess water leakage and soil all over. And especially those round rings of the pot’s bottom that form on my pretty tiles. Though I kept cleaning them up routinely and kept water collecting trays, those little rings were unavoidable.

So I found a permanent solution to handle this without having to ditch my plants. A grill stand! I measured the length of the stand I would be needing to hold my pots and the width. I then got it made at a local welding shop for just 500 rupees. It was a single stand, since it wouldn’t fit in the car, I got it cut into two with extra legs attached. This way, there would be no contact of the pots with my tiles and cleaning or mopping the balcony would be a breeze. I love this idea and the pretty look it gives to my balcony. Definitely an eye pleaser.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the mesh on the grills, I got it done to prevent my 2 year old from throwing stuff  out.

If you’re wondering what plants they are, it’s just some mint leaves and chilli plants (yet to bloom) and of course the favorite kashmir rose plant and some pretty flowering plants.

Choose plants for balconies which don’t grow into large bushes. Keep it small and simple else your balcony will look cramped. If you want to add climbers, make sure you design the way it grows using a wire or cage.

If your balcony doesn’t have enough space to hold pots, consider hanging pots. All you have to do is buy them and drill holes on the balcony walls to attach them. Also there are many indoor planting options available on eBay and Amazon like wall hanging pots and planters.

If you are planning to start a produce garden for your kitchen, consider planting –

* Leafy Greens (lettuce, mint, basil, coriander)

* Cherry tomatoes

* Cucumbers

* Green Chillies

* Brinjal

These plants are easy to grow in a balcony, occupy less space and need less soil. You can even make a wonderful salad with them! They need less maintanence, except for watering and manure addition. If you opt for root plants like carrot and radishes, make sure you have enough soil depth to allow them them grow.

Some of my favorite ideas for balcony gardening are below.

Not that you have decided to start your balcony garden, look our for these common mistakes-

* Choosing plants – Do a research on which plants suits your balcony best. Whether your balcony is sunny or shady, less or more spacious. Choose the plants according to their needs.

*Over or under watering – This can make or break your plants . Learning the watering schedule for each plant is important. Give them the correct amount of water.

*Pest Control – If you are growing produce, it is likely to get attacked by pests. Keep a check on them and if in doubt, spray water diluted in neem oil. This is one of the simplest pest preventing measures. For more info- How To Control Pests

*Drainage – There should be proper drainage mechanism in all your pots. They should have holes to remove excess water. It is best to use potting mix for this purpose.

* Fertiliser – If you like your plants to bloom often and give good quality produce, solid nutrition is important. Potting mix isn’t just enough. You can buy earthworm compost or manure at the stores or even make your own homemade fertiliser.  Add these once a week to the plant soil and watch them rise and shine!

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