More and more people are finding that growing a small vegetable garden can save money and provide food that is safe to eat. Using natural pesticides instead of dangerous toxins ensures a crop of food that is healthy and tasty. If you don’t have room to grow a garden in a backyard, patios and balconies offer an area for a small garden. When balconies or patios don’t offer lots of sun, there are ways to compensate.
Some vegetables don’t require as much sun as other varieties, so you can choose a variety that requires less sunlight. Another alternative is if one area of the balcony has full sunlight you can move a container of vegetables into that area for part of the day.
Planting in large containers allows growth of vegetables such as squash, large tomatoes, eggplants and bell peppers. A 5-gallon bucket container can hold vegetables such as beans, dwarf tomatoes, peas, bush cucumbers, carrots and several other vegetables. Window box type containers or other small pot containers work well for leafy green lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, radishes and herbs.
Vegetable Garden Containers
Growing vegetables and other plants in containers have become a popular choice for many people. Containers come in many colors, sizes, materials and shapes, allowing you to create a theme or a contrast for a balcony. Small containers are easy to move around from full sun to partial shade. Larger containers make maintenance easier and the vegetable grow larger. Large containers built into square, triangle or rectangular boxes, half barrels from whisky or wine barrels, and terracotta containers are among the most popular choices. Using a 5-gallon plastic bucket works well and it is deep enough to hold moisture and the sprawl of roots. Larger containers also allow you to plant a combination of vegetables and other attractive plants that help repel insects. Multi-tiered systems set in a corner of the balcony take up little room and provide several containers for vegetables.
Hanging Containers and Vertical Gardens
To get more use out of small balcony space, hanging containers are nice if there are areas to hang them. The upside-down planter has become popular in the past few years and offers more use of small spaces. The post or rails of a balcony work well as a trellis for climbing vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes and melons. Attaching a lattice panel to the railings or a wall allows climbing vegetable plants to grow without taking up much space.
Maintenance of Your Balcony Garden
Whatever type of container you choose for your vegetables, some maintenance is required to be successful. Watering is critical for container-grown vegetables. Plants of any type grown in containers require watering once or even twice a day. Hot sunny days, dry air and wind cause plants to dry out quickly. A few items required for maintenance besides water include containers with holes in the bottom, sterilized potting soil, water-soluble or slow-release fertilizers, hand pruners and a small shovel. Conserving moisture in larger containers is easier by using bark or straw for mulching.
Creating a small vegetable garden in your balcony is easy by using a well-drained container, the correct soil, and keeping it maintained with water, fertilizer, and the proper amount of sunlight.