I’m Moving and Losing My Balcony Garden

Posted on Jan 20 2012 - 1:40am by Mike Lieberman

I’m going to be moving in the next couple of weeks.

Why does it matter and what’s it have to do with urban gardening?

Even though I’m moving into the apartment next door to mine, I am losing the balcony and the balcony garden.

Why should you care?

It matters because I will be growing in an all new location and using new methods including growing indoors using natural and grow lights and growing hydroponically.

So be sure to hit me up with your indoor and hydroponic questions.

Losing my balcony, but gaining more garden space

I am still going to be container gardening just in an all new location that I never thought of before.

When discussing the move with the landlord, he said that I could use the side of the building to put my containers.

It’s a much larger space and gets more sunlight.

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Talk to your building manager or landlord

For those of you that don’t have a balcony, ledge or fire escape, ask your building managers or landlords if you can put some containers along the side of the building out of the way.

It will give you space to grow.

I thought I was going to lose space by moving, but I gained a lot more by asking a simple question.

Tell me what’s up

What spaces around your apartment can you ask your landlord to put some containers?

35 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Belinda January 20, 2012 at 3:57 am -

    Congrats on the move!! Sorry to lose the balcony, but duh, you were so smart just to ask! Unfortunately, I’m in a this condo with a Homeowner’s Association…but as it’s an old tobacco warehouse, I have massive windows and massive sunlight – have even “cooked” a plant once. I’ve been growing little plants on the sill, and going to try herbs again (they didn’t do too well indoors).

  2. Anonymous January 20, 2012 at 7:51 am -

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the hydroponics! Happy moving!

  3. Raven January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am -

    I can’t wait to find out more about the other types of growing. There is a vendor at the farmer’s market that grows vegetables using hydroponics and I always wondered how to do it. Now’s our chance.

  4. Anna January 20, 2012 at 8:10 am -

    The indoor growing is exciting!  We recently moved from a house with a big back yard and a small container garden to an upstairs apartment with no balcony or nothing.  It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to grow things in containers on the sidewalk either.  I do plan on asking if I could use the roof though, for container gardening.  That would be AWESOME if I could.

  5. Carolyn January 20, 2012 at 8:18 am -

    Congrats on your move and especially on challenging yourself to grow no matter what our restraints may be.  I have mentioned before that I am growing under grow lights and I have had various problems in the last year, but so far I have solved some of them.  I am very interested to hear and see what you do, and esp with the hydroponics!   Thanks for all you do, Mike

  6. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:23 am -

    nice. Looking forward to indoor gardening. Lemme know what you are struggling with.

  7. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:23 am -

    Me too. Should be fun!

  8. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:24 am -

    Most def. Lemme know of any questions you have.

  9. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:24 am -

    Can’t hurt to ask.

  10. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:24 am -

    Def lemme know what you are struggling with and I can help to figure it out.

  11. Vivian Nelson Melle January 20, 2012 at 8:26 am -

    I’m excited hearing about your hydroponic adventures. We’ve just started a hydroponic garden. Good luck!

  12. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:27 am -

    Word. Lemme know if you have any questions on it.

  13. TAT fans January 20, 2012 at 8:29 am -

    Just goes to show, you don’t ask you don’t get!

  14. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:30 am -


  15. Kathryn Grace January 20, 2012 at 8:30 am -

    Hmmm. Perhaps on our roof. I’ve never been, but I understand others barbecue up there. I’ll look into it next time he’s in the building.

  16. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 8:31 am -

    Can’t hurt to ask!

  17. Kathryn Grace January 20, 2012 at 8:32 am -

    P.S. One thing I always wonder about hydroponics: How do you get the myriad nutrients that microbe-rich, micro-nutrient rich organic soil provides?

  18. Phil January 20, 2012 at 8:53 am -

    Hi Mike, from your video I’m guessing the new location faces west? Should be a nice, warm spot for you. Are you going to have to move the containers in order to mow the grass?

  19. Mary C. January 20, 2012 at 10:30 am -

    Cool change up there! Watch out for snails and slugs after you move the containers. You could try glueing a ring of pennies around them to prevent the slimies from getting your greens.
    Also, what about that open common area between your building and the one to the east of it? That’d be a good sunny area for plants too.

  20. Raven January 20, 2012 at 10:57 am -

    I would like to recommend a trellis spanning both sides of each wall with containers in the middle. You could grow all different kinds of beans, peas, squash, etc. You could also hook little pots of herbs onto the trellis for non-vine plants.

  21. Karen Hine January 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm -

    Awesome–congratulations on the upgrade! I’ve also heard of people getting permission to have plants on their building’s roof.

    I’m especially eager to hear about growing food hydroponically. I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to try tomatoes and maybe cucumbers that way. I’d be interested to see how you choose to set it up, and how it works for you.

  22. Amy Johnson January 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm -

    it’s like painting a new canvas.

  23. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm -

    I think the containers will keep the grass in check.

  24. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm -

    Interesting. Will look into that.

  25. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm -

    Word. Well keep updated because I’ll have more info coming!

  26. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm -


  27. Mike Lieberman January 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm -

    I’ll be figuring all of that out.

  28. Vicki Schoenwald January 21, 2012 at 10:15 am -

    With your bucket or containers, you could try the form of gardening  called Espalier? How they gardened with fruit trees in Medievel Europe. I am going to experiment with tomatoes this way, and see if I can find a dwarf fruit tree to try this.

  29. Mike Lieberman January 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm -

    Nice. Will look into it.

  30. BerkeleyHapa January 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm -

    Hi Mike, I do indoor gardening (in Berkeley where we get much cooler winters than you do in LA) as well as outdoors. This time of year up here I can only harvest broccoli and salad greens from outside (and mint, oregano, rosemary and lemons). I thought of you yesterday when I made my first fresh pesto totally from my indoor African Basil plant that I planted in July–one in my outdoor garden, which produced through December, and hopefully will come back in the Spring, and one in my kitchen which is still producing! My husband and I like the Genovese Basil a little better, but it is so great to have fresh basil in the winter. I use bucket containers like yours on small shelves in my south and west facing windows and have chile peppers from 2 years back and now the basil and one heirloom tomato plant. It came up as a volunteer outside in Sept. and I couldn’t bear to waste it so I put in indoors. It has about 12 tomatoes growing on it currently. Just remember if you grow tomatoes indoors you need to shake them regularly to pollinate! Best of luck, and I really enjoy your blog!

  31. Mike Lieberman January 24, 2012 at 7:23 am -

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing and appreciate the tip!

  32. NWFLDeaconsWife February 9, 2012 at 8:55 am -

    My garden is up against my garage. It’s a raised bed, but I treat it as one big container because a lot of the same considerations have to be made. I love your tips and the fact that you don’t ‘fluff’ your videos just to make them longer. You get to the point of what you are talking about and don’t waste your viewers’ time! Keep up the great work!  Looking forward to seeing what you do with your new space. Oh, and could you do a video on water conservation in the container garden? I live in Florida and sometimes during drought we have limited water available. I’m sure sometimes that happens in California, too.

  33. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2012 at 10:31 am -

    Appreciate it. Yes water conservation is something that I’m working on and figuring out. Will definitely share when I get it.

  34. Tom M March 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm -

    Well, at least you don’t have the expense of a moving van or storage, Mike 🙂 Good luck with the new container locations and the gardening styles that will go along with it. Anxiously awaiting new videos once you get in the groove of your new homestead.

  35. Mike Lieberman March 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm -

    Word. I’m getting on it. Thanks!

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