Planters for Apartment and Condo Balcony or Deck Railings
Living in a condo, an apartment, or in a high-rise doesn’t mean you can’t grow stuff on the deck or balcony.
Condo or apartment railings are perfect to hang planters where growing flowers, herbs, or even organic is easy and successful. Gutter Gardens come in two widths which have different depths to allow you to grow almost anything you may want. And all the floor space on your balcony is free since your planters hang from the railings…outside, inside, or both! Growing flowers is the most popular use of Gutter Gardens. The 6″ wide size is ample enough for most all annual flowers…both full sun and shade.
The mounding annuals work beautifully with some of the trailing plants (spillovers) like creeping jenny or sweet potato vines. Geraniums grow beautifully in full sun and impatiens are very happy in shade areas. Mixing colors is a good idea as long as they have similar sun requirements. Depending on how much sun you have will determine what plants to choose to decorate your apartment or condo balcony. A good local nursery will be glad to sell you plants that work well in the spots you have selected for your container gardens.
Each deck or balcony railing is unique for each condo or apartment building. We offer several lengths of stainless steel ties to accommodate nearly all variations. If you rent or lease, you are probably not allowed to put any holes in the railings. We solved that by providing unbreakable stainless steel ties that will not damage the finish on a rail/balcony. While they are “permanent” and will never fall off, you can take them with you when you move by simply emptying the contents and snipping the cable ties.
Outsmart the Rabbits with Raised Bed Gardening
Gutter Gardens™ is one of the best raised bed gardening systems there is! And it helps defeat the damage done by deer and rabbits. Mount these planters on a balcony or deck railing; or as a window box planter and you will outsmart those rabbits and deer and enjoy growing edibles or flowers without the hassles. Gardening is so worthwhile. So many pleasures to smell, feel or taste. And so easy to install!!!
We no longer need tractors or rotor-tillers. We can grow amazing things in containers. Planters have been used for centuries. They keep improving and now, with the introduction of Gutter Gardens™, they just keep getting better and easier. The standard raised bed system consists of some kind of frame that sits on the ground, is filled with soil and then planted. This system is particularly successful in growing vegetables that require a great deal of root depth (like tomatoes and corn). I have been using the standard raised bed for years and will continue to do so. BUT I still have issues with the critters in my yard (mainly squirrels, rabbits, deer, raccoons and just recently I have seen a possum!). If possible, put up fences to try to thwart them.
For growing most annual flowers, lettuces, kale, spinach, and many different kinds of herbs, getting the garden UP, off of the ground works best. The rabbits and slugs cannot reach them. Local dogs can’t lift a leg on them, either!
Outsmart the Critters
Another good trick to discourage these animals from helping themselves to your bounty is to apply cayenne pepper to the leaves and produce in the morning when there is still moisture/dew…Just remember to repeat this every few days and after a rainfall. One chomp of something with cayenne pepper on it will change their minds quickly! Remember not to get the cayenne pepper in or near your own eyes!! STAND UP and GARDEN !!!
Containers Need Drainage
Container gardening will only be successful if your planter has adequate drainage holes. Without oxygen in the root zone, the roots will ‘drown’ and the plants will die.
Gutter Gardens™ have a series of drainage holes every 4-5”. Those holes are covered by lightweight landscape fabric to hold in the potting mix. Occasionally the filter is clogged by fine potting mix. Just stick a needle or toothpick up through the bottom holes if the planter isn’t draining properly.
For most vegetables and many flowers, your Gutter Garden™ will need at least five hours of direct sunlight each day, and many plants will benefit from even more.
The Gutter Garden™ color you select is something to consider.. If your location has all day full sun, you may want to consider using a white Gutter Garden™ to help protect the roots. Darker colors may absorb more heat so they are ideal with partial sun/shade locations. However, the color scheme of your house is also a key factor...so select the color that works best for your situation. I have had full sun on my black Gutter Garden™ window boxes, and they did beautifully. Keep in mind that these are annual flowers…as long as you water them regularly, they will thrive and look gorgeous for their short life span.
Container Planters Need Adequate Sunshine
The amount of sunlight needed by plants varies depending on the varieties grown. Watering: Whenever a plant grows outside of the ground, sufficient watering is always an issue. In a hot, sunny location, container plants lose moisture quickly. Aluminum (material used in Gutter Gardens™) is not porous, so moisture does not evaporate as quickly as many other planters. Never-the-less, some plants will need to be watered daily, especially during hot, dry weather.
We have found that impatiens do great in Gutter Gardens™ that have a lot of shade. Begonias also do well in shade. Annual sun loving plants include sweet potato vine, wave petunias, vinca flowers, creeping jenny and geraniums. Many herbs and lettuces love the son and have ample root space in the Gutter Garden™. Be sure to check out the pictures on this website that show Gutter Gardens™ in various settings. Your local nursery may be able to help you select just the ‘right’ plants for your Gutter Gardens™. Follow planting directions that come with the plant. Actually, I tend to crowd them a little and have had good results. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for specific questions about particular plants or sun requirements.
Gutter Gardens Selected as ‘Favorite’ at Best of Missouri Market-2015
While many people love to garden, it is not always on the top of the list in Autumn. At the MOBOT event, held every year the first weekend in October, Gutter Gardens offers a gardening system for those who live in condos or apartments and can only grow things on a balcony or deck.
We had the pleasure of participating in the 2015 Best of Missouri Markets & More this weekend. Enjoyed seeing the other vendors and meeting lots of folks interested in an alternative to gardening.
Love To Garden? Tired of all the work involved? Try a Gutter Garden™!
Try a Gutter Gardens™ deck or balcony planter box and see how much easier gardening can be! There is nothing like a garden to appreciate the good things in life. Fresh air, sunshine, eating plants that you grew, grabbing fresh herbs while cooking, watching things bloom and flower. To many, gardening is sort of therapeutic…spiritually, emotionally, physically. ‘Stand Up and Garden’ is the motto of Gutter Gardens™ for those of use who aren’t fond of the ‘up and down’ aspect of gardening. We think we have mastered deck and balcony gardening by using aluminum metal planter boxes.
To see our pricing, click on the Products in the drop-down Menu. Select the Indoor, or Outdoor. Prices are based on the length and width of each Gutter Garden. Please be patient with our website. Call us if you have any trouble…we are gardeners, not webmasters! Gutter Gardens™ was created to make gardening easier. By hanging or screwing long-lasting aluminum planter boxes (made from rain gutter material) from nearby decks, as window boxes, on balconies or fences, much of the hard work and hassles are nearly eliminated. Firstly, you can Stand Up and Garden because your flowers, herbs and veggies are within reach. Second, you are no longer in competition with rabbits, deer, or slugs. Finally, those days of dealing with weeds while dragging hoses around to water- – are history. Originally designed with drainage holes to hang outside, Gutter Gardens™ now has indoor products which are watertight. Put those favorite herbs right on your counter-top or windowsill. You can forget about water spilling over their saucers. These indoor planters are perfect for plants you purchase already in containers to keep indoors or to await transplanting. These planters are a great gift idea to the gardeners in your life who live in apartments or condos.
Container Gardening Tips for your Deck or Balcony
- Think of ways to garden while standing up. Hang containers on a deck or place them on tables or retaining walls. This keeps rabbits and deer from getting to them.
- Avoid carrying heavy bags of potting mix. Although buying in bulk may be less expensive, it isn’t worth hurting your back. Consider a wheeled cart or wheel barrel.
- Use a quality potting mix, not top soil or garden dirt. (Think light, airy soil mix.) Some mixes come with water-conservation amendments that should require less watering.
- If your potting mix doesn’t contain fertilizer, use water-soluble plant food every other day. If it has three, six or nine months of slow-release food, begin using plant food after that period.
- Read and follow label instructions on sun/shade requirements that come with the plant or seed packet to get best results.
- Be certain that your container has adequate drainage. Otherwise, plant roots could be deprived of oxygen, causing them to drown. This includes draining the catch saucer after a very heavy rain.
- Consider using about ½ inch of fine mulch in a container to minimize watering.
- If the plants you purchase are root-bound, tease them out (I use a kitchen fork) and cut off about a third before putting them in containers.
- Refill watering cans (and extra gallon jugs) every time you water. That way, when you are in a hurry, the plants won’t suffer. I prefer using a gallon spout (versus sprinkle) watering can. It isn’t too heavy, and I can direct the water where I want it.
- If you harvest more herbs than you can use, chop them and freeze them in distilled water in ice cube trays. Once the herbs are frozen, store them in labeled zipper-lock baggies. Then they’re ready to use in recipes.
Laurie Skinner, of Maryville, is testing out different vegetables, including radishes, butternut squash, zucchini, cucumbers and lettuce, to see if they will grow in her Gutter Gardens. Article by Maureen Houston – News-Democrat Read more here »
A back problem turned Laurie Moore Skinner into an entrepreneur.
The Maryville woman wanted to continue gardening without bending over or working on her hands and knees, so she began growing things in window box-style planters. The problem was, many of the planters she tried weren’t sturdy, especially the brackets, and those with coconut liners created a mess.
“They’re so porous, you have to water them two or three times a day in the heat,” said Laurie, 66. “And they are fodder for bird nests. The birds come by and pick at them, and when that happens, the structure starts to degrade, and the dirt falls out on the ground.”
Laurie began making planters out of house guttering about 2010. She has spent the past five years perfecting her designs with reinforced side pieces, holes for drainage and filters to keep dirt from escaping.
“My husband has helped me so much,” she said, noting Jim Skinner is an electrical engineer with 15 patents. “He’s really good at solving problems.”
Today, Laurie sells planters online under the name Gutter Gardens with the slogan “Stand Up and Garden.”
Her “research and development area” is a large, chain-link dog pen in her back yard. It’s lined with planters made of different sizes, lengths and colors of guttering.
Laurie has grown several types of flowers in the planters. Now she’s experimenting with carrots, green peppers, beets, radishes, kale, spinach, broccoli, cucumbers and butternut squash.
“I’ve got one rutabaga plant in the dirt and one rutabaga plant growing in a gutter, and I’ll see which one does better,” she said. “Same thing with zucchini. I know zucchini can work. I’ve done it. But I don’t wait until they get too big. I pick them small.”
Laurie recently gave a talk on “Stand Up Gardening” at Glen Carbon Centennial Library and served as a vendor at its Ladies Night Out fundraiser. Susan Jernigan, a member of the library’s Friends organization, bought a planter to attach to her deck railing. In her case, it was about convenience, not physical limitation.
“I thought it would be nice to have my herbs close to the house on the deck,” said Susan, 61, of Glen Carbon. “Before, they were out farther in the yard, so they weren’t convenient for cooking.”
Susan has been growing parsley, basil, rosemary and sage in the planter for three weeks.
“I really like the drainage,” she said. “(The planter is) hanging on the deck above my patio, but the dirt doesn’t wash through because the water is filtered.”
Laurie is a Richmond Heights, Mo., native who earned a bachelor’s in English at Northwest Missouri State University. She got a job with a college sorority and later Campus Crusade for Christ.
Laurie earned a master’s in counseling and a doctorate in higher education at Georgia State University. She became a professional fundraiser for non-profits and volunteered as board chairman for Bethany Christian Services adoption agency.
Laurie met her husband in 1993 on an flight to Detroit. Eleven years later, they built a home on 7 1/2 acres in Maryville.
“I didn’t get into gardening, really, until seven years ago,” Laurie said. “I piddled around a little, but I wasn’t serious about it. I was really good at killing things.”
The Skinners planted trees and attempted other landscaping on their property, but they battled with foraging deer and rabbits.
Laurie went through the master gardening program through University of Illinois Extension in 2007.
“I didn’t want to live in a soybean field, and landscaping really does add to the value of your property,” she said.
Laurie’s plan hit a snag in 2008, when she contracted a spinal infection that created back pain and forced her to use a cane. (She’s OK now.)
Laurie began trying planters that attached to her deck to keep from bending over and to discourage wildlife from eating her flowers. But none were satisfactory, leading her to make her own with house guttering.
“People have been growing things in gutters for a long time, mainly maple trees and sycamores and other stuff that falls into them,” she said. “So growing things in a gutter is not an inventive thought.”
But house gutters can be sealed with chemical caulking. Laurie uses food-grade caulking for planters so people can grow organic vegetables.
Several websites explain how to build planters out of house guttering, and Laurie gives people tips if they want to do it themselves, but many don’t have the time.
Her website is www.guttergardens.com. Planters range from 12 to 60 inches long and $16 to $23 a foot, depending on widths.
Gutter Gardens also are available at Creekside Gardens in Collinsville.
“We have them on the display in the nursery,” said employee Kelly Coy. “We have plants in them. I think they’re pretty cost-effective. There are white ones that could blend in with a white fence, and there are green ones.”
Laurie’s friend, Mary Dale, bought two planters three years ago to grow herbs on her deck. The retired medical clerk has arthritis and finds stand-up gardening to be easier than traditional gardening.
Mary, 66, of Kirkwood, Mo., mainly likes the convenience of her gutter gardens.
“I just constantly go outside and snip off what herbs I want and go back in and use them for cooking,” she said. “I just love it.”