There are a lot of vegetables that you can grow easily in a balcony garden. This post is all about the best vegetables for a balcony garden.
What are the best vegetables for a balcony garden? Here is the list of top 12 best vegetables for balcony garden:
- Chilies, peppers, and capsicum
- Okra or lady’s finger
Newspapers worldwide report the increasing amount of adulteration in food and the number of insecticides and pesticides used on vegetables. GMOs and artificially ripened fruits and vegetables are other issues.
Hence people all over the globe are skeptical and have started growing their own produce in whichever way possible. Production is easier in rural areas where you have cultivatable land as compared to cities where space is limited. In this blog, we will answer the most common question: What vegetables can you grow in your balcony garden?
There are a few issues that you face when it comes to growing vegetables in an apartment balcony garden. The shortage of space restricts the number of vegetables produced; space also affects the variety that you can produce at a given time.
Along with these, you will have to consider the weather and overall sun and shade situation of your balcony garden before you decide what you can plant, and also the water, and fertilizer requirements for vegetables may vary.
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Easy Tips to grow vegetables on balcony garden
Here are a few recommendations before we get into growing vegetables garden on a balcony.
- Tip 1: Vertical gardening increases the productivity of a balcony garden; you can plant more in minimal space.
- Tip 2: Consider the Lasagne method of cultivation – here you plant in the same pot after one plant yields fruit. Simply add a little soil and plant away. The withered plants will add the necessary nutrients to the soil making it fertile.
- Tip 3: Slow watering is the best form of watering where plants can soak in the water at a steady pace. Fast watering will reduce the amount of time you need to spend in the garden but it increases the chances of spillovers and the water may not be utilized by the plant effectively.
- Tip 4: Pay attention to the weight of the pots – buy lightweight pots as adding soil and the plant itself will make the pots heavy. So, buy pots that don’t initially weigh much.
- Tip 5: Don’t be in a rush to buy essentials. Live by the mantra: upscale, DIY, and then buy !!
Before we discuss the types of vegetables that can be grown in a balcony garden let’s start by making a list of the things you will require:
- Pots, planters, or upscaled containers for balcony vegetable garden
- Planting bags – these are optional you could either plant them directly in the pots or you could use planting bags and once the plants grow to about 4-5 inches you can transfer them to pots.
- Cocopeat – Made of coconut husk or coconut choir and is an excellent soil conditioner, it makes the soil less dense enabling the roots to breathe. It is not very expensive and can be purchased online or at your local plant nursery. It is available as a block weighing about a kilo.
It expands up to 5 times when water is added to it and needs to be mixed with soil and vermicompost to make a potting mix.
Here’s to use it:
- Take a bowl or vessel
- Break the cocopeat brick into small pieces depending on the amount you would like to add to the soil.
- Soak it for about 30 – 40 mins
- After it expands, add more water and let it sit for a while – As cocopeat is made using seawater soaking it will help get rid of the sea salt
- After a few minutes drain the excess water
- Dry it thoroughly – it should have dry mud-like consistency after completely dry
- Your cocopeat is now ready to use
- Pot mix – instead of using a store-bought pot mix, you can make your own by mixing 1/3 vermicompost to 1/3 soil and 1/3 cocopeat powder. Mix these well and add them to your pots or planters.
- Seeds – you could either go in for store-bought seeds or the ones germinated at home the choice is yours.
You may like, The Best Ways To Build A Vertical Vegetable Garden.
Germinating seeds at home for your balcony garden
There are two options
Either you bury them directly in the soil, water them for a few days and you see a green stalk grow out of the soil. Or Germinate them outside and then transfer them to the pot. This can be done using cotton wool or an empty eggshell filled with potting soil. You could also use newspaper or tissue paper as they can be buried along with the seed.
This method quickens the germination process. After the germination process id complete the saplings can be transferred to planters.
- Tools – At some point, you will need to invest in basic gardening tools for your balcony garden. These include tools to remove weed, mix the soil, prune the plants, etc.
- Gloves – it is a good idea to invest in decent quality gardening gloves to save your hands from the soil and dirt while gardening.
After you have the equipment for your garden, it’s time to decide what vegetables will grow in it. You need not start with many, start small, and increase the number of plants gradually, especially if you are new to balcony gardening.
Best vegetables for balcony garden
Here are a few vegetables that grow easily in your balcony garden without much hassle.
Tomatoes are the most productive vegetable to grow in pots. They come in different varieties, the easiest is to pick a tomato from your pantry cut it into four or more pieces. Then bury these pieces about ½ inch deep in a pot.
Remember tomatoes require a lot of sunlight. Water these regularly, in about 3-4 weeks you will begin to see seedlings growing. Tomato plants grow tall and might need support after a few months.
The size of the pots depends on the variety, smaller tomatoes can grow in small planters. If you choose the bigger variety, look for planters that are deep enough so that the plant can absorb the right amount of nutrients and water for the fruit to grow to its maximum potential.
Check out, Growing tomatoes on balcony Garden.
2. Chilies, peppers and capsicum
As these belong to the same family the planting method is the same. There are two methods to grow chilies/peppers.
The first one is fairly simple where you slice a chili, deseed it, put the seeds into a pot, water it for a few weeks and you will see a sapling grow.
In the second method, you take a few chillies/peppers and deseed them after that is done, the seeds need to be sun-dried for a day or two. You can either pack these to plant later or use an eggshell or cotton wool to germinate them. The germination process should take about a week after the process is complete you can transfer them into pots.
Chillies/peppers grow better in deep pots coupled with a sunny and warm climate. Put them in the sunniest corner of the balcony and you will be delighted with the produce.
Almost all varieties of beans are climbers. They can grow easily in pots but require deeper varieties of pots and planters so that they can grow strong. The stronger the vine the better the produce.
Like tomatoes, they need a sunny spot. You will need to plant these in a few pots or else the produce will not be sufficient.
To help them grow better you could construct a mesh-like structure for the creepers to grow on. This will give it the support that is needed. You could also use the window grill and guide the climbers around it.
Mint grows as weeds so it’s the most easy to plant. They multiply very fast and can be grown by planting just one market-bought stalk in the soil.
Simply remove the lower leaves of a stalk and plant it in a long planter. Place the planter in a sunny spot and watch it multiply.
Coriander plants grow well in soil that is less dense. For this first fill about 2 inches of the planter with gravel and then top it up with a layer of soil. Use seeds from your kitchen.
To plant, simply crush the seeds well and put them into the planter and cover them with a layer of soil. Water it and ensure that it receives enough sunlight.
After about a month you will be able to harvest about a bunch of coriander leaves.
Spinach grows in partial shade and any kind of space. They grow well in containers and don’t require much effort. For best results opt for a wide pot that is about 8 – 10 inches deep. Spinach seeds are easily available in the market.
If the conditions are right you should be able to harvest your balcony garden spinach in about 45 – 50 days.
Peas are available in different variants, for a balcony garden choose the dwarf or bushier variant. They require moderate conditions to survive and can grow well without much attention. As they don’t require a large planter, hence are best for a vertical or hanging garden.
Peas require moist soil to grow and hence you need to water them more often. Setting up a drip irrigation mechanism is a good idea as it will not only keep the soil moist but reduce effort. Keep them in a spot that receives a reasonable amount of sunlight and you are good to go.
7. Okra or lady’s finger
These plants love warm weather and the sun. hence it’s not very difficult to grow them in your balcony garden. Simply sow the seeds in a deep planter and water it regularly.
Okra requires more fertile soil as compared to other vegetables. The plants start to yield fruit in about 50 – 55 days the more fertile the soil the better the quality of the produce.
Garlic pods are easy to plant provided you have deep and wide pots. They require a lot of space to grow. To grow garlic simply plant individual pods at a distance of about 5-6 inches from each other.
Another option is to use multiple pots and plant single pods. You can plant them on a vertical garden as this will reduce the amount of space used.
Garlic takes about 3-4 months to grow and needs to be set out to dry after harvesting.
Like garlic, you can plant carrots in individual containers. This will help them grow better. Secondly, carrots need moist soil to grow well. Hence it is necessary to water them frequently or set up a self-watering mechanism.
If the soil is not kept moist the roots will dry out and crack. In about 3 months you should have carrots ready to eat.
Radishes are one of the fastest-growing vegetables. They take about 22 to 70 days to grow. As there are many variants check the harvesting date before planting the seeds.
As radish grows below the soil, they need a deep pot and can be planted in separate containers to avoid overcrowding.
Cucumbers require a lot of water to grow. These heavy feeders need to be watered regularly and need a medium to a large pot to grow well. They require a lot of sunlight and can be harvested in a few months.
Eggplants love the heat and grow well in hot temperatures and can be grown year long. You can grow about 2 to 3 eggplants in large planters. This will save space and increase productivity.
A word of caution though, eggplants are susceptible to many garden pests hence you will need to be careful to keep pests away, as they might infect other plants as well.
- How to grow eggplant from seed
- When to harvest eggplant
- How often do eggplants need to be watered?
- Best Ways to Grow Onions
We can, therefore, see that growing vegetables in a balcony garden is not a difficult task. You only need to have the right planters and soil. We also saw how potting mixture can be made at home, with this you are sure of the quality and do not have to spend on pre-mixed soil variants available at the local plant nursery.
Growing vegetables in balcony garden might take time and effort but cooking your own produce is extremely satisfying. Start balcony gardening today the efforts are definitely worth it…
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.