Continuing our series of blogs in conjunction with the release of Isabelle’s upcoming book “The Balcony Gardener,” we’re featuring our essential guide to setting yourself up as a Balcony Gardener, perfect if you’re a gardening novice.
This week, we’re looking at the essential Balcony Gardening kit which will help you get started. It can be a bit daunting to know where to start and what to invest in, so Isabelle can help you with her top tips!
- WATERING CANS / GARDEN HOSES
To keep your balcony garden healthy and flourishing it will need occasional watering. I would recommend using a couple of smaller watering cans as opposed to one large one which can often get pretty heavy when filled with water. A long spout is also useful to reach plants in a container, I would also suggest buying a rose attachment which gives a softer shower which is ideal when watering seeds and other delicate plants. If you want to use a hose either be sure you have an outdoor tap or you can use a hose attachment for an indoor tap.
- TROWELS AND HAND FORKS
Finding the right tools and the right fit is essential, when you’re shopping try using the tools in the shop. You want to make sure that they’re comfortable and easy to handle. I think stainless steel trowels and hand forks are much more effective and last a lot longer.
There can still be wayward plants on a balcony that will need cutting back so you will need a good pair of hand pruners or secateurs. If you decide to grow laurel, bamboo, evergreens or roses they will need a regular tidy-up.
It’s always best as a matter of course to buy quality organic seeds, produce that is free from chemical interference. As a rule I would recommend coir pots to sow seeds in, they’re much more environmentally friendly that plastic pots or polysterene which can rot down in potting mix.
- BRACKETS FOR WINDOW BOXES
It’s very important when you’re suspending window boxes and troughs on a balcony garden that they are securely fixed. Make sure you hang the box or trough on the inside of the balcony and not over the edge where they could fall and injure a passer-by. You can buy adjustable brackets to match the filled weight of the window box.
- PLANT LABELS AND OTHER USEFUL ITEMS
It’s important to use labels when sowing seeds so that you can recognise seeds after you’ve planted them. Make sure you use an indelible pens on labels and get into the habit of inserting labels as soon as you’ve planted the seeds. Don’t feel that you have to only use plastic labels, there are plenty of more attractive metal, copper and slates. I also think it’s a good idea to use pot feet they help with drainage and deter slugs.
- SPRAY BOTTLES
Use a spray bottle to mist indoor plants, you can also use a spray bottle containing pesticide to tackle pests and diseases. Make sure you label the bottle correctly.