When spring and summer come along, it’s natural to start thinking about those delicious summer vegetables and fruits that come with the warm seasons. Even renters can get in on the gardening activities by cultivating your favorite vegetables, herbs, and beautiful blooms on your rooftop, terrace, or balcony.
Ready to turn your balcony into your own backyard farmers market? These tips will help you make the most of your balcony vegetable garden.
Map Out Your Space:
All great gardens start out with a lot of planning; this is especially important when you are dealing with limited space. While you might be excited to put on your gardening gloves and get to work, the real factor in your garden’s success is in the planning stages. You will need to evaluate your usage goals for the balcony in addition to the level of sunlight available.
Evaluating Your Balcony Use:
Assess your balcony area honestly. Decide how much room do you need to successfully enjoy the space. Do you or your housemates want to still be able to access the area and sit outside on warm summer nights, or would you rather optimize your space for as much plant growth as possible? If you would like to use the balcony to relax, you will need to include furniture of some sort in your plans. It can be helpful to select your furniture ahead of time so you know exactly how much room you will have left for plants.
For instance, opting for pouf ottomans and a small accent table may allow you more growing room than a traditional bistro balcony set. If you truly want the best of both worlds, you can consider placing some pots on rollers to easily bring them indoors when you would like to be hosting outside. A small folding table is a perfect option here.
Evaluating The Sunlight Your Balcony Receives:
Map out your space accordingly. Be sure to evaluate how much direct and indirect sunlight your balcony gets and where. A building or tree next to your balcony may mean that only half of your space is viable for full sun plants. Alternatively, your apartment’s architecture and location may mean that your balcony only gets full sun, or is only shaded throughout the growing season. Mapping out your space with all of this information in mind will help you to create a plan for your garden for optimal growth. Remember, be honest at this stage, wishful thinking will only result in dead plants or lackluster blooms.
Decide on Your Plants:
Choosing the perfect plants for your garden seems like the fun part, but when you have a small space, be prepared to face some challenges. This is precisely why it’s crucial to map out your space before creating a mental checklist of all that you would like to grow. Some plants require more space than others, so be prepared to say no to space-hogging plants entirely, or to only plant one or two. Squashes and cucumbers, for instance, require room to grow outward along the ground, and their large space needs could take up your garden entirely. While you may be discouraged, don’t fear, vertically growing plants can be an excellent option for your balcony garden, and clever potting options can maximize your growing area even further. Plants like lettuces and herbs are easy to grow in tight spaces, and still provide a delicious addition to your spring and summer meals.
Unfortunately, it is significantly harder to combat the amount of sunlight your space receives. If your space is shaded for much of the day, you need to select your plant accordingly to see optimal growth. Along with fruits and vegetables, don’t be afraid to add beautiful blooms to your space for visual appeal. If you truly want a harvestable garden, planting edible flowers can provide outdoor beauty and add delicious flavor to your next home-cooked dish.
Select Your Containers:
Since you do not have ready-access to plant in the ground, containers are obviously key to planting a balcony garden. Selecting the right containers for the plants you would like to grow is a pivotal element to ensure that you are utilizing your space wisely, as well as ideally, projecting a pleasant atmosphere. Great container gardens require adequate drainage, the ability to regularly water them easily, and must not be too heavy to live on your balcony. DIY or storebought verticle planters are a no-brainer choice when it comes to maximizing your gardening space, and with some creativity, you can find the perfect planter for your aesthetic. However, don’t forget about hanging baskets, or even wall pocket planters that can allow you to use vertical space without compromising your floor space. Just be certain that whatever you use has your landlord or property manager’s approval before you begin. Large planters on casters can be beautiful and can be moved around as your space requires–these can also be an excellent choice.
It’s finally time to truly enjoy the space! Now that you have done all the planning, dig in. Get your hands dirty and prepare to enjoy a delicious harvest in a matter of weeks. Creating the perfect vegetable garden on your balcony may involve a lot of initial planning, but you can use this same layout to enjoy a beautiful space and a delicious harvest for years to come.