If you’re like myself and love growing your own fruit and vegetables, moving to a new flat with a balcony and minimal growing space can be a bit of a challenge. When it comes to balconies as a useable space, it is vital that every square inch is utilised. Balconies are also usually you only private outdoor space, so they are going to have more than one use in such as small space like seating, dining, and growing.
However, there are quite a few fruits and vegetables that you can grow on your balcony. I will immediately rule out attempting to grow a Pumpkin ‘Giant Atlantic’ like I did last year (Note: I did not grow one on a balcony!). Right plant, right place, right pot is something to consider when growing your fruit and veg. You need to think about the aspect of your balcony and what stock is going to thrive in those conditions and the pot sizes that your chosen stock can grow in and whether it leaves you enough room to enjoy the rest of your balcony space.
Unless your balcony has glass balustrades, then having pots that hang onto your railings is a great space saver as this takes up zero floor space. This is the perfect place to grow your herbs such thyme, mint, sage, etc. You can also grow trailing strawberries here, especially if your garden is south facing like mine. Hanging pots are also a fantastic space saver as once again you can grow your herbs and trailing strawberries or even trailing tomatoes as these, as well as fruit and vegetables will also provide fantastic aromas.
If you have an enclosed balcony with a wall either side then why not grow a tomato, runner beans, cucumber, or any climbing vegetable up the wall. This is a brilliant way to create a functional green wall that you can gain produce from and will disguise any solid façade that you have. Ensure that you do water well, potentially twice in summer months. These plants in particular do need training up a bamboo cane or trellis!
Pots the most common way of growing on your balcony. But the choice of crop needs to be taken under consideration as you will find it extremely difficult to grow crops that need a deep growing space such as rhubarb, sweet potato and squash. The ideal plants that can thrive in shallow planting beds are brussel sprouts, lettuce, potatoes and broccoli. You are even able to grow carrots on your balcony, one of advantages is that you are able to control the compost that you put in the pot. I would recommend a well drained, loose and lightweight compost as this is perfect for the carrots roots. Make sure that you water them regularly as pots tend to dry out quicker and carrots love to be slightly moist but not soaked! My particular favourite to grow is Carrot ‘Paris Market’ which is essentially a round carrot!