For those of us who live in flats or apartments outdoor growing usually isn’t an option. This is especially frustrating in perfect growing climates. If we can’t grow outside we need to set up indoor grow rooms. This can be complicated, expensive, difficult and often just impossible. Living in a flat means you usually don’t have much spare storage space to clean out and grow inside. All is not lost, because some flats, especially in warmer countries, have terraces or balconies. For anyone who is lucky enough to enjoy a balcony, there are loads of ways to grow smaller crops naturally.
Why Grow on a Balcony
Even if we do have space to grow indoors growing on a balcony can still be preferable. One of the best aspects of balcony growing is the cost. Indoor growing can be expensive once we start buying equipment and paying for the electricity they use. In fact, plants have access to everything they need for free. All of the best water, nutrients, light they could ask for. It’s also a great way for those who are new to growing to try it out on a small scale. Once they figure out balcony growing they might be ready for garden growing a larger crop. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just popping a plant on the balcony. There are a few simple steps we need to follow to make sure the plants get everything they need to thrive.
Select a Strain
There are certain strains that are perfect for balcony growing, and others that are decidedly not. For example, Sativa plants tend to get pretty big, whereas Indica plants tend to be smaller. It’s also true that autoflowering strains will usually be more compact. Some strains need lots of light and may not be suited to every balcony, whereas others do better in the dark and won’t react as badly to a lack of sunlight. Once again autoflowering strains and Indica strains need less light and are generally better for balcony growing.
Select a Pot
Of course, balcony plants can’t go straight in the ground, unless it’s a really weird balcony. This means we will need to plant our babies in a pot. A standard pot with a drainage saucer will usually do the trick, they are cheap and can be purchased at any gardening shop. Usually, we would want to go big to get a big plant, the more space the more the plant will grow. On a balcony, we might need to be a little more subtle and will probably want to restrict growth a little. Using a smaller pot is better for keeping the plant smaller and ensures we don’t use up all of the balcony space on one plant.
Select a Spot
Even if we are going for autoflowering plants, which don’t necessarily need as much sunlight, we should still try and pick a place where the sun can get to it. In a perfect world, the plants would get 5 – 6 hours of sunlight a day then complete darkness at night. We want the sun to get to the plant, but we don’t want it to be ravaged by wind and rain. Plant pots are portable so really we can figure out where the best places are for sun, dark, and safety from the elements and just move the plant around to keep it happy. Just watch the plant and make sure it’s getting everything it needs. Yellowing or curling leaves are a good sign that she isn’t getting enough sun.
Start at the Right Time
When we are growing outdoors it is important that we get started at the right time of the year. We want our babies to start growing in the spring, just like outdoor growers would. If we get the plants started in the spring, or a little earlier, the plantling will have the warmer months to grow and prepare for the cooler months. If the babies get plenty of sun, they will start producing lovely big buds towards autumn.
Use the Best Soil
Soil is important for a plant, which may not come as a surprise. If we make sure our balcony babies get the very best soil, they are more likely to grow into a healthy plant. You can find a full guide to choosing the best soil in a previous article. Basically, we want soil that is rich, drains well and has plenty of nutrients. We also want to make sure it has a loose texture so that the roots can get plenty of oxygen.
Give the Plant Friends
Plants that grow alone tend to be unhappy. We can easily create a little garden around our plant to keep it happy and healthy. The companions don’t need to be cannabis, they can be herbs and other plants. Not only will this create a micro-environment that will be healthier for the cannabis plant, but it also acts as a sort of cloaking device. Certainly in the sense that it will be harder to see, but also surrounding the cannabis plant with other plants will throw off bugs and pests.
Keep Plants Small
As I said earlier we probably don’t want our plants to be super visible from the balcony. There are a lot of strains that are naturally smaller, but there are also ways to train plants to stay tiny. Towards the end of the vegetative stage, we can start pruning the plants to tease them out sideways rather than letting them grow up the way. If we regularly trim the plants it should be easy enough to stop them from sprouting up too high. For those who don’t fancy snipping, we can also gently bend the plants with a low-stress training technique.
Like any growing method, things may be a bit tricky to start with. If we do plenty of research and take time to make sure we set everything up properly we can grow beautiful and healthy plants on a balcony. Enjoy!
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