The lack of a yard should not keep you from growing vegetables.
With a few containers and some space on a sunny balcony, you can grow your favorite organic vegetables. Some plants are more suited to growing in a small space than others.
For example, if you want to grow tomatoes, choose a determinate or dwarf variety rather than a vining, indeterminate variety.
Lettuces, peppers and leafy greens are other great picks for a balcony garden.
Choose the vegetables to grow based on what you like to eat and the amount of sun your balcony receives on an average day.
Most fruiting plants, such as cucumbers and tomatoes, need at least five hours of sunlight daily or at least eight hours for the best results.
If your balcony is partially shaded during the day, choose vegetables such as chard, kale and lettuce, which need less sun. Seedlings and seed packets usually have information that tells you the amount of sun required.
Plant the vegetables in the appropriate containers.
Lettuce, peppers and greens have shallow roots and only need 8-inch-deep containers. Tomatoes have large root systems and require a 5-gallon container at minimum. You can use made of metal, wood, ceramic or food-grade plastic. Each container needs to have a drainage hole so water does not collect in the soil and cause the roots to rot.
Arrange the containers on the balcony in a way that makes sense to you and that looks visually appealing
For example, if you have a few large pots and several small ones, put the larger pots behind the smaller ones.
Fill each container three-quarters full with organic container mix.
If you are planting from seed, plant the seeds according to the instructions on the seed packet. A good rule of thumb is to plant a seed twice as deep as its diameter. Plant multiple seeds per container.
If you are planting seedlings, dig a hole twice as large as the plant’s roots. Place the roots in the soil, then cover with container mix and a handful of compost.
Water each container to thoroughly soak its soil after planting.
Container-grown plants dry out more quickly than in-ground plants, so you might need to water daily.
Fertilize the containers every month or so.
Most container mixes have enough fertilizer in them to feed your plants for up to two months. You can dig a small amount of compost into the container mix or use a commercially available, organic fertilizer.
Things You Will Need
Containers of various sizes, with drainage holes
Organic container soil
Vegetable seeds and seedlings
Compost or other organic fertilizer