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7 tips for growing the cutest garden ever

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With the farm-to-table popularity growing faster than a weed, personal gardens went from being a relaxing hobby to a must-have for a healthy lifestyle. Not only will growing your own food save you money and a trip to the supermarket, but you’ll have satisfaction of eating chemical and pesticide free vegetables, fruits and herbs. No yard? No problem, condo dwellers, we’ve got you covered. We spoke to outdoor design and lifestyle expert and HGTV host Carson Arthur for his tips on how to make the cutest balcony garden.

1. It’s not too late to plant.
Just because summer is half over, it doesn’t mean you’re too late to the game. Arthur says you can take advantage of the gardening sales now. “August is the great time to do it because a lot of the garden centers have everything on sale, so you actually have some great deals. There’s tons of plant material that you can actually put into a condo balcony into a raised planter that will actually do really well for you between now and the end of the harvesting season.”

2. Decorate your garden.
The easiest way to brighten up any space is with a bit of colour. And just like when you get the urge to move things around your apartment, you easily can do the same with your garden. Ditch the boring brown clay pot and get yourself beautiful patterned or coloured plastic containers. Clay can steal the moisture away from the soil and the plant. Plus, plastic containers last longer, and you can feel good about yourself if you go for recycled plastic. Plastic is much lighter than clay, so you don’t need to ask for help for moving things around.

3. Get Pinspired.
Looking for a DIY project? Build your own planter box for your flowers and vegetables. A quick search on Pinterest offers a ton of inspiration and links to how-to instruction. Arthur encourages gardeners to always use eco friendly material, such as MicroPro Sienna, which is environmentally certified so nothing should leach into the soil.

4. Mason jars and glass terrariums aren’t as good as they look.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to know that glass terrariums are latest DIY trend. They’re sprouting all over Pinterst, Instagram, and Etsy; but before you put any glass jars on your balcony, know that you’ll get more bugs. More than you would with a plant or box planter. Unlike a traditional garden, mason jars and glass terrariums aren’t breathable and trap bugs.

5. Here’s what to plant.
Planting on a balcony? You’ll want to avoid deep-rooted plants. Instead consider any of these vegetables:
- Spinach
- Kale
- Beets
- Radish
- Carrots
- Tomatoes

6. Matches made in heaven.
“Companion planting” is pairing plants together that will work best in the same space. This is a great way to create space in your little garden. “Sometimes one plant is very good at distracting insects from the either plant. Often times you’ll put tomatoes around carrots, because the feathery front of the carrots actually protect the tomato plants from allowing the insects that eat the tomatoes,” says Arthur. Knowing what vegetables work best together comes with a lot of experience and practice; he also suggests doing some research before you pack your vegetables together.

7. Keep calm and garden on.
Many people underestimate how much time it takes to raise a garden. Don’t make the assumption of thinking that just because you’re on a balcony, it’s different if you were on a yard. It takes just as much time and patience. You’ll need to care for it and water it daily. If you go on vacation, have a friend or neighbour stop by.

Another health benefit, is the healthy eats. Try this Glow-exclusive recipe.

Urban Garden Salad

dressing
2 tbsp (30 ml) President’s Choice Splendido Cold Pressed Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp (30 ml) President’s Choice Splendido Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1 Pinch Club House Ground Pepper

salad
4 small beets, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
1 small bunch of radishes, peeled
1 bundle of spinach
1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped coriander

• In a medium size bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
• Dice and chop beets. Using a mandolin, peel radishes and carrots. Add vegetables to a large bowl, and combine. Add dressing and evenly coat the salad. Serve.

The nitty gritty: Makes 4 servings. Nutrients per serving: 149 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 177 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrates (5 g fibre), 4 g protein.

Alyssa Tria


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