Karen opened the door to her apartment balcony and sighed as the city air greeted her with that all too familiar scent of exhaust fumes. She crossed to the sunny corner of her balcony and smiled as she checked on the progress of her apple tree.
Her friends had often called Karen mad for attempting to grow her own apple tree on the balcony of her eleventh floor apartment, but Karen knew that it could be done. When she had moved to Dallas for work, she had been forced to leave her roots in the country behind herself.
Regardless of where she resided, Karen knew the importance of having fresh fruit available to her. Apples were her favorite food, and she knew how expensive fresh fruit was here in the city. It was no small decision to take the step from thinking about it, to actually trying to grow her own apple tree, eleven floors in the air.
A Big Pot for a Big Tree
Karen knelt beside her apple tree and admired the large ceramic pot that she had invested in. Her grandmother had told her that a tree grown in a pot would need a lot of room for the roots to grow around in the soil. The tree would only grow as large as its roots could spread, so a large pot was needed to give the tree some growing room. She had likewise been warned that if the tree were not given a large enough pot, its roots would eventually break through the pot itself to find more room to grow.
The pot that Karen had chosen was a mosaic of red and blue tiles in a striped design. Not only did it give the apple tree plenty of room to grow on her balcony, but it matched the cushions on her porch chair as well. Karen checked around the soil of her tree, making sure that no intruding insects were bothering her balcony resident. She hummed to herself as she went through this nightly ritual.
An Apple Tree Needs Water
Once she was satisfied that her apple tree was free of pests, she turned back toward her apartment. Karen grabbed her two gallon watering can and measured out the weekly dose of organic fertilizer mix into the can's bottom. She filled the can with water and returned to her balcony again. Karen hefted the heavy watering can and tilted it over the edge of the pot slowly. She watched as the water flowed in around the soil, and paused as the water seemed to overrun the soil's surface.
Karen waited patiently while the apple tree soaked up all of the nutritious water. Experience had taught her that the plant needed time to let the water soak in before more was added. When she watered her tree too quickly, the nutrient-rich water simply spilled over the sides and out the bottom of the plant, resulting in her tree not getting enough to drink. Only once the water soaked in did Karen add more, pausing again when the water reached the overflow threatening point.
When the entire watering can had been successfully fed to the tree, Karen returned the watering can to its usual spot. Any plant that is grown in a pot only has a limited amount of nutrients available to it, her grandmother had warned when Karen began this experiment. If Karen wanted her tree to produce large, healthy apples, it would need a weekly supply of nutrients added to the soil, with regular water added every day as well. This would allow her apple tree plenty to eat while it grew.
Karen took care to always give her apple tree everything that it could need, including dragging it around her balcony to where the sunlight was strongest during different times of the year. Already, she had small apples beginning to grow from where the old flowers had withered and fallen from the tree. Come the Fall, she hoped to have a multitude of apples available to be eaten every day.