World population is growing exponentially, and land has become a scarcity. Highrise buildings are being built to cater to ever-increasing housing demand. Majority of the population in the urban area have become highrise dwellers, living in condominiums or apartments.
People who love gardening or even green thumbs are having difficulties in fulfilling their horticultural desires, as there is no sufficient land and space for casual gardening!
However, the limitation of having only a balcony or patio should not limit your desire for gardening! There are ways and ideas to maximize the limited space, and you are still able to indulge yourself in the joy of gardening, by turning a balcony into a potted garden.
Golden Rules of Container Gardening With Pots
Having a genuinely fruitful vegetable garden on the balcony is not that difficult at all. Follow these golden rules, and you will have a bountiful container vegetable garden on your balcony.
Soil condition is the first rule that needs to be followed. Type of soil suitable for container gardening is different from ground gardening. You need to use synthetic soils for the container, which are made of the mixes contain peat moss, wood chips, , vermiculite, sawdust, perlite, or any other planting media. You can make your own container soil by mixing these planting media or buy a pack of readily mixed soil for container gardening from your nearby nursery.
Soil Mixes Arrangement in Pot
You will also need to fill the coarse gravel on the bottom of the container before putting in soil. This will help to drain off excess water from the soil, and making sure the plant’s root system is not soaked in water. Furthermore, it allows plants to grow healthily in a well-draining yet moist soil condition.
Watering once a day regularly is necessary. Potted plants will die off quickly if you forget to water them frequently, as the soil has become too dry for the plant to grow.
Regularly fertilizing your potted vegetables at an interval of 3 to 4 weeks once is also important to make sure the plants get the essential nutrients for them to grow flourishingly. Organic fertilizer is preferred.
Sunlight is another important factor. Balcony vegetable gardening will produce a bountiful of vegetables if the plants are enable to enjoy sufficient amount of moisture and sunlight overtime.
Growing a vegetable garden on a balcony is quite simple. Just follow these container gardening rules, and you will see a flourishing balcony garden become a reality.
Factors To Consider When Planning For Balcony Garden with Pots
First and foremost, you need to check before you begin your balcony gardening project if your landlord or the housing association has specific rules about what you can and cannot grow on the balcony. It will be a waste of time and resources, creating a beautiful balcony garden only for it to be removed later.
You have to be cautious and consider how much weight your balcony can support, as clusters of containers can get very heavy. You may choose lighter plastic pots over heavier terracotta or stone pots.
The higher up your balcony, the windier it is likely to be. Not all plants grow well in windy condition, some plants thrive, and others will curl up and die. It is crucial to choose the right plants that fit your balcony environment. However, you may modify your small space environment to expand your plant palette to a certain degree, by creating a windbreaker.
There are ways to create windbreaker artificially, by using netting or reed screens to filter, hence breaking the wind effectively. Or you could use larger plants that are wind tolerant like most plants with strong stems, to create a natural windbreak for sensitive and tender plants.
It is crucial to understand how much direct sunlight your balcony gets. This will predominantly determine which vegetables or plants will thrive and grow flourished in your balcony. Different type of plant or vegetable needs an unusual amount of direct sunlight. For example, tomatoes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. Salad leaves like lettuce; the spinach will grow well in the shady balcony with indirect sunlight.
Plants thrive in well-draining yet moist soil condition. Make sure to water regularly in hot, dry weather. A combination of hot sun and wind can dry out pots at an alarming speed too. If you have little time to water regularly during the hot, dry, windy season, install a drip irrigation system will solve the problem.
Vegetables that Suitable for Pot Gardening on Balcony
Most vegetable plants will thrive in the balcony garden under the right conditions as discussed above, and they include:
Tomatoes are a productive vegetable that you can grow in pots. Determinate type of tomatoes is more suitable to grow in the container. Given the right soil conditions, regular watering, right fertilizer at different growth stage and ample sunlight of at least 5 to 6 hours a day, your tomato plants will produce a bountiful of harvest.
Adding herbs into your balcony plants pallet is much recommended, as they are easy to grow in containers, and they will give you a lot more for your money if they are well taken care of. Herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Chives, Sage, Parsley, and Basil.
Chilies are ideal for balcony garden with ample sunlight. Plant small fruiting varieties such as Numex Twilight”, “Gardener’s Delight” or “Sweet Aperitif,” they will produce a prolonged harvest of chilies, perfect for snacking or salads, or making into a hot chilly paste.
Salad leaves such as Lettuce and Spinach, grow well in partial shade, well-draining yet moist soil. They are tender vegetables that dislike wind. Plant them in a wide container instead of a deep one. Growing them as cut-and-come-again makes more sense, as they will produce a prolonged harvest for your family to enjoy fresh salad leaves at all times.
Beans are easy to grow in containers, and they are very productive. Most beans are climbers and bushier type. They need a sunny spot with a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. They also require deep, wide pots, and a strong trellis-like structure for support. Grow them on a supportive trellis near a wall, and within weeks, they will produce beans running across the trellis.
Radishes are suitable for container gardening, and they are one of the fastest-growing vegetables. Plant them in a wide pot, and give a spacing of about 3 inches between each plant, to allow healthy growth.
Peas are the perfect crop for container gardening. Dwarf or bushier type of peas are preferable for balcony gardening. They don’t need a large pot, but they do require regular watering and ample sunlight.