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How to grow vegetables on your balcony

By Maha

Published: July 11th, 2018

Up your veggie intake with just a little balcony space.

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Living in a city doesn’t have to mean missing out on fresh organic vegetables and herbs at home. Even with the (teeniest) tiniest balcony, you can create a thriving kitchen garden of your very own. Not only can you consume what you harvest, you’ll feel like a proud parent as you watch your veggies grow.

You’re going to love casually popping out to pluck some mint leaves for your Pimms this summer. And with a blossoming balcony allotment, there really won’t be any excuse to not meet your 5-a-day quota anymore.

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started with growing vegetables in London:

Start with herbs

New to the world of edible gardening? Kick off with planting herbs. Why? They’re super easy to grow and all they need is a few hours of sunlight. It’s a good idea to start small to see what you can maintain before you go all out.

Mint, basil, parsley, oregano, try them all. And hey, you might even get inspired to try a new mix of flavours in your cooking.

Consider hanging plants for limited space

If you’re the proud owner of a smaller balcony, don’t let that get in the way of you and your fresh veg. Opt for vertical gardening to maximise your space. Check out some ideas below:

Create a DIY wall planter

urban allotments

Source: Pinterest – zinawright.typepad.com

Use a hanging shoe organiser for your herbs

Gardening Services in London

Source: Pinterest – instructables.com

Hang plant pots in rows to maximise space

urban allotments

Source: Pinterest – bhg.com

Position plants based on sunlight access

Most plants will require 6 hours of sunshine a day. Some, such as root vegetables, can get by on less. This is why you need to put a little time and effort into planning your micro allotment. You should arrange your plants based on their own specific needs. Some will be needier than others.

It also helps to arrange your pots before you pour the soil so they’re easier to move around.

Choose deep pots which retain moisture for longer

Small pots tend to dry quickly, so opt for deeper pots to keep the soil most. It’s especially important to use larger pots if you’re growing big veg such as courgettes, peppers and tomatoes. For vegetables of this size, choose pots that are around 40cm deep. For herbs and smaller veg such as carrots or radishes, 20cm deep should be sufficient for them to thrive.

Use a soil-less potting blend

A soil-less potting medium is lighter and good at retaining moisture.  Paired with an organic fertiliser, it should result in some plump and juicy home grown veg. So much better than store-bought.

Consistent care is key

Though balcony allotments are fairly low maintenance, you’ll need to take a little time out of hectic city life to care for your babies. Consistent watering, fertilising, and pruning is important. Seed packets will tell you all you need to know about specific care instructions.

Don’t let the maintenance factor stress you out, as most plants won’t need much watering and pruning is only required every so often. Things just gets a little out of hand if you neglect them for a while. If you need help caring for your balcony garden while you’re away, there are plenty of great gardening services in London.

Combine different types of veg into one pot based on needs

Want to combine more than one plant into one pot? It’s generally a good idea. Pair plants into pots based on their needs. For instance, lettuce and herbs are great companions as they have similar requirements for water and fertiliser. Aubergines and beans also go well together.

Avoid incompatible combinations to make caring for your urban allotment easier.

Need some help in the gardening? Find trusted and local gardeners in London with Airtasker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maha

I love iced coffees, baby alpacas and far-flung adventures.

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