Grow a ‘Balcony Vegetable Garden‘ on your urban space. Read everything you need to know about growing vegetables on a balcony in this quick step by step guide.
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 a lot of space to grow are perfect for growing on the 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 leafy green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, arugula, radish, endive leaf, and something exotic like fenugreek and bok-choy, as well as some common herbs such as parsley, chive, mint or basil.
Always, when you grow vegetables in the balcony, find some companion herbs to grow with them. The combination of them enhances the taste of vegetables, and you also get a 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 planters.
Keep in mind that the size of the pot must match the pace of growth and requirements of edible plants you’re growing.
You can grow peppers, eggplants, peas, and cherry tomatoes in a 2-5 gallon size container. Large containers can be used for tall tomato varieties and beans. Seedlings of vegetable plants can be grown in a seed tray or small container to save space. Later they need to be transplanted in bigger containers.
Also Read: How to Grow Eggplant in a Pot
2. Soil for Planting Balcony Vegetable Garden
Vegetables grown in pots require loose, well-drained, fertile, and nutritious soil. You can buy a commercial potting mix for this. If you want to prepare it yourself, check out our guide here.
In addition, incorporate slow-release fertilizer or well-rotted manure or compost in your soil, and hydrogel crystals too, if your balcony is windy and sunny. Hydrogel crystals absorb excess water in them and keep it for later supply to plant’s root directly. This type of water-absorbing crystals is very useful for container gardening as they save both time and water.
If possible, do soil testing at home to identify the pH value of the soil you’re using. Generally, vegetables grow in slightly acidic to neutral soil (6-7 pH). Once you find out your soil type (alkaline or acidic), amend it according to the edible plant you’re growing.
3. Preparing Seedlings
Vegetable seeds can be sown on a seed tray. After germination, transplant them when the top two real leaves have grown. Some vegetables that do not transplant well better are better grown in separate pots.
Vegetables such as gourds or melons, cucumbers, turnips, and squashes do not tolerate transplanting and suffer damage in roots, therefore plant them directly at the right location.
If you do not want to sow seeds, purchase vegetable seedlings from a nearby nursery. Buy plants that are healthy and do not have any pests and diseases. Also, don’t forget checking out our most important seed starting tips here.
Seedlings are better transplanted on cloudy days in moist soil. This helps the young plants in establishing well. On sunny days, planting should be done in late afternoons or evenings. Before transplanting the seedlings, water them abundantly, this prevents the shock and breakdown of soil around the roots.
Also Read: Tips to Water Seedlings
Seeding should be planted at the right depth. Tomatoes can be planted deeper, until the first set of leaves, this stimulates adventitious roots and thus strengthen the plant. Lettuce planted too deep can not develop heads. Celery also planted too deeply, doesn’t develop well.
A Tip: Feed with one tablespoon Epsom salt mixed in one gallon of water after planting to avoid transplanting shock.
5. How to Care for Balcony Vegetable Garden
Once you plant vegetables on the balcony, you need to care for them. It is necessary to water plants the 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 the pest, so it is best to water your plants in the morning.
When the vegetables adapt to the microclimate of your balcony, the only requirement left is to watering and fertilizing. Generally, you should feed your plants every month or so with balanced liquid fertilizer or side-dress the vegetables and herbs with compost twice during the growing season. To save your plants with pests, grow plants that deter pests. In the case of pests and diseases, use organic pesticide, homemade insecticidal soap, neem oil, or make it yourself.