Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Balcony Gardening - The Essentials

~ July 6, 2011

If you love gardening but do not have the space, balcony gardening is a great option. It is simple, relatively low maintenance and does not require a lot of material to get started.

When selecting plants make sure that they are suitable for the amount of sun you receive. If you have a sunny location plants like: Impatiens, Nasturtium, Nicotiana, Pansies or vegetables and herbs are great choices. However, if you have a north or east exposure, with primarily shade, plants like: Wax Begonia, Sweet Alyssum, Coleus, Impatiens and Petunias will work well.

Once you have selected the plants, use clay pots that are deeper than they are wide for any vegetables and window or railing boxes made from wood or plastic for the herbs and flowers. These materials are light and inexpensive which make them ideal for balcony gardening.

When planting, place a Mark’s Choice Water Wick under the plants to conserve moisture and reduce watering. Use good quality potting soil like, Mark’s Choice Premium Container Soil (Home Hardware # 5053-500) for optimal results. Water frequently, especially in hot dry weather, as the containers will dry out quickly.

If you are planting vegetables, add roughly 30% well rotted compost or manure to the potting mix as they are heavy feeders.

You can also maximize your vertical growing space by using hanging baskets for flowers or strawberries or even an upside down tomato planter.

Give it a try! Even if you already have a garden, balcony gardening is fun, simple, convenient and a great way to get the family involved.

P.S.: The Mark’s Choice Hang N Grow Tomato planter is a great choice and comes with a water reservoir which reduces the need to water.