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Old 05-28-2010, 07:37 PM
Location: Camberville
12,502 posts, read 17,404,462 times
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Hi everyone. I have just moved to Atlanta to live with my boyfriend while job hunting post-college graduation. In my unemployment, I'm trying to pick up some new hobbies as a way to kill time, network, and add as topics for sparkling conversation. He has a lovely balcony space that is covered and large enough for about 4 people to stand comfortably. I would like to use the space to have a little urban garden, but most of my gardening experience has been in my family's backyard garden which obviously is a bit different than growing in planters.

The space is west facing and gets a lot of sun. Ideally, I would like the garden to have "useful" plants- herbs, vegetables, small fruits, flowers I could possibly cut for a vase. I'd be fine with plants that just look and smell pretty but ideally would be able to use the space to cut food costs even a smidge (especially since fresh herbs can get pricey).

Any ideas or suggestions? We currently have one flower box and I was thinking about getting a topsy turvy planter (do those things work?) and putting other things in terra cotta pots around the porch.

Also, what might be some good herbs to grow indoors? I can put some small pots on the west facing windowsill and have plenty of counter space for other small plants.

I'd appreciate any guidance!
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:09 PM
Location: Albemarle, NC
7,730 posts, read 12,919,092 times
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A word of advice...terra cotta pots in Atlanta are a bad idea. You'll be watering every day, sometimes twice a day. Just get plastic. It'll make things easier on you in the long run. Or get glazed pots that won't dry out so quickly.

Some small tomatoes would work, cherry varieties if you want to try the Topsy Turvy. Rosemary is an evergreen for us in the South. Cilantro would work inside, but will bolt if you plant it outdoors. You'll have coriander before you know it. Basil loves heat and would be a great addition to any tomato planter. Toss in some dill, thyme, and oregano for the flower box. The dill will grow huge, so plan to stake it. If you have enough room, you might even try growing cucumbers and letting them trellis on the balcony railing.
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:22 AM
Location: In the AC
972 posts, read 2,188,482 times
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There are plastic pots that have water reserves. That will help things a lot. Ikea has the Fego pot that also has casters. I also found some at Walmart called mainstay self watering planter. With a bit of trimming off the top, I was able to put these into my hanging baskets.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:50 AM
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 11,269,647 times
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A suggestion - make one of the plants a patio tree of some sort for height interest. (I'm not sure what to suggest specifically for Atlanta since your winters are colder than mine - perhaps a dwarf fruit tree of some sort.) A tiered plant stand can add height interest to plants that would otherwise be down by your feet.

It helps to have a cohesive look if your pots match - all mine are terracotta and they blend together really well even though some are a fancier design than others and the color of the clay varies a bit. As they age they aquire a nice patina. If a plant needs plastic to stay hydrated, you can just slip the plastic pot down inside a terracotta pot and no one will be the wiser. Even brand new terracotta pots are relatively cheap, but you can usually find ones in good condition for next to nothing at yard sales. Terracotta is also heavier which aids stability if you have wind on your balcony. My current one gets an amazing amount of wind when storms blow in off the bay, but previous balconies had very little air movement.

Some plants that are really thirsty do best with an automatic watering pot with a reservoir and wick system. I haven't had any luck growing anything "useful" on my balcony - herbs and veggies seem to attract annoying squirrels, and the roof overhead means that even with a southern exposure the plants are in bright shade for most of the day and don't really get much direct sun. So all my plants are purely ornamental.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:04 AM
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As you mentioned herbs I want to caution you to be careful planting mints. Keep them in seperate pots away from other plants. They can be invasive.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:51 PM
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If the balcony is windy, then terracotta is the way to go. I have the below in small pots and have been very happy with them over the years. Think about what herbs you usually use and take it from there. I use rosemary, thyme, basil, mint and parsley. They all have their own medium sized pots. The only herb I buy is cilantro as they do not regrow after you cut them. make sure mint has its own pot, in case you are planning on mint. For small spaces, I noticed that annuals work best compared to perennials.

Good luck.
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