Mini Garden on the Balcony – What comes to your mind when you think of growing vegetables on a balcony or balcony gardens? Is it the hanging gardens of Babylon or a majestic green ecosystem?
Perhaps you’ll group some pots or set up a hydroponic system.
Whichever you choose, a balcony garden is an excellent way of adding nature to your space and to attract bees and butterflies, regardless of the space.
If you want a peaceful space filled with sweet scents from herbs, consider creating a mini garden on your balcony. These tips will help you get started.
Best Balcony Vegetables
- Herbs: basil, sage, mint
- Leafy greens: salad leaves, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard
- Pepper and chilies
- Peas, pole beans and bush beans
- Root vegetables: carrots, radishes, beets
- Grow potatoes in 5 gallon buckets and grow potatoes in containers
- Zucchini, squash, cucumber
- Tomatoes in pots
- Garlic and onions
- Spillers: Nasturtium, bacopa, lobelia
Some of these above are among the easiest vegetables to grow. I am partial to “cut and come again” leafy greens. When you cut the outer leaves and leave the inner leaves intact, they will continue to grow. You can enjoy several harvests. Alternatively, you can wait for it to fully mature, and cut if off at the base to enjoy at one time. Learn about growing Swiss chard which makes a colorful addition to your balcony.
In the same spirit as a perpetual harvest with leafy greens, I also love growing herbs in containers on the patio. They aren’t vegetables, of course, but they continue to grow even as you clip them off.
Ideas to Maximize Small Balcony Space to Grow Vegetables
When growing vegetables on your balcony, think of up. Most plants grow vertically, so they are often happy to have vertical space to grow and spread their branches and foliage. A simple trellis will permit plants such as peas or beans to climb up and occupy the little horizontal space available.
The most effective way to attach a trellis is to attach it to the planter/pot the plant is in so you can trail the plant up the trellis. Ensure the trellis doesn’t block the sunlight from reaching the plant, especially if the plant relies on heat or sunshine. Also, you make sure you’ve secured the trellis to avoid it from falling in high wind.
Grow compact or dwarf varieties
Because your balcony space is compact, you don’t want to grow plant varieties that grow very big. For balcony planting, look for dwarf plant varieties that are compact like lettuce, kale, garlic, and fruits like strawberries in planters that can produce even in minimum space.
Think of hanging plants
Using hanging baskets to grow your vegetables is a convenient way to save on space. Hanging baskets are great for growing tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs.
If you don’t want to hang your vegetables, you can also find shelves or other types of hangers that can allow you to attach plant pots on a railing or wall.
Remember hanging baskets can be so heavy; therefore, you need to use the appropriate hanger or screw it tightly. This way, you can avoid scenarios where water spills to your neighbor’s space below.
Small scale accessories
If you want to sit on your small balcony writing your essay while enjoying the plants, consider getting small bistro table sets with a small table and two chairs.
They might not be so comfortable, but at least you’ll have a place to sit. You can also get foldable chairs that you can put away in the corner once you’re done sitting.
Declutter the balcony
Before growing veg on the balcony, make sure you declutter. Take your bicycle, seasonal sporting equipment and boxes of extra things, and find a storage area in your building to store them. You can also rent a storage unit or take your things to your friend’s house.
Practical Considerations for Your Small Balcony Garden
Some housing associations and landlords have rules against growing certain types of plants on your balcony. So before you grow your vegetables, check with your landlords. There’s no need to establish a beautiful balcony garden only to be removed.
Some plants curl and die, while others laugh at the wind. You need to select a plan that fits your environment. Or you can modify your balcony to meet the climatic requirements of your vegetables.
If your balcony is higher, the winder it’s likely to be. Use windbreaks like reed screens or nettings to filter wind and create an attractive environment for fragile plants. Also, plant wind-tolerant plants like grasses or bamboos in front of wind sensitive plants.
Watering house plant is usually an issue for balcony gardeners. Wind, in combination with the sun, can dry out pots at alarming rates.
Large pots containing thirsty plants can also take vast amounts of water. Sometimes the spout is far from the plant. If you have lots of large pots and you don’t have time to water the plant, you can get a drip irrigation system.
Just like any garden, it’s essential to consider the amount of direct sunlight your balcony receives. Most people tend to overestimate this because walls tend to obstruct the sun in certain parts of the space.
However, you need to take your time to accurately assess the number of hours’ direct sunlight hits your balcony. If you have a balcony with shade, try growing spinach, kale, salad leaves, and carrots as well as fruits like raspberry and strawberries.
Another factor that you must consider is the amount of time you’re willing to invest in taking care of your garden. There are no carefree plants. All plants need food and water to thrive. This means if you have a balcony garden, you must set some time to care for the plants.
How much time you spend on your plants also depends on the plants you plan to grow.
If you want a robust garden but you’re aren’t interested in maintenance, there are other options at your disposal. Irrigation systems, hiring someone, or self-watering pots are some of those options. Consider harvesting time too. Some plants, such as basil, need to be harvested regularly to grow large. Learn how to harvest basil.
Before growing vegetables on a balcony, know its microclimate. You can’t expect it to be the same as that of the park nearby. Cold is usually an issue in exposed balconies, but there’s a flipside. Sun-warmed walls can slowly release their heat overnight to create something like a microclimate.
Furthermore, ensure the plant pots have good drainage, so they don’t become waterlogged and freeze.
Fresh Vegetables Every Day: Mini Garden on the Balcony
Building a balcony garden is possible and easy. As long as you know the type of plant you want to grow, where to get the supplies, and potting up the plants, then you will have your mini garden thriving in no time.
A balcony vegetable garden is more than just a place to source your vegetables, fruits and herb ingredients. It can become a peaceful spot where you can sit, relax, and contemplate the nature you have brought into your home.