When I first started my container garden, I didn’t do a whole lot of research into what sort of soils I needed for my pots. I always just figured that using regular old garden soil would work just fine. Boy was I wrong! It was taking forever for my veggies to grow, and being a naturally impatient person, I was growing concerned that my green thumb was turning into a deep purple, yikes! What I needed to understand, was that my garden is living organism, it needs to be nourished, and nurtured. And at the root of every shoot in my garden is soil. And as it so happened, it was the wrong soil.

Container soil 101? Don’t use the same soil used in outdoor gardening soil for your container soil. Outdoor soils are substantially clay-based, and clay is highly dense. The reason this is detrimental to container plants is because clay soil leaves little room for oxygen, and can inhibit root growth in a small space. Consider using a commercial potting soil or perhaps what we like to call a soil-less potting soil. A nourishing potting mixture should consist of organics and minerals. The organic elements can be things like sawdust, wood shavings, and peat moss. Then, you’ll need minerals which can include things like granite sand, or pumice. You need to combine two or more of the aforementioned organics and minerals to create a nourishing and conditioning potting soil.

If there is one thing to love about container gardening, it’s the ability to experiment with everything you grow from soil, to fertilizer to plants. You get to be a mad scientist of sorts. I came up with my own concoction and  my tomatoes, strawberries and lettuce are thriving! There’s no measurements, I sort of just used a handful of each part. So get ready to get your hands dirty! Grab yourself a handful of fir bark, some ground pine needles (I actually did this with my mortar and pestle, but you can probably buy this pre-ground), a handful of peat moss, 1/4 ounce of triple superphosphate. Mix it all up, so everything is spread evenly throughout and voila, you have your first potting soil. Happy planting!

Blueberries are undoubtedly one of the most significant fruits in the human diet. If you are learning how to become a nutritionist, you are well aware that understanding the importance of anti-oxidants can never be overstated. Every wonder why blueberries are so good for you? Blueberries contain anthocyanin, which not only produces the rich and vibrant indigo colouring of the blueberry, it is a substance with anti-inflammatory properties that serve to soften arteries. Blueberries are also rich in vitamin K, which is one of the main reasons why I drink a blueberry shake almost every morning. Vitamin K is key for aiding in the absorption on iron, and for someone like me who is often anemic, that is very important. They’re also very high in fibre which helps to control cholesterol and aid in digestion. So, now what we’ve convinced you that blueberries are your bodies new best friend, let’s learn how to grow our own little anti-oxidant patch!

Growing blueberries in a pot is much easier than you would think, provided you have patience. Blueberry plants adore acidic soil, blueberries require light, free-draining acidic soils, with an abundance of rich organics to help them succeed. The plant will do best if the soil has a pH of between 4 and 5.5, similar to that of rhododendrons. The pH should be monitored every year or so, to monitor the acidity.

It’s always a good idea to plant at least two varieties to ensure cross-pollunation occurs. And make sure to plant them in the largest pot possible. They can yield fruit for years, but to do so, they will need  ample space. Make sure the pot is 2/3 full of regular potting mix, with the top third being an acid rich potting mix.

Blueberries need a LOT of sun. It’s very easy to overestimate the amount of sun your plants get. If you don’t work from home, you may not be aware of the weather changes from the inside of your cubicle! Blueberries need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. So it’s important for you to calculate how much sun your balcony is getting on a daily basis.

Don’t be shy with water. Blueberries need a great deal of water. In a drier climate, they may not be the most environmentally friendly plant, so get your buckets out and catch yourself some rain water! Make sure the soil is always moist, but not soggy. Along with water, fertilization is important, but not too much. Twice a year is fine, and I like to do mine in the late winter months or early spring.If your blueberries live on the balcony, you might have to protect them from feathered thieves. Drape them very gently with a light sheet, or netting (mosquito netting works great). And most importantly, keep them warm. If you live in a climate with bitter winters, wrap the pots in burlap, and nestle them against outside walls of your building and keep them out of the wind.

If you’re a college student, both your time and resources are probably fairly limited. If you don’t live on campus, you probably live in a fairly small space because that’s all you could afford. Perhaps you share a house with several room mates, or maybe you live in an apartment building. It matters not how much space you have, as long as you have a little outdoor space, you can have your own little urban Eden. Container gardening, with a little time, and some patience, is a rewarding and delightful way to grow your own food. I am the organizational queen, and there is nothing I love more than creating unique and awe inspiring spaces, so when I started  doing research for my own balcony garden, I was really keen on creating a unique and beautiful space for all those who spent anytime on my sky high balcony. So, I embarked on a serious hunt and pursued all the best resources as if I were searching for a top online college. I had so many questions. What do I plant? When do I plant, and more aesthetically, what do I plant my seeds in?  Lucky for me, there is an entire community solely dedicated to designing apartment gardens, and thankfully, I was able to educate myself on what containers work best for my space. Here are a few things to consider when designing your own balcony garden.

Clay & Terra Cotta – I adore the look of terra cotta, and there are plenty of benefits to using it in your garden. It’s relatively inexpensive, and comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Unglazed pots are quite porous, which is both beneficial and detrimental; A porous container allows for more air circulation and because this requires a more vigorous watering routine, in the summer months, this feature ensures that your roots maintain a cool temperature. The down side, because of it’s fragility, in the winter months, it’s likely to crack with the expansion of water within the soil.

Plastic Pots – There are two major drawbacks to using plastic. The first, is it can be difficult to find interesting looking pots, and when you do find unique designs, they can be on the pricey side. The second issue, is that if the pots are coloured, they tend to fade rather quickly after constant sun exposure. Other than that, plastic is practical, wonderfully durable, and long-lasting.

Wood – Everyone loves the look of beautiful wooden planter. It’s earthy, intricate, and esthetically pleasing. However, wood can present a few issues that clay and plastic don’t face. Wooden planters are really heavy which can be a problem if you have a weight restriction on your balcony. Another factor, is that wood, if not treated, will rot over some time. Redwood or cedar are naturally decay resistant if you are really set on having wooden planters become a part of your urban Eden.