Balconies are an excellent place for a mini garden. You can plant a few favorite plants or a wide variety of vegetables. There is a lot of potential with a balcony garden. Don't let lack of space be why you aren't growing fresh vegetables!
Balcony Garden Basics
- Before you get started, make sure to get approval from the landlord or housing association, if necessary.
- Inspect the balcony to verify it can support heavy soil-filled pots. The best place to put the heaviest pots is over the support joists.
- Determine how much wind your balcony gets. Balconies higher up will get more wind. If it is really strong, you will need to invest in windbreak screens or netting. Or you can pick plants that can thrive in a windy environment.
- Measure how much direct sun your balcony gets. Then, choose your plants accordingly. Some plants need a lot of direct sun, while others are okay in shady locations.
Maximizing SpaceA simple balcony garden can have just a few planted pots sitting directly on the balcony floor. However, if you want more variety and higher yields, there are options for increasing the available space. The primary way to accomplish this is by increasing vertical space. Use one method for enhancing vertical space or use several -- however many it takes to reach your harvest goals.
We highly recommend drawing a map of the balcony and planning out the space before you plant anything.
A trellis is excellent for vegetables with climbing vines, like cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, melons, peas, and beans. Garden stores offer many trellis styles, and it shouldn't be too difficult to find one or adapt one to fit your space. Make sure to secure the trellis to your wall or railings. You don't want it to fall over when heavy foliage and vegetables are growing. It is especially crucial when dealing with larger vegetables like pumpkins and melons.
Shelves provide a quick and easy space expansion on your balcony. They come in various heights and shelf layouts. Shelving generally isn't expensive and can increase your space exponentially. If your balcony is big enough, set up several shelves and you'll have a good-sized garden. Again, ensure the shelves are secured firmly to your wall or railings. The last thing you want is for them to tip over in high winds or from the weight of the full garden pots.
Balcony railings are a great place to attach window boxes. Window boxes are available in various lengths and widths. Even a small window box will add a new opportunity to the balcony garden.
A modular planter is a planting box that fits into an otherwise inaccessible gardening spot. Modular planters are segmented boxes that are often curved or rounded to fit in various spaces. Use can use them individually or combine them to create a specific design. These are incredibly wonderful if your balcony is odd-shaped, or some spaces would be unusable otherwise because of their unusual shape.
Greenhouses come in many shapes and sizes, even ones designed specifically for balconies. A balcony greenhouse is excellent because it provides more vertical space. A greenhouse also extends the growing season by protecting your plants when the weather is cold. You can use a mini-greenhouse to start seedlings and protect them until they are hardy enough to be fully exposed to the elements.
Hang baskets from railings and walls for added growing space. If you have good, stable wall space, installing several hooks to hang baskets is a great way to increase gardening space. Previously unusable space is now prime gardening real estate.