Do you live in an apartment? If you do, you may not have any space for a typical garden that you would find in the backyard of a suburban home. But don’t let your tiny space stop you from realizing your dream of having fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables. All you need to do is create a balcony garden. Read on to learn how to do this, and you’ll be cooking meals with fresh foods in no time.
How to Create a Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Balcony Garden
You can grow your very own mini-orchard on the balcony of your apartment. There are a number of fruits that are well-suited to apartment gardening and grow beautifully outdoors in a pot or window box. For most of these, you’ll need a pot that’s at least 30″ in diameter and has holes for drainage. You’ll need at least 1 foot in depth, plus room for good drainage material, like pebbles or stones. And don’t forget something like a pan underneath to catch any water, especially if there’s another balcony below yours. Apartment gardening means being a good neighbor, as well. Here are some fruits that you can grow:
Strawberries can be grown in a window box, a pot, or on a balcony. They don’t need more than 12″ soil depth but do need to get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Make sure to water them enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. Harvesting strawberries is a little like a treasure hunt, with many at leaf-level but much more hiding down by the soil line. Don’t overlook any!
Citrus trees can be grown on a balcony in a surprisingly small area. Whether you start from a seed or a small indoor fruit tree you will love enjoying fresh fruit year after year. Citrus trees require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. They like humid weather so if you live in an area with low humidity, spray your tree with a lukewarm mist about every other day. You will want to make sure to keep the soil moist but more on the dry side, so weekly watering should be sufficient.
Yes, you can have a grapevine on your balcony! Start the plant in a pot that’s next to a wall (make sure it still gets sunlight) and train the vine to climb the wall. You’ll want to be sure there’s plenty of ventilation to prevent mildewing. Keep soil moist but not wet.
There are a lot of vegetable plants that will grow in containers outdoors, making them good choices for apartment gardening. Yes, you can grow veggies on your balcony! Most vegetables will need to be grown in a pot that’s at least 30″ in diameter and has holes for drainage. You’ll need at least 1 foot in depth, plus room for good drainage material, like pebbles or stones. And don’t forget to put something underneath to catch any water. Be a good neighbor as well as a good apartment gardener. Here are a few vegetables that grow well in pots:
Artichokes that grow straight up will do just fine, assuming the soil is deep enough (at least 1 foot). The same is true for root plants like carrots and onions.
Tomatoes grow nicely in a pot. Consider one plant per 30″-diameter pot. You’ll want a tomato cage or a bamboo stick for tying the plant once it gets large enough that it starts to droop.
Peppers grow nicely on a balcony or patio. They are a good choice for growing in a window box, as long as the container can hold at least 12” of soil and has holes for good drainage. After you fill your garden container with potting soil, spread the seeds around and then cover them with 1/4″ of soil. When your peppers begin to sprout after a couple of weeks, consider trimming down some of the plants to allow the others to really thrive. Peppers require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Water them enough so the soil remains moist but not soggy (usually about every 2-3 days depending on how dry your climate is). Most peppers will be ready to harvest in about 2 months.
Growing your own garlic is so simple! You will need a garden pot at least 8” deep. Mix potting soil and gardening sand at a 3/1 ratio. Fill your pot, leaving about 1″ of space at the top. All you need to begin growing garlic is a conventional garlic bulb, preferably organic. Take a clove with skin on and hold the pointy end up. Push the clove, pointy side up, about 1″ into the soil. Water enough to keep the soil moist (not soggy). If planting more than one clove, make sure to keep at least 4″ between each. Make sure you give your garlic plants direct sunlight at least 8 hours per day. Your garlic will begin to sprout green sprouts from the top. You will know when it is time to harvest when the sprouts begin to turn yellow-brown about 2/3 the way down. Don’t pull the garlic out by the sprouts—make sure you use a small shovel. Once you harvest your garlic, let it dry for about a week. Store your garlic in a cool dry place.
Growing herbs on a balcony is an ideal way to enjoy a garden without much time commitment. And, as anyone who has bought herbs at the grocery store lately can attest, knowing how to grow your own herbs can save you a lot of money. It’s actually fairly simple to grow herbs on an apartment balcony, as long as you have the correct combination of sunlight and potting conditions.
Start with a pot that is up to 12″ deep and has holes for drainage. You can go with a shallower depth, but a few herbs (like parsley) require close to a foot of soil. Have a pan underneath for drainage.
Here are some specific tips on apartment gardening with herbs:
- Rosemary: Rosemary is very hardy, not only in the flavor it imparts but in its growing requirements. It doesn’t need to be watered every day, and it needs only 4-6 hours direct sunlight a day.
- Chives grow year-round and can stay outside as long as the temperature doesn’t dip too far below freezing for more than 12 hours or so. It’s okay in partial shade, but direct sun is even better. Keep soil moist but not wet.
- Thyme needs to be on the slightly dry side, so don’t overwater. It spreads, but since it’s a low-growing plant, feel free to let it fill in the gaps of a planter and act as a sort of ground cover.
- Mint, on the other hand, needs its own pot, because it will take over anything in which it’s planted. But boy, will it make your balcony smell lovely!
Apartment Gardening Balcony Solutions
Below are a few apartment gardening balcony solutions. Use one or more to customize your apartment gardening!
Adjustable Railing Planter Box
Dress up your balcony with an adjustable railing planter box! These innovative boxes make it easy to add a beautiful garden to your apartment’s balcony. Each railing planter box has sturdy brackets that adjust from 1″ to 4-1/4″ to hold tight to a variety of railings (not suitable for rounded type rails), and a removable water reservoir tray. The adjustable railing planter box is durable and weather-resistant so you can use them all year round!
Raised Planter on Wheels
You can contain a garden that’s simple and beautiful with a raised planter on wheels. It’s ideal for gardening in small spaces or if you have limited mobility. This raised planter is ergonomically designed and convenient to reach from all sides. It creates a waist-high garden that eliminates bending. Plus, the height prevents weed seeds from blowing in and helps keep critters out. If you’re worried about the planter moving, don’t be. The 2 non-wheeled legs are firm to the ground so it will remain stationary. The raised planter will make a great addition to your apartment’s balcony.
Self-Watering Square Planter
If you travel or aren’t available to water your garden easily, the self-watering square planter is a great solution for you. The double-wall design and sub-irrigation systems (encourages root growth) are functional, and the shape and clean lines are fresh and modern so you can group all of them together to make an interesting collection. The water reservoir holds up to 6-1/2 gallons. Approximately 8-gallon soil capacity holds even larger plants!
Stackable Garden Planters
Customize your garden with stackable garden planters! You can grow 16 plants or more in small vertical space with this clever stackable planter. The tiers are self-watering; simply water the top tier and let the water flow down to the bottom layer in one simple step. Stacked on top of one another, they’ll create a beautiful natural arrangement. When you’re not using them, you can easily store them away.
Wooden Raised Garden Table
With a raised garden bed or table, you can enjoy comfortable gardening nearly anywhere. And the best part is, it won’t take up a lot of space. The sturdy raised planter’s V-Shaped design allows you to grow deep-rooted vegetables like tomatoes in the center, with shallow-rooted plants around the edges. The comfortable waist-high working height allows you to tend your garden without bending or kneeling. Having an elevated gardening table can also help to reduce the number of weeds and ground pests that afflict standard gardens. The wood raised garden table is crafted of plantation-grown fir so it’s built to last!