You’d like to indulge in the joys of gardening and enjoy fresh vegetables that you’ve grown yourself… But you don’t have a backyard or land around your home. Worse, you live in a city apartment and only have a mini balcony. But that’s enough! If your mini terrace gets at least 6 hours of direct sunshine every day, you can turn it into a vegetable garden. Let’s get to work!
Questions to ask yourself before you start
Before you get your hands on the soil, you should clearly visualize your future garden.
How much space do you have?
Could water flows disturb the neighbours below, and if so, how can you channel the water so you don’t make enemies?
Does your balcony receive enough sunlight, is it sheltered from the wind?
If you are going on holiday, will someone be able to water your garden?
Which pots, which soil?
When space is limited, it is essential to think carefully about how you will use it. There are several options available to help you make the best use of your balcony. An assortment of different methods will allow you to optimize your crops.
Pots that are placed on the ground
It is best to raise them slightly using a wooden plank and a few bricks for example. Also, even if you prefer the appearance of earthen pots, be aware that plants that grow in plastic pots require less frequent watering because the water evaporates less quickly.
The famous window boxes
They are perfect for edible herbs and flowers.
You can plant cherry tomatoes, strawberries, peas or any other kind of plant whose branches easily bend by themselves as they grow.
Take advantage of the trellises that sometimes cover balconies to exploit them with climbing plants. Or install them along the wall.
Install shelves on the walls (or recycle an old bookcase) to use the space above.
The potting soil for flowers and vegetables sold in garden centres is ideal for a balcony garden. You can, if you wish, enrich it with a little compost.
To prevent water from evaporating too quickly on hot summer days, it is best to cover the soil (once the plants are out) with a mulch made of dry straw or wood chips (also available at garden centres).
What do you grow?
Of course, for a miniature garden, we choose vegetables that will fit in a small space and will not take up all your balcony. The following species will flourish with a minimum of care and will delight your eyes and taste buds:
- Aromatic herbs of all kinds: basil, dill, oregano, thyme, chives, etc.
- Tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes: this is a great classic that you can’t get away from.
- There are several species of dwarf vegetables, such as some zucchini or eggplant and some peppers. These small vegetables are perfectly suited to growing in small spaces.
- Cucumbers and gherkins love to be planted high up: place them in a pot hanging from the balcony above yours, then tie the stems to a trellis placed against the wall as they grow (to support the weight of the vegetables).
- Radishes: they are perfect for gardeners in a hurry, as they grow quickly.
- And if you have a sweet tooth, you might also consider strawberries, raspberries or ground cherries.