Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:For sunlight you could try increasing your exposure by capturing and reusing the light you DO get several times. Get a couple of pieces of something that reflects light: reflective car visors, some shiny sheets of metal, white plastic, Mylar strips, tin foil ... and play around with bouncing light off these surfaces and onto your planting areas (kind of like what photographers do to get a good shot). You'll have to experiment to find the right angle and surface to use. I'll bet you can harvest the sun pretty effectively with a little experimentation.
You might also try wicking beds as opposed to pots. You can DIY one like the below out of recycled materials.
Jennifer Whitaker wrote:
There are lots of books on container gardening and there are plants that don't need much direct sun. If I remember I think beets and beans are some. Maybe Kale... Trying to remember but I would first identify which ones need less light and then seek out how to grow them in containers. As far as keeping the water from dripping down on your neighbors below, I suggest using those clay pots designed for you to pour the water into and it disperses the water slowly. Either that or use those planters that you water the bottom and it never leaves except thru the plant.
Love the website idea!
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek wrote:Maybe you can look into a hydroponic setup. There is no water overflow there. As far as sunlight goes, reflective techniques are great. If your apartment allows you to paint and you have any surrounding walls, you could paint them white to increase the reflected light in the space. For that matter, any large white surface will reflect light well. In addition to container gardening, I've seen a lot of options for vertical gardening on balconies. People reuse old pallets and fill them with soil and grow greens between the slots.
Su Ba wrote:Food growing in containers is definitely do-able. Several years ago my mother lived in a second floor rental for awhile. She really missed her fresh grown veggies. So we made container gardeners for her, plus some non-circulating hydroponics for lettuce. She was able to grow chives & herbs, potatoes, beans, peas, chard, squash, tomatoes, bok choy, beets, radishes, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Maybe other things too but I don't remember. She choose all dwarf type varieties and took steps to keep the plant roots moist and cool. Overheating and drying out are the two main problems she found with container gardening. She only had a small porch but produced quite a bit of fresh foods. She utilized not only the floor space but also the vertical space, plus hung the lettuce hydroponic jugs off the railing.
Katrin Kerns wrote:
I also have to be careful that whatever I do on my balcony doesn't bother the neighbors otherwise the management demands it be taken down. That means if even one of my neighbors complains because they don't like something, out it goes. That even goes for things they just don't like the looks of, so I would have to be very careful with things that might not be very decorative like pallets.
Katrin Kerns wrote: Doesn't mean I might not be able to find something smaller and easier to work with that could do just as well though
Patrick Mann wrote:Instead of trying to squeeze plants onto a balcony, I would try and garden somebody else's yard. In every city there are lots of people with yards, but no interest in gardening. I found a splendid gardening opportunity through http://urbangardenshare.org/. Quite likely there is something similar in your city.
Gordon Beemer wrote:Compost compost compost
Aquponics aquponics aquaponics
Vertical gardens Vertical gardens Vertical gardens
Community garden for entire apartment complex x3
. . .
Move. (Get a rent-to-own house for the same price, or cheaper than, your current apartment!)
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek wrote:
As for pallet gardens, I've seen pictures of some that look nicer than my backyard garden when they are fully grown. Here is just one picture and to look at it, you might not even know it was a pallet.
A.J. Gentry wrote:
That pallet is beautiful.
And full of food!!
Michael Judd wrote:Phew, that is a myriad of challenges which I won't tackle in one go but will share my initial thoughts.. which usually are fungi. Many clients of mine lament about their shady mid-Atlantic yards and not being able to grow any fruit. Thinking of mushrooms as fruit helps. And for space stacking I can think of very little more productive in tight spacing. If you can score some straw, spawn, long clear bags, and a mister set up from Dripworks you're in business. Check out Field & Forest for the bags and spawn ( I recommend oyster stains, esp. PoHu). The misting shouldn't build up a heavy drip that would effect your neighbors downstairs.
On that Dripworks tip they also have a ninja kit for planters that you set the rate and timing for so that no water ever drips down and you needn't worry about missing a watering - pretty cheap too. If you don't have a spigot get the guys at Dripworks on the phone and tell them your set up - they are super nice and helpful guys that will help you figure out a system.