Make a balcony herb garden as herbs are easy to grow anywhere and a limited space balcony or terrace is no exception.
Herbs do not require special treatment – apart from regular watering. If you own a small balcony, put a few pots in it and grow herbs.
You can grow practically any herb you want to grow. However, it depends on sunlight, space and weather.
Fortunately, most known and popular herbs are well suited for herb garden on balcony. Some of the annual herbs are – basil, fennel, dill, cilantro, marjoram, parsley, chive and perennials like – oregano, lavender, sage, thyme, mint and rosemary grow well.
Pots for Growing Herbs
Pots for a balcony herb garden should be according to the space available. Choose large wooden planters, chests and crates, these are cheap and wide and you can grow lot of herbs with similar requirements together in them – this greatly simplifies subsequent care.
Herbs can also be grown in small pots, best are clay pots as they are more natural. Plastic pots can be used too for the flexibility of their uses, they’re light and you can move and hang them anywhere easily. Whereas, ceramic planters look pretty. Mostly it all depends on whatever resources you have and the size of your balcony.
After selecting pots comes time to buy a suitable substrate/potting soil for growing herbs. For this, use a substrate you use for growing vegetables.
How and When to Plant Herbs on the Balcony?
The simplest and quickest method for obtaining plants is to buy a “ready-made” herbs in pots. Buy them from a garden center and not from the supermarket, because herbs from the garden center are more robust and capable of growing outside on balcony.
Rotate your plants according to the season. Usually the temperature of an urban balcony remains warm and if you do not live in a really cold climate, you can grow herbs year round. You need to care your plants more in winter to save them from freezing temperatures. You can buy a small greenhouse for this or make your own.
If you live in warm tropics you need to care more in scorching summer, keep your plants in shade and water them more to save them.
Herbs in the garden have plenty of room to grow but in pots you have very limited space, so it is very important to plant smartly. *Strong and vigorously growing herbs like mint, oregano and sage requires plenty of space. Do not plant them near sensitive and low growing herbs like basil, marjoram and rosemary, which could be drowned out.
If you own a spacious balcony or terrace, certainly you find a place to grow herbs and create a “real” herb garden in a large chest of drawers. But, remember that such a large chest filled with soil can be very heavy to move and heavy rains could spill out the mud from it, especially on roofless terrace. Whereas, growing herbs in small pots gives you an option to transfer containers during a storm or rain.
How to Care for Herbs in Pots and Requirements
Most of the herbs grow best in full sun or light partial shade, so your balcony herb garden should be faced south, south-east or south-west. In a shady space, herbs grow worse, they will pull to the sun and do not thrive well and will be less flavorful. Read this to grow herbs in shady space
The sun and wind dry out pots quickly, so a balcony garden needs more frequent watering than a regular garden. Especially the balconies facing south.
Although, herbs are tolerant to temporary shortages and excess of water in the soil, but herbs growing in pots are more sensitive to dry and waterlogged soil and to remit this, do regular watering and choose pots of large openings from bottom, through which excess water can drain freely and easily.
Potted plants need more fertilization than those grow on grounds but one benefit is that you don’t need to fertilize frequently like you do in regular garden. Use slow release natural fertilizers in your balcony herb garden, spread them once or twice in a year and your plants will get enough nutrition gradually. In addition to that, use of organic matters, manure and compost is recommended as to introduce beneficial microorganisms and micro-nutrients in soil.
Herbs must be regularly pinched and pruned to accelerate the growth of new dense foliage and prevent the establishment of the seed. But trim your plants only on sunny days, before noon. You also need to cut the blooms with the help of scissor or a sharp knife to prevent seeds from forming.