If you live in a small apartment, limited to a few square feet of indoor space, do not worry! You can still grow vegetables and herbs – even on an apartment balcony.
When people move into an apartment or condo, the balcony is usually the first place they spot to grow their vegetables.
Having a balcony of your own and the ability to grow vegetables in urban settings gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to healthy eating.
All you need to do is get the suitable pots and the right plants, and follow some simple but effective growing tips that any novice gardener can follow.
So, if you are keen on starting to grow your veggies but wondering about possibilities and space limitations, read on for helpful advice.
Little Tricks to Growing Vegetables Easily in Your Apartment
Growing vegetables on your apartment balcony can be a bit of a challenge. There is limited space and many factors to consider. Here are some tips for growing vegetables quickly on an apartment balcony:
Select the Right Pots
The size of your pots will determine whether you can grow certain plants or not. For example, if you want to plant tomatoes in pots, consider using one about 5 inches deep.
This will give enough root space for the plant to thrive on its own without becoming root bound.
The container also needs to be large enough to allow the plant to grow without crowding out other plants in the same container.
Avoid Planting in Containers Without Drainage Holes
Plants need water to grow and thrive. However, if the soil gets too wet, it may cause root rot and other diseases that could kill your plant.
To avoid these issues, ensure each container has drainage holes at the bottom. This will ensure that excess water can drain out quickly when needed.
This will also help prevent mold growth on the surface of the soil, which can also lead to problems.
Use Soil Containing Compost or Vermiculite
Soil that contains compost or vermiculite is more likely to retain moisture than soil without these additives.
This will help prevent your plants from drying out too quickly, which can be problematic if you live in an area with sweltering summers or long periods without rain.
If your soil does not contain compost or vermiculite, you might want to add some when planting your seeds. Doing so will ensure they have something to start growing in immediately.
Put Planters on Casters to Follow the Sun
Plants need light to grow; however, getting enough sunlight on a small balcony can be challenging.
To ensure they get the best exposure possible, it might be worth putting planters on casters and rolling them around as needed.
This way, they always face east or west, depending on where the sun rises and sets.
Install a Vertical Wall for Trailing Plants
When it comes to growing plants in small spaces, nothing beats a vertical wall. A vertical wall allows you to grow many different plants without taking up too much space.
There are lots of options available online. However, building one yourself is also an option if you are handy with tools.
Vertical walls can be made from several materials, including wood and PVC piping. Ensure they are sturdy enough not to topple over when loaded with produce.
Grow an Array of Crops with Different Harvest Times
Plant different types of vegetables so that you have something to harvest throughout the growing season.
For example, plant lettuce early in spring when temperatures are cool and leafy greens are still tender but not bitter.
Then plant cucumbers, which need warm weather and lots of water but will continue producing through summer until they begin fruiting in late summer or early fall.
Plant tomatoes later in summer to produce fruit during the winter months when not much else is growing outdoors.
Use Organic, Nutrient-Rich Soil
Organic soil is better for your plants than chemical fertilizers, which may contain heavy metals or toxins. It also has more plant nutrition, which means more delicious produce.
If you have access to composted manure or other organic matter in soil, great! If not, make your own by adding compost or mulch. You can also add fertilizer such as blood meal if necessary.
Choose Easy-to-Grow Veggies
It is best to choose vegetables that are easy to grow and produce quickly so that you can see results sooner rather than later.
You can find plenty of information about which vegetables are easy to grow, so you should be able to pick out some good candidates.
If you are new to gardening, try growing some of the easiest vegetables we discuss below.
Easy-to-Grow Vegetables That Will Thrive on a Small Balcony
You can grow many kinds of vegetables if you have a balcony or a patio. Here are some suggestions for which ones are best suited to container gardening on a balcony:
Leafy greens like kale and spinach do not need much sunlight to grow. They can be grown indoors in pots or on a balcony.
These vegetables are easy to grow but require careful watering and harvesting to ensure a high yield. The best time to plant leafy greens is early spring or fall, depending on your climate.
You will have to water them regularly, so they do not dry out. The leaves are edible right after harvest. However, you can also store them in the refrigerator for up to one week if necessary.
Arugula is related to rocket lettuce, but it has a more robust flavor and peppery taste than lettuce. It is also better at tolerating heat and dry conditions than lettuce.
If you live in an area with hot summers, arugula is a good choice for your garden. This is because it will not molt as quickly as other greens when it gets too hot outside.
Tomatoes are another excellent choice for apartment dwellers who want fresh produce but do not have much space. Tomatoes can be grown in pots and produce fruit faster than many other plants.
So they are ideal if you want to get some fresh tomatoes quickly. If you are growing your tomatoes indoors, make sure to give them plenty of light so they will produce healthy fruit.
Peppers are a great vegetable that can grow quickly on your apartment balcony. They can be grown in pots or directly on the ground.
The best way to grow it is by buying the plant from a nursery and planting it in pots. When you have a lot of space, you can plant them in the ground.
Peppers are easy to grow as they need little care and attention. The only thing you need to remember is to water them every day but not overwater them.
This is because overwatering may cause rot on their stem and other parts. The best time to water them is early morning or late evening when there is less sun exposure.
Broccoli is one of the easiest vegetables to grow while requiring some time. However, once you have the basics down, it is easy to keep growing new heads of broccoli throughout the season.
You can start broccoli seeds indoors in flats or pots. Make sure you do so about six to eight weeks before your area’s last expected frost date.
Once your seedlings are about 4 inches tall, transplant them into larger containers. This way, they will have room to grow more extensive roots before being planted outside.
If possible, plant your broccoli in a raised bed or container. Doing so will ensure more room for root growth before transplanting into the ground or garden bed when the danger of frost has passed.
If you are planting directly in your garden bed, ensure it has been well amended with compost and manure beforehand. This will ensure they have plenty of nutrients as they grow larger over time.
Pea is a quick-growing crop that can be planted in a small space. The vines of peas are climbing, and they require trellis support for climbing.
The vines are very productive and produce good-quality pods which are edible when young. The vines should be planted at a distance of 2 feet apart, and the seeds should be sown about 1 inch deep in the soil.
The pods grow quickly and need to be harvested before they become tough. However, some varieties of peas can be left on the vine until they begin to shrivel up.
Beets are another great vegetable for small spaces since they are easy to grow. Beets can be grown in cool weather but will taste better if you wait until after the last frost date before planting them outside.
Beets will grow well during the warmer months of summer as well as late spring through fall, depending on where you live.
Just make sure they get at least 8 hours of sunlight each day to grow properly.
Turnips are another great vegetable to grow in containers. Turnip seeds must be planted in early spring or late summer for a fall harvest.
They prefer well-drained soil that has been enriched with compost or fertilizer prior to planting.
However, suppose you have poor drainage on your balcony. In this case, you may want to add some compost to your soil before planting to hold water better.
Common Mistakes People Make When Growing Vegetables on a Balcony
If you want to grow vegetables on an apartment balcony, here are some mistakes to avoid:
Placing Plants Too Close Together
Placing plants too close together will stunt their growth. It will also prevent them from producing as many vegetables as possible if given more space between them.
Some plants also require different amounts of sunlight than others. So be sure to give each plant the amount of light it needs to grow properly.
Planting Too Many Seeds or Plants at Once
You do not want your plants fighting over nutrients. So limit yourself to three or four plants per square foot.
This will ensure they have enough room to spread out their roots without competing for space.
Not Enough Watering
Vegetables need water to grow properly — just like any other plant. Without enough water, plants will wilt and die from dehydration.
To make sure your plants always have enough water, set up an automatic watering system. You can run it at regular intervals throughout the day and at night. Be sure not to overwater though
Grow Your Veggies
We have outlined the key aspects of growing vegetables on an apartment balcony and which ones to grow for the most leisurely start.
We hope this information will prove helpful and that you have a green thumb. Do not let a lack of space stymie your vegetable gardening this year.
Other articles you may also like