I'm planning planting for our balcony, and in my last post on this wrote up the surveying. The next step is to do the analysis: some possible approaches are to consider zones, sectors, and input/output.
For this project zones aren't particularly useful. In theory it's all zone 1 (close by house, for high-maintenance plants), but in fact due to the low foot traffic (see below) I may treat it as edging towards zone 2 (lower maintenance perennials).
- Sun: direct sunlight only during summer evenings, otherwise shady but bright. Need shade-tolerant plants.
- Wind: comes off the river. Some protection, but plants need to be quite robust.
- People: space not very well-used. Focus planting on area visible from indoors, being careful not to block view of river through door! Minimal maintenance as not heavily used.
- Water: edges get some rain, but assume water needs to be carried up. Plants should be drought-tolerant if possible but not drought-requiring.
Input/output: required inputs are soil/compost, containers, water, fertiliser, plants or seeds. Outputs are vegetable matter for compost, perhaps some food, beauty (!), perhaps seeds or potential cuttings. The compost heap in the back garden can help link some outputs to some inputs, and I can also use seeds and cuttings from there and from my parents' garden. It may be worth considering a water butt.
Anything else I'm missing?
Next post in this series: plants, locations, and solutions that might work.