Summer Squash – A versatile, easy-to-grow crop for containers

by Steven Biggs, writer and garden blogger

The meals on the cross-country Via Rail train featured plates inspired by well-known Canadian ingredients such as bison, salmon, and maple syrup. So I was a bit surprised when I saw a cluster of top-like vegetable on my plate, some bright yellow, some forest green, and some a translucent white. I didn’t realize that, despite the exotic appearance, I was staring at cousins of the common zucchini, fellow summer squashes.

Read more: Summer Squash – A versatile, easy-to-grow crop for containers

Edibles for the Lazy Balcony Gardener

by Krys Klassen is an enthusiastic amateur balcony gardener with twenty years on a southwest facing seventh floor balcony.

The lazy balcony gardener (me) really likes to grow greens and herbs. Being able to step outside and harvest parts of a meal, critical ingredients or last minute embellishments, is a great convenience. With a little thoughtful planning, those elements can also provide decorative touches.

Read more: Edibles for the Lazy Balcony Gardener

Me and My Balcony

by Liz E., 4th floor west-facing balcony

Two years ago when I thought, "What am I going to do with my balcony?", I did not know that Toronto Balconies Bloom existed. I had just bought a condo on the 4th floor of a high-rise and a 12' by 4 1/2' west-facing balcony came with it. My gardening expertise was (and pretty much still is, I admit) next to nil. Where do you start? I guess it very much depends on your personality and resources. The first summer I fell back on what I knew. I bought some annuals, pots and earth and that was it. Cost? About $200. Success? The pansies lasted a month. The geranium was the sturdiest and weathered sun and wind very well. Overall though, I wasn't satisfied with the results or the prospect of spending $200 every year.

Read more: Me and My Balcony

Low-Stress, Hard-Working Annuals for Balcony Gardens

by Louise Warner, a Toronto-based landscape gardener

When deciding what annuals to grow on your balcony garden, assess what type of exposure your plants will get. Wind, sun, water and reflected heat are all factors. Unobstructed south- and west-facing exposures are going to demand tough, drought-tolerant plants and daily watering in the high heat of summer. Balconies with sheltered, north, or east-facing exposures generally need less watering, and plants suitable for shaded conditions. Fortunately, there are lots of colourful, no-fail options for low-stress balcony gardening in either extreme.

Read more: Low-Stress, Hard-Working Annuals for Balcony Gardens

The Summer of ‘04

by Krys Klassen is an enthusiastic amateur balcony gardener with twenty years on a southwest facing seventh floor balcony.

I was inspired to pass further comment on a friend’s reflection of ‘the summer that never was’, at least at his cottage on Lake Huron with drought hardy annuals. Things were a little different on a seventh floor balcony looking west over Forest Hill.

Read more: The Summer of ‘04