Grow your veg­gies from your bal­cony

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

You might not have hectares of open land, but you do have a few me­tres of out­door space and a sunny spot in­doors, which is all you need to grow your gro­ceries with the best of them.

"Veg­etable gar­dens are be­com­ing a house­hold stan­dard these days. Even in sec­tional ti­tle units it is not un­com­mon to find ver­ti­cal gar­dens out­side and planters sit­ting on the win­dow ledges," says re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa, Adrian Goslett.

While it is pos­si­ble to grow a veg­etable gar­den in a home with­out a spa­cious back­yard, Goslett warns those liv­ing within sec­tional ti­tles to check the con­duct rules is­sued by the com­plex's Home Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion or Body Cor­po­rate.

"These rules will out­line things such as ac­cept­able and un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour within the com­plex, as well as the gen­eral aes­thet­ics of the build­ing and what sorts of ren­o­va­tions are al­lowed. In cer­tain com­plexes, you might find that home­own­ers and ten­ants are pro­hib­ited from plac­ing things in front of win­dows, on win­dow ledges, or hang­ing things on ex­te­rior walls with­out first gain­ing writ­ten con­sent from the com­plex. If you do not com­ply with these rules, you can be held li­able to fines," he ex­plains.

Pots

If you do want to cre­ate your own veg­etable gar­den but don’t have any open soil, there are var­i­ous ways of work­ing around this. The first is to pur­chase pots or cre­ate wooden planters that you can put on your bal­cony, out­door pa­tio, or near a win­dow in­side your apart­ment. “If you are go­ing to keep your planters in­doors, just be sure to clean un­der­neath them reg­u­larly to en­sure that they do not leave stains on the floor, as this will come out of your de­posit if you are rent­ing the space,” Goslett cau­tions.

Ver­ti­cal gar­dens

Ver­ti­cal gar­dens are an­other so­lu­tion. These work best if in­stalled out­doors on a pa­tio space or bal­cony, but can also work in­doors pro­vided that your apart­ment gets lots of light and has good ven­ti­la­tion. “Ten­ants would be bet­ter off to avoid this op­tion though. In­stalling a ver­ti­cal gar­den in­doors will re­quire per­mis­sion from the land­lord as it will re­quire some con­struc­tion. In­stead, ten­ants can pur­chase hang­ing planters which they can hang from their cur­tain rods,” Goslett sug­gests.

Of course, if you wanted to live a life of sub­sis­tence farm­ing and grow all your own fruit, veg­eta­bles and herbs from home, these sug­ges­tions will fall short of a so­lu­tion for you.

“There is a limit to how much one can do in a small liv­ing space within a sec­tional ti­tle. If you are pas­sion­ate about grow­ing a veg­etable gar­den, per­haps you should con­sider re­lo­cat­ing fur­ther out­side of your CBD where plots are gen­er­ally larger and more af­ford­able. What you end up sav­ing on your gro­cery bill once your gar­den is ready can then be rerouted into the higher fuel costs of hav­ing ex­tended your com­mute to work,” Goslett poses as a fi­nal thought.

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