Beginner Balcony Gardening

My mom says I have a black thumb. Not a green thumb, but a black one. Any and every plant-like thing I touch, pretty much dies. Imagine her surprise when I told her I was creating a balcony garden.

mason jars

I’m like 99% sure that my mom doesn’t mean anything by it when she talks about how terrible I am at taking care of stuff and keeping things alive. Thankfully, J is the exception to the rule and has done pretty well over the years, but almost everything else has gone to shit. So, honestly she has a point. It is very, very hard for me to keep things like herbs, flowers, and animals (RIP Charlie the Guinea Pig) alive. It’s never intentional, but their care just kinda falls through the cracks. Well, in the case of Charlie, I solemnly believe that he had an undiagnosed medical condition that hastened his death, but that’s neither here nor there. He’s in a better place.

Back to the balcony garden.

Beginner Balcony garden

New place. New adventures.

We officially moved into our new place in the middle of July. It was hot. It was messy. And I thought for sure it would never end. It did end, though, and at that end sat my big, beautiful balcony. Now, I don’t think it’s as long as our old balcony, but it’s definitely much wider. And to think, I hemmed and hawed about it being too small before actually moving in. Ugh, I’m so negative.

Since we’re all moved in and all the boxes are unpacked and everything is where it’s supposed to go, I’m ready to start really making this house my home. All the rooms are being worked on, but the balcony is my special baby. Fall is coming up and I’m determined to take it all in from the comfort of my balcony oasis. Before Fall, though, we still have summer and since we still have summer, I’m trying my hand at keeping some herbs and peppers alive. According to the man at the farmer’s market, it’s really simple. Water them, pick them when they’re ready to picked, and don’t let the mint take over. Got it.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

empty mason jar close Mason jars with marbles 1 mason jars with potting soil Mason jars with potting soil close up

I started by getting a few mason jars from Dollar Tree and something to hold the jars in from Goodwill. Initially, I kept the herbs in the original container, but the wind kept blowing them downstairs and on to the neighbors porch. My bad. It was a fine way to introduce ourselves to the neighbors though. After rescuing the herbs and peppers, I added marbles to the mason jars so the water would have somewhere in which to drain. Apparently, you can over water plants. Much in the same way you can over feed a guinea pig, but I digress. Once a good layer of marbles coated the bottom, I added some potting soil. Lastly, I broke up the container the herbs and peppers came in, along with the soil it was potted in, and squished it down into the jars. It was a bit messy and again I apologize to my downstairs neighbors for potting soil remnants, but it worked out well!

cherry bomb tomato close up

I’m honestly not sure what happens next, but I’ll do some research and figure it out. In the meantime, I’ll just keep watering them and giving them sun. They are already looking better today than they were yesterday! Next on the balcony checklist? Flowers and some comfortable chairs! I’m way too old to be sitting on the ground and crawling all around. LOL

Have you ever planted a balcony or container garden? Any tips on keeping things alive?


  1. August 15, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    I’ve considered gardening but the truth of the matter is… my daughter has plants that she relies on me to water when she’s not home and I always forget about them. She’s had two plants that have died in my care for no other reason than me being absentminded. Maybe in the future when I don’t have much going on I could start a garden. My daughter is better with that stuff, honestly, she actually grew radishes in one of her gardening classes and brought them home to eat.

    • Vaneese
      August 17, 2016 / 2:57 pm

      It happens. While I have high expectations for this little garden, I’m almost certain that everything will be dead within a few months. It’s just the truth. LOL. It sounds like your daughter has a knack for gardening! It’s really cool to be able to eat what you grow.

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