Garden of Sam

To clarify, I currently do not have a garden. For 6 years I lived in a townhouse style condo with a relatively small balcony and for the past 10 months I’ve been living at my parent’s house. It’s just temporary, I swear.

For the past few months I’ve been unemployed and as much as I’ve been looking for work, I’ve also taken advantage of having the opportunity to be able to have a yard and garden to do a bit of work in. It has been nice to be able to have a space to work the earth, however when I was living at my condo I did manage to cultivate a small swath of green space on the small balcony space that I did have.

Pre-greened Balcony

Pre-greened Balcony

As you can see by my funky panoramic picture, I didn’t have much space to work with. The space measured a paltry 8’x4′ and some of the space was taken up by an air conditioning. The flooring was some sort of plastic covered concrete that would constantly be dirty and wet. If you notice, there is snow in the parking lot behind out unit. I started this project in late March so it was still quite cold out. As I ventured on the cleaning process I also started seedlings from seeds I acquired from Seedsnow.com. After doing some research I found them to provide the best price and value for organic and heirloom seeds which was important to me.

Getting Started

Seedlings

After several attempts at cleaning the flooring, I realized that I may have to look at an alternative to the existing cement-like floors that were on the balcony. As you can see below the floor would stain and would constantly pool with water and debris. Initially I was looking at putting down carpeting or some sort of wood covering.

Swabbed the deck

Swabbed the deck

After doing some research I stumbled upon some composite decking tiles that were quite remarkable and were able to be installed without the need for any tools. That is aside from a table saw that was used to cut them to the right size around the AC unit.

Deck it! Deck it good!

Deck it! Deck it good!

They are a 100% polymer material that looked just like cedar planks. They are durable and mold and mildew resistant. The plastic webbing underneath allowed them to snap together easily and were available at the Home Depot. Altogether I spent just under $90 for the tiles and had exactly the amount I needed. In the box on the right, you’ll also notice some tools that I used for the garden including an x-hose that was small enough for storage and attached to the sink for easy use once the garden was up and running.

Almost fully installed

Almost fully installed

Measuring and fitting

Measuring and fitting

Once the tiles were measured and fitted, the warmer weather had started rearing it’s head. Fortunately, we were able to get everything installed in time to start transitioning the seedlings from indoor to outdoor in order to get them hearty enough to survive. The balcony was south facing and I ended up planting mostly veggies and plants that would thrive in those conditions.

As this project is over a year old, I don’t have any current pictures of the balcony but I’ve included some photo’s that show the progress over the rest of the summer. All in all I was quite happy with the results of the project and I was able to accomplish it all for under $200.

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Teak Patio Furniture

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Coconut husk planters

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Foldable chairs hung nicely for storage

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And old Tupperware bin made a nice vegetable patch. Onions, Tomatoes of the beefsteak and cherry variety

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The tops of one of the Tomato plants broke off, fortunately it took root and was able to be re-potted elsewhere

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Re-purposed an old garbage pail into a carrot patch.

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Cucumbers scaled the railing with a little help

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The other side of the garden, there was Basil, Cilantro, Sunflowers Lemon Balm, Jalapenos and even an evergreen to boot

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Watching the World Cup on my tablet while enjoying my mini-oasis

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