Balcony Gardening & Cleanup Tips – 22 January 2020

Clean Your Balconies

Apartments with balconies provide a welcome retreat for fresh air and braai’s. Unfortunately, they also collect dust, grease, and bird droppings from our feathered friends who build nests in nooks.


Wash your balcony

Using a hose or power washer to clean is a great temptation because it is convenient, but neighbours may not appreciate water cascading over the side of your balcony or terrace.  Always use the top down approach when cleaning. Begin cleaning high places first as debris and dust will fall to the floor. Check your local market for cleaning tools that offer extension rods for cleaning out of reach places. Be courteous to neighbours and use a dust pan. Don’t sweep debris over the side.

A gentle mixture of one part bleach to one part water applied with a brush or mop will sterilize the ceiling corners, floor and railing. Use a mop and a bucket with wringer to keep water from spreading to unwanted areas. If you are concerned about water dripping over your balcony, roll up towels and place them around the perimeter of the space.

Keep It Low-Maintenance

First thing’s first: When creating a balcony garden, be sure you don’t create a major project that causes you to put in so much work that it cuts too deeply into your sitting back, relaxing and enjoying time.

Incorporate plants for more privacy

If you love sitting outside on your balcony but can’t stand the lack of privacy, you can incorporate plants to hide your wall or railing that will not only make a more aesthetically pleasing place for you to sit back and relax, but will also keep the neighbours from looking in.

For smaller balconies, it’s recommended to use shallow and wide pots as they can hold more plants and are easily moved around for different configurations.

Maintaining plants
In general, when it comes to watering, using your fingers to check if the soil is still moist from the last time it was watered. Occasionally, turn the leaves over to see if the plant has been attacked by pests or eaten by caterpillars.  Remove dead plants.

Try Compost Tea

Compost tea is great for anyone living in an apartment who wants to compost, but has nowhere to put their waste products. Rather than watering your plants, make the compost tea to quench your greenery’s thirst. This makes your gardening low maintenance and your lifestyle recyclable!

Selecting plants
Choose foliage plants instead of flowering ones, which are the most difficult to maintain because they need to be trimmed.

Popular choices are the Sansevieria trifasciata, or mother-in-law’s tongue, which grows upright and saves space. Varieties grow from compact rosettes and reach mature heights of only about 10cm and thrive with minimal care and live for many years.

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