Grow a ‘Balcony Vegetable Garden’ on your urban space. Read everything you need to know about growing vegetables on a balcony in this quick startup guide, step by step.
Growing vegetables on a balcony is an apt idea for city dwellers who do not have their own garden. This way you can grow your own fresh and organic vegetables.
Vegetables for Balcony Garden
Vegetables that don’t take lot of space to grow are perfect for growing on balcony. Tomatoes and peppers are without a doubt the first one you need to consider as they are the easiest to grow. You can grow vegetable vines too, they grow vertically and takes less space.
In small pots, you can grow green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, arugula , radish, endive leaf, bok-choy and fenugreek as well as some common herbs such as parsley, chive, mint or basil.
*Always, When you grow vegetables, find there companion herbs to grow with them. The combination of them enhance the taste of vegetables and you will also get fresh supply of herbs too. Learn how to grow herbs on a balcony here.
Growing vegetables on a balcony – Step by Step
1. Pots for Growing Vegetables on the Balcony
Before purchasing pots for your vegetable balcony garden, you must consider whether you want to grow vegetables for ornamental or usability purposes. If usability is more important for you then simply select containers, propagation trays, plastic window boxes in which many plants can grow together. If you care for looks of your balcony vegetable garden then choose colorful pots, decorative barrels and urn and modern designer containers.
Keep in mind that the size of the pot must match the pace of growth and requirements of plants you’re growing.
You can grow pepper, eggplant, peas and cherry tomatoes in a 2-4 gallon size container. Large containers can be used for tall tomato varieties and for beans. Seedlings of vegetable plants can be grown in seed tray or small container to save space, later they need to be transplanted in bigger containers.
2. Soil for Planting Balcony Vegetable Garden
Vegetables grown in pots require loose, well drained, fertile and nutritious soil. You can buy ready-made potting mix for this. If you want to prepare it by yourself. You will need the compost, garden soil, gravel and perlite.
In addition, mix slow release organic fertilizer and hydrogel crystals. Hydrogel crystals absorb excess water in them and keep it for later supply to plant’s root directly. This type of water absorbing crystals are very useful for container gardening as they save both time and water.
If possible, do a soil testing at home to identify the pH value of the soil. Generally, vegetables grow in slightly acidic to neutral soil (6-7 pH). Once you find out your soil type (alkaline or acidic) you can amend it according to the plant you’re growing.
3. Preparing Seedlings
Vegetable seeds can be sown on a seed tray. After germination, transplant them when top two real leaves have grown. Some vegetables that do not transplant well better, sow them in separate pots.
Vegetables such as gourds or melons, cucumbers and squash do not tolerate transplanting and damage in roots, therefore plant them only once at the right location.
If you do not want to sow seeds, purchase plants from nursery. Buy plants that are healthy and does not have any pests and diseases.
Seedlings should be transplanted on cloudy days in a moist soil, this helps the young plants in establishing well. On sunny days, planting should be done in evenings. Before transplanting the seedlings, water them abundantly, this prevents the shock and breakdown of soil around the roots.
Seeding should should be planted at right depth. Tomatoes can be planted deeper, until the first leaves, this stimulates adventitious roots and thus strengthen the plant. Lettuce planted too deep can not develop heads. Celery also planted too deeply develops not correct the root.
*Feed with one tablespoon Epsom salt mixed in one gallon of water after planting to avoid transplanting shock.
5. Care for Balcony Vegetable Garden
Once you plant vegetables on the balcony, you need to care for them. It is necessary to water plants right way. You should not set any schedule for watering your plants, only water them when they need it. Watering the plants at night causes fungal diseases and attracts pest, so it is best to water your plants in the morning.
When the vegetables adapt the climate of balcony the only requirement left is to watering and fertilizing. Generally, you should fertilize your plants every month or so with organic fertilizer. To save your plants with pests, grow plants that deter pests. In cause of pest or disease, use organic pesticide or make it yourself.