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Author Topic: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach  (Read 3122 times)

MiniChopper4Me

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My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« on: August 31, 2013, 12:53:58 PM »
Hello everyone!

I'm basically looking for any kind of advice or tips on how to be successful gardening in my location.  So I guess the best thing to do is describe fully my setup.

I'm living on Miami Beach on the second floor of a 5 story building that's one block away from the beach.  I have an ample balcony that has plenty of room, and a not-so-ample corral that sits on the roof of the building that I use for growing as well.  My unit and balcony are on the North side of the building, so most of the time its in the shade, but in the summer especially it gets some direct sunlight.  Watering on the balcony is convenient because all I need to do is fill a water can and go outside the door, but I've setup a drip system just in case we go on vacation.  The roof on the other hand is a bit trickier.  The roof is full sun, so I've installed a solar-powered drip waterer with a 55-gal plastic drum that I half fill every other week so that the water doesn't start to stink or grow algae.  I still love to go up there and browse though :P

On the balcony I'm growing mostly flowering plants: passion flower (3 varieties) attached to trellises, passion fruit which is attaching itself to the bannisters of the balcony, areca palms, philodendron-bipinnatifidum, montera-deliciosa, mexican petunias, orange birds of paradise, thryallis, a dwarf gardenia, basil, a desert rose, and a sea grape.

On the roof I have a Nam Dok Mai mango, Sugar Apple, Lychee (not sure of the variety), Meyer lemon, Romaine lettuce, a Patio tomato, Star Jasmine, Big Bertha peppers, and a Habanero pepper plant.

I've been trying to water all of the flowering/fruiting trees/plants daily.  I've setup the automated watering systems so that I can go on vacation and come back to anything but a bunch of dead stuff (I have vacation plans for the beginning of October, ugh).  I'm really hoping to have some fruiting plants/trees soon enough, but I'm just a beginner really.  Any advie?

Charlie

JeffDM

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Re: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2013, 01:21:07 PM »
Pictures would help.

MiniChopper4Me

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Re: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2013, 03:34:06 PM »

Looking left out of my balcony door: Dwarf Gardenia, Passion Fruit, Areca Palms, Philos, and a Sweet Pepper that's going to be growing on the roof soon

Looking right out of my balcony door: Passion Flowers growing on trellises, Orange Birds of Paradise, Mexican Petunias, a small table with a Desert Rose, Basil, Monstera Deliciosa and Sea Grape

Around the corner: two more young Monstera Deliciosa

Closeup of the Passion Fruit vine and Sweet Pepper waiting to be moved to the roof

Closeup of a Philo, and pot with Mexican Petunia and Birds of Paradise with Passion Flower in the background

Closeup of my oldest Monstera Deliciosa

Overview of the rooftop looking South/Southeast

Closeup of Nam Doc Mai mango purchased from Bender's Grove in Davie, FL

Closeup of Sugar Apple (cuban variety?) purchased from Bender's Grove in Davie, FL

Closeup of Lychee tree (unsure of variety)

Closeup of Meyer lemon (Home Depot)

Closeup of Habanero pepper (Home Depot)

Closeup of Big Bertha pepper (Home Depot)

Closeup of Patio tomato (Home Depot)

Closeup of Romaine lettuce (Home Depot)

MiniChopper4Me

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Re: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 04:09:09 PM »
There are some bits of advice that I'm primarily looking for, which are probably the most basic to be asking for:

On the roof:
All of the plants/trees are connected to a 55 gallon drum with a solar powered drip pump that charges the batteries while the sun is up and runs every three hours until the batteries are low.  When its cloudy of course, they get little charge and hence it doesn't run.  I've mixed in at the manufacturer's recommendation liquid Miracle Grow at a 1/4 dose (1/4 cup mixed in to 28 gallons of water)
Mango: I fully intend to keep it potted and hope for fruit someday.  Should I at this point be "topping" or "pugging" the tree so that it branches out?  I'm guessing I should only be watering it using the dripper (the pump is solar and charges for 3 hours then runs until low, I have it at 100% charge rate)
Annon: Again, fully intend to keep it potted.  Also sitting with one dripper that runs every 3 hours.  Any other care tips?
Lychee: Another 1 dripper tree at the moment, although I try to come up every morning and drown it with a watering can.  I would like to see it branch out more, but I've noticed it likes to reach out all string-like.  Any other tips to make it get bushier?
Lemon: I bought this at Home Depot as a Cocktail set (with Key Lime) and last year when we left for vacation, I didn't have any watering system implemented.  I came home to what I thought were two dead trees.  With daily watering, the Meyer lemon managed to come back, better I thought than ever just shorter.  I had a full bloom last month, but even after several lemons got about 3/4 inch diameter, they turned yellow and fell off.  I'm wondering if the tree is still too young or if I'm doing something wrong?  It's blooming again, and I'm giving it water daily, still no edible fruit :(
Habanero Pepper: This has always been on my balcony and has fruited aplenty, but I figured it would like living on the roof more so I moved it.  The peppers growing on it at this time appear MUCH larger than before, so I'm guessing it liked the move although I have to be much more careful about the water it gets.  I definitely have to water it in the morning every day.  It is also currently attached with one dripper, I might have to give it two to keep it happy.
Big Bertha Pepper: Poor guy, after it was flowering I moved it to the roof, and during the move I broke off half the plant while moving the hose around.  I had to fashion the sad braces it has to help it come back.  This one has 1 dripper and so far today has not needed any additional water to keep it perky.
Romaine Lettuce: Too small and too new as of yet to tell if its doing okay.  It has one dripper as well, and hasn't looked anything but perky every day when I check on it.
Patio Tomato:  I picked this up last week at the Home Depot because I was looking for something in one of the pots with the growing cage attached.  This was the only tomato they had in such a cage.  It looked practically dead, leaved rounded and crunchy, browned etc. but I cut off all of the sick looking growth and put it up on the roof with one dripper to see how it would do.  1 week later you have the current pic.

Some things I'd like to add upstairs: Guava (Ruby Red I think, I tried the Thai variety and didn't like it, it wasn't sweet at all), Longan (my neighbor is Philippino and mentioned it was in the Lychee family, figured I'd give that a try as well), as well as some more veggies for a fresh rooftop salad once in a while for two.  Again, any more suggestions?

On the balcony:
The only real issue I've come across is Whitefly.  With my peppers on the balcony, they feasted on them.  I've used some oil my mother-in-law recommended mixed with water to spray down all of the infected leaves several times to get the problem under control and it worked, so I tried moving the clean plants to the roof and apparently the whiteflies can't stand full beach sun.  Unfortunately, I still have them attacking the Mexican Petunias.  I'm regularly spraying them to try to get rid of them.  I'm also wondering about the Passion Fruit where it is because I can't think of another place to put it.  Its only been a couple of months, and its growing like mad so I assume it likes its spot?

Thanks in advance,
Charlie

Zambezi

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Re: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 04:02:55 PM »
Hi there,

Welcome to the forum..:)

You have a wonderful green space there. I love that Balcony. Very tropical looking with all those palms, and bird of paradise flowers..:) And the roof has great potential to become a lovely private tropical getaway! All your plants look nice and healthy, so as a Beginner, I'd say you've got the touch. You are doing great!

For the roof, there's a few things that I can help with.

- Roofs can become very hot. I'm glad you have the drip system in place for your plants and just looking at them, they seem to be responding.

-I see you have them in Clay pots.
These do dry out faster, so just make sure they stay watered, or the roots can dry up and die in no time.
Also, they get heavy to move around, and as it's the roof, make sure you have good drainage, as you don't want water pooling and damaging the structure.
Lastly be careful transplanting. As your plants grow, they may be harder to get out of these fat-bellied pots, as the opening is narrower than the belly. The roots of the plant will be at the belly of the pot and you'll have to be more careful when tipping it over to get the plant out, verses a straight walled pot.

- Annona - It will do great in a pot. I have mine in pots too. It looks nice and healthy, and if in the winter it doesn't lose it's leaves, just pull them off. Also pinch the tips and then leave a couple sets of leaves after the tip, and then pull off alternating leaves all the way down to the main branch. This will encourage it to branch out more and get bushier in spring when it grows back. (Valuable advice from Har)

Lychee, longan, Mango - You can get them all bushy by tipping and or cutting back branches. It may be a little late to cut them this year as you run into the risk of not having them flower next yr if you cut them now. But, you can use the search feature on this site and you'll see many posts on how to cut back or "pug" a mango or lychee tree. There's some good infomation from some great forumites that can help you get the trees into shape next yr, after they flower/or fruit.

- Lemon - Might be dropping fruit as it's too young to hold it. Another possibility is that its low in minors. It appears nice and green, but you might want to add citrus/avocado food with minors. It will eventually hold fruit as it gets bigger.

- Peppers and tomatoes - Love it hot!! The hotter, the better!! As long as they get their food (fertilizer) and regular supply of water, with some dry periods. You know a bit of drought and tons of heat make a pepper nice and spicy..:) They will love your roof setting.

Well I hope I was able to answer some of your questions. Good luck with your little Paradise...:)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 08:19:31 PM by GreenThumb »

Tropicdude

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Re: My condo balcony/rooftop garden/fruit grove in Miami Beach
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2013, 04:16:52 PM »
Quote
Lemon: I bought this at Home Depot as a Cocktail set (with Key Lime) and last year when we left for vacation, I didn't have any watering system implemented.  I came home to what I thought were two dead trees.  With daily watering, the Meyer lemon managed to come back, better I thought than ever just shorter.  I had a full bloom last month, but even after several lemons got about 3/4 inch diameter, they turned yellow and fell off.

Welcome to the forum, nice setup you have there.  you must be doing things right, everything looks healthy.

just wanted to make a comment on the Meyer lemon.  I also bought one of those cocktail lemon trees from home depot a couple of years ago.  I separated the key lime, from the Meyer,   the Key lime also died,  and the Meyer, is doing ok.  I also have this same problem, lemons get to a certain size then just turn yellow and fall off,  my container is smaller than yours, and I do not water as often, so that may be the problem.  right now it has lemons on it and flowers,  my fingers are crossed that I finally get some.  anyway i am hoping to learn something from the comments to this problem.  good luck. 
William
" The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.....The second best time, is now ! "

 

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