Herself's Houseplants

Killing plants so you don't have to

Turn your balcony into a space station garden

This is a really cool idea. Yagil was looking for a way to grow food on the space station and came up with the perfect balcony garden.

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Yagil’s technique relied on floral bricks made from phenolic foam, that familiar green and spongy material which, placed at the bottom of a vase, is used for holding the stems of cut flowers.

Yagil, who worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, believed that his floral brick growing technique could be used in a space station, where room for growing plants is limited. Each of Yagil’s plants requires only 1 square foot of growing space.

Yagil’s method results in incredibly rapid growth. A 4-inch tomato seedling, for example, can grow into a 4-foot tall, fruit-laden specimen in only 60 days.

To grow any plant according to this technique, you will need to take a 3-by-4-by-9-inch floral brick. Remove a plug from one of its short ends that is equal in size to the root ball of the seedling you wish to plant. A seedling that has produced two to four leaves – available at the nursery in six- or eight-packs – is perfect.

Wrap the brick, except for the bottom end, in black plastic and secure it with strapping tape. Stand the brick up in a 1-gallon (6-inch diameter) plastic container – the kind you get when you buy a 1-gallon plant at the nursery – with holes in the bottom. Keep the brick stable by running pieces of strapping tape up one side of the container, across the brick, and down the other side.

Place a deep, water-retaining dish under the container. Keep the brick wet by filling the dish. The dish is filled as soon as the water in it evaporates, as often as once a day in summer. Liquid fertilizer is added to the water every third time the dish is filled.

. . . [ read more What to plant on a balcony ]

I wonder if you couldn’t just stand the brick up in a water dish and put some rocks around it to keep it stable? Or place the brick in a pretty flower pot and toss some gravel at the bottom to hold it in place and upright?  Totally cool and a great way to have a garden in a very small space.