I’m going into my sixth season of growing on our balcony and today I wanted to share with you some of the tips and tricks I have learned over that time. We’ve been so lucky to be slowly developing our own allotment this year, but that doesn’t render my balcony useless, the opposite in fact. This year I plan to utilise both the balcony and the allotment to grow a whole host of fruit and veggies to hopefully help us become a little more self-sustainable.
It’s not about the space but the way you use it to grow!
I often hear from people that they don’t have a lot of space so they think that they can’t really do much growing, and trust me, I felt like that the first year I thought about growing on my balcony too. However, it turns out a 1m x 4m balcony is just perfect for growing a whole host of different fruits and veggies. You really don’t need to have a big garden to delve into growing a whole host of things, especially if you think that most people aren’t using the entirety of their gardens for growing like you would an allotment anyway. I’ve put together this fun list of 5 simple things you can grow on your balcony or in a small space this spring/summer season.
Tomatoes are a firm favourite in our house to be grown in pots, and there are so many different varieties that we like to try a few different things. Tomatoes work great in pots that you can stand on balconies, patios, in gardens and allotments. They also do great hanging too.
This coming season I plan to do almost all of my tomatoes in pots, both on the balcony, hanging on the balcony and also in pots at the allotment.
Strawberries are one of those fruits that I find so versatile, come back year after year (with the right care) and at the end of their fruiting life give you runners to help your strawberries live on. We bought a few strawberry plants in our first year living here and they have given us an abundance of fruit every year. Last year they lost their steam when it came to fruiting and we were able to get 5 wonderful runners to keep them going. I find them extremely easy to look after, grow and overwinter ahead of next year. We live high up on a hill where the balcony can get particularly weather-beaten but the strawberries always do great. I overwinter my plants just outside as normal and they always come back year after year. This winter I am overwintering my runners in an unheated greenhouse.
You can grow from seed, purchase strawberry plants or find someone giving away runners to start your own little strawberry crop.
This year I am going to be growing strawberries on the balcony in hanging pots, in the ground at the allotment, and also in pots at the allotment. I cannot wait to see what abundance of fruit we can get this year.
You might think this is a weird one to try and grow on a balcony but wait, hear me out. While beetroot probably does better in the ground by its very nature, and you’ll obviously be limited by the amount you can grow on a balcony, beetroot does surprisingly well in pots. In the 2021 growing season, we went all out with our balcony and beetroot was something we really enjoyed growing. The seeds were really easy to raise up, they grew wonderfully out in our little unheated greenhouse and we grew a number of them on in hanging pots.
We have grown all kinds of peppers on the balcony over the last 5+ years: Sweet Peppers, Chilli Peppers and Banana peppers being some of our favourites.
(FYI, don’t ever cut a banana pepper and then touch your eye, trust me on that one).
Some you can also overwinter in a greenhouse (not something I have tried yet) to keep your plants going year after year.
Herbs are a quick win for me and I love having access to home grown herbs for fun dinners and salads throughout the spring, summer and early autumn. With most herbs you can just cut off what you need and carry on growing the rest to ensure you have ample access to herbs as you need them. I like to grow my herbs outside but you can also grow them on sunny window ledges inside too.
Try anything once
I find growing in a small space such a thrill, it is great to see what works (almost everything) and what doesn’t (carrots and parsnips are a hard one in pots). Above everything else, just check when your seeds can be planted outside to protect from frosts and have fun!