Many people without much space want to grow plants, fruits and vegetables. With limited space in apartments, condos and small houses, those who want to grow more than a few plants must be creative to provide the right light, warmth and water conditions for growing. A small sunny space on a balcony can nurture plant growth with some protection and attention. With a few easy-to-find materials and tools and a little time, anyone can build a balcony greenhouse.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 2-foot-wide stainless steel shelf unit
- One 6-foot roll of 1/16-inch plastic sheeting
- Six large bulldog clips or small vice grips
- Box cutter or heavy-duty scissors
- Four sticky-backed Velcro-like fabric fasteners
- Spray bottle
Assemble the shelf unit and place it in a secure place on the balcony that receives full sunlight.
Starting at one bottom edge of the shelf unit, unroll the plastic up the side, over the top and down the other side to the floor.
Fold the plastic sheeting on the left and right sides similar to wrapping a present with wrapping paper, cutting off any excess.
Once the sides are trimmed and folded into place, clip them closed.
Make a horizontal slit at the top front of the plastic sheeting and a long vertical slit down the front middle of the plastic sheeting to make a "door" to move plants in and out of the shelf unit.
Affix two or three fabric fasteners to the front flaps of the "door" made by cutting the plastic.
Place plants or small flats of planted seeds on the shelves, mist lightly with a spray of water and close the flaps.
Tips and warnings
- Place a small cup of baking soda inside the greenhouse to absorb excess moisture and keep the area fresh.
- Keep the balcony greenhouse as clean as possible and monitor the moisture inside to avoid problems with mildew and leaf rot.
- Hang a small thermometer inside the mini greenhouse. If temperatures get too high for plants, drape a thin white or light-coloured cotton cloth over the top for shade.
- In early spring, when temperatures are still chilly, place large stones in the greenhouse to absorb heat from the sun to release at night. Alternatively, if there's an electrical socket nearby, plug in a grow mat underneath flats or plant containers to provide steady bottom heat until the outside temperatures warm up.
- Beware of high winds. You may want to tie the legs of the shelf unit to balcony railings.
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