To start a Terrace Garden as beginner is not difficult as it seems. Just visualize what is the objective of growing plants on your own?
Most of the people start their terrace and balcony garden to get organic and no pesticide vegetables and fruits straight from their home. Some people start to garden as a hobby to grow decorative plants and flowers, having a colorful flowers outside your home beautify the whole surrounding and also uplifts your mood.
If you are uncertain what type of garden you want to grow in the start, you can follow some tips to begin with
Vegetable garden: generally we all tend to grow vegetables in our home includes tomatoes, peppers, melons, lettuce and cabbages, potatoes, squash, carrots, and many more vegetables. If vegetables grow in your region, they can grow easily in your home garden in containers as well.
- Herb Garden : often complement both flower and vegetable gardens, since they tend to bloom beautifully while serving the functional purpose of adding flavor to your food. Herb gardens might include rosemary, thyme, dill, cilantro and a variety of other herbs you may want to use to make dried spices and teas.
- In general, vegetable gardens require fertile soil and regular maintenance.
you can easily grow veggies, fruits and colorful flowers on your terrace and balcony.
What Are the benefits of Starting terrace garden:
- Terrace gardening helps to relax mind and body, make a tranquil surrounding where you can enjoy your morning tea with beautiful flowers, butterflies and birds sounds . A fresh air that you hardly get anymore especially when you live in urban areas
- Gardening is a very good exercise to keep our health in check. We can do breathing exercise, meditation and yoga in clean, calm surroundings.
- we get a pesticide free vegetable supply from our garden whereas store bought and commercially frown vegetables are full of chemicals.
- Gardening is a great stress buster hobby for everyone , it connects us to the nature. when you spend an hour in gardening daily, you tend to forget about stress and work pressure. Thus gardening like all other hobbies, helps you to become more productive towards life.
Before starting a terrace garden you should know some basic knowledge of gardening like
1) how to select pot size and pot variety
2) how to make potting soil mix for your terrace garden,
3) which tools are generally required for beginner gardener
4) which type of fruits and vegetables you can grow in pots,
5)which fertilizers are good for growing plants on the terrace.
You can grow everything from organic vegetables and fruits to ornamental flowering plants. So lets see what do we need to begin a terrace garden.
1) Pots or containers :
Growing plants on terrace or balcony, we can use different types of planters like clay pots, cement or ceramic pots and plastic pots. They come in different shapes like round pots, rectangular shapes.
For flowering plants rectangular pots are good choice. One thing not to be missed when you grow plants in pots.
Always use trays under the pots so there is no chance of extra water remain in pot because this extra water should drain out of the pots from holes.
For growing tomatoes, spinach, kale, peppers and brinjal,14 inch containers are good enough.
If you are willing to grow vines of bottle gourd, squash, bitter gourd or root vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes then go for bigger pots for their optimum growth
Invariably Select planter according to the plant size or 1.5 times bigger than the plant because smaller pots drains out water faster.
Clay or earthen pots are good choice for growing plants because micropores present in the clay help to provide air circulation to the roots.
Plastic contairners also be used if we put plants under the shade. Cement containers are also good for growing plants but they can increase the weight of the terrace additionally alkaline contents leach out in soil that will not be helpful with your acid loving plants
One can use any old basket, paint bucket or growing bags to begin a terrace garden.
2) soil :
How to prepare soil mix: However plants can grow in any garden soil yet a well drained soil mix is ideal for optimum growth of the plants.
For preparing soil mix add 50 % of garden soil, 30% of vermi compost and 20% of cocopeat or sand or 60% of soil and 40% of vermi compost. Add 100grams of neem cake powder to help in fight with fungus growth on the plants.
Most nutrients are best absorbed by the plants in soils with a pH of between 6-7. If soil is acidic (below 6.0) or alkaline ( above 7.0) then it doesn’t matter how nutrient rich it is, the plants will not be able to absorb them completely.
You can check soil pH by performing a soil test or you can buy pH Meter available at any garden shop.
3) Water :
Too much water can do more harm to the potted plants than good , better check the soil for moisture. As Bonnie Plant suggests, take your finger one inch deep into the soil. If the soil feels slightly wet, don’t water it however if feels dry to hold, then this is the right time to water your potted plants.
Best time to water the plants is early morning or evening.
In summer terrace plants require water once or twice daily. In winters, water requirement according to need if upper layer of soil is dry then water plants.
4) Mulch :
A 2 to 3 inches thick layer of mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, prevents weed formation, improve garden soil, cover the plant roots, so you don’t need to water the plants frequently.
Mulching makes your garden look more aesthetic. Organic mulch includes grass clippings, wood chips, dry leaves, hay or straws and compost also. Organic mulch slowly break down and provides nutrients to the soil. Best time to add mulch to your garden is spring.
5) Gardening Tools :
You’ll be requiring some basic tools to start your terrace garden. If you have just a few potted plants, a few hand tools will do the job.
But if you have grown a full garden with rows of plant A trowel is must buy which is a handheld shovel but smaller in size, is used for m digging the soil, removing weeds, mixing fertilize.
Another one is spade, Unlike a pointed, bowl-shaped shovel, best used for digging, a spade is good for breaking or loosening in soil.so what are the basic tools for terrace gardening Trowel or spade ( hand held shovel for small plants soil),
Water spray bottle (for spray water and pesticides) , a hose, gardening gloves, branch cutter, pruning scissors, jute ropes (to support vines of different plants), wooden stakes to support plants like tomatoes, digging fork ( handy tool to loosen upper layer of soil in the pot).
6) Fertilizers :
There are two types of fertilizers one is chemical and other is organic fertilizer. Chemical fertilizers work fast and help growing plants but they are not beneficial to the soil, organic fertilizer are made of natural and earth friendly matter, they work slowly but in long term organic fertilizer nourish garden soil.
To start a Terrace garden you can use organic fertilizers made of kitchen wastes (vegetable and fruit waste), cow dung manure, neem cake, kitchen scraps, banana peels, coffee grounds and used tea leaves. Plants need fertilizers once a month in the beginning.
Pests are common in every garden and so they are unavoidable at terrace garden too . The best method to keep pests away is using organic pesticides which can be prepared at home also.
A mix of baking soda, cooking oil with water can be used in sprinkle cans on plants to avoid fungus, or use vinegar, dish soap with water to get rid of pests.
Neem oil spray and neem leaves are also natural pesticides. Herbs like citronella, fennel, basil and mint also stop to pest coming to your garden.
Some Frequently asked questions before starting terrace garden
1) what is the best time to start planting?
Depends on type of plant, specific region you live and weather conditions moreover it is best to start planting in beginning of spring to the start of summers.
2) what type of seed shall we use for container gardening ?
For getting good plant growth in containers choose high quality hybrid seeds.
3) what type of containers are good for terrace gardening?
If your house base structure is strong enough then you can grow plants in any type of containers like clay, cement however light weight UV treated growing bags are ideal for growing plants in pots on the terrace.
4) do I need any waterproofing before starting a terrace garden?
You can use thick size tarpaulin sheet to avoid any leakage of water and moisture into the walls of your house otherwise keep your potted plants in trays or saucers.
5) how much sun light is needed for terrace plants ?
select a place of terrace where you can get at least 4 hours of sunlight .some plants like roses, tomatoes need even more.
6) which plants can we grow on the terrace?
Vegetable plants like tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies, eggplant, bottle gourd , bitter gourd, okra, pumpkin, coriander, mint lettuce , beans, fruits like pomegranate, lemons, figs, papaya, watermelon, banana and oranges
Flowering plants like orchids, rose, hibiscus, marigold, begonia, petunia, germanium, zinnia.
7) how much time do I need to spend every day for terrace gardening?
it is better to give at least half an hour to care your terrace garden daily.
Everyone dreams of having their own garden, it is always fascinating to grow vegetables and fruits on your own . with a little effort and some basic information you can start your terrace garden today itself.