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Sometimes you don’t have a big yard to work with or the ability to get on your hands and knees to plant vegetables. And a balcony vegetable garden is a good way to battle that issue.
But if you want a balcony vegetable garden, you’ll have to grow vegetables in pots.
There are steps you have to take and tips to keep in mind for this vegetable garden to go well.
We’re going to share our top tips for growing vegetables in pots. If you want to succeed, this article is going to get you there.
Before you know it, you’ll have fresh growing vegetables and herbs on your balcony.
The Pot or Container for the Vegetables
You need something to plant your vegetables in since you don’t have a yard to work with. Planting pots or a planter are the best way to go.
Here are a few examples of planters you may want to use for your vegetables.
Nutley’s Hanging Tomato Growbag Planter
You don’t have to be too picky when picking out planting pots for your balcony vegetable garden. Almost any planting pot will do, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shopping.
- You want a large planting pot. First, a pot with depth gives your vegetables space to grow. A vegetable with roots thrives off that extra space, so it’s not stunted.
- Second, a large pot has a large reservoir. It retains more water, so the soil remains moist for longer. You’ll water your vegetables less this way, saving you time.
- Consider a self-watering pot or container, especially if you’re a busy (or forgetful) person. You fill the reservoir with water and walk away. You won’t have to water your vegetables again until the reservoir is empty.
- Hanging baskets are great for any vine vegetables. They leave you more space on your balcony.
- The material of the pot can make a difference. Avoiding terra cotta pots unless you line them with plastic pots. The clay absorbs the water from the soil. You’ll have to water your vegetables a lot more often. Glazed ceramic pots are our favorite or pots made from a resin material. You can also use plastic, but plastic pots are flimsy.
- Color is an important aspect too. Darker colors attract the sun. This will heat the pot and the soil. It won’t keep water, so you’ll be watering your vegetables all the time, so they don’t dry out.
Location, Location, Location
You’ve already decided to grow your vegetables in a garden on your balcony. But you can’t sit them anywhere on your balcony and expect the best results.
There are two big factors to consider.
How much sunlight is needed varies from vegetable to vegetable. But for those vegetables that need tons of sun, caddies will lift them off the ground into the sunlight.
Keep your vegetables out of the wind, so it doesn’t tear them apart on a bad day.
The Perfect Soil
Don’t use the same soil you’d use if you were planting your vegetables in a yard. This means no bagged topsoil.
You need an organic potting mix or potting soil. These soil-less mixes are made for potted plants and growth outside of the ground.
Organic potting mix holds onto moisture for your vegetables. Plus, these soil mixes won’t compact together, so your vegetables can’t breathe or suck up water.
You can also create potting soil yourself for your vegetables. For a healthy potting mix, you’ll need:
- 6 gallons of sphagnum peat moss
- 1/4 cup of crushed limestone (balances out the acidic pH from the peat moss)
- 6 gallons compost
- 4 1/2 gallons perlite
- 1 1/2 of granular organic fertilizer
Before you fill your planter or pot with soil, add a thin layer of coarse gravel that’s no more than an inch and a half. The gravel aids in the drainage of extra water.
And don’t overfill the pot with your potting soil mix. The soil should sit two to three inches below the top of it. This gives you room for water.
To find the best organic gardening soil for a balcony vegetable garden, visit our guide on the Top Organic Gardening Soils.
Choose Between Seeds and Seedlings
Whether you choose seeds or seedlings for growing your vegetables in your balcony garden is up to you. You can also determine this by your skill level.
If this is your first time growing any plants, seedlings are the easiest choice. But they’re a more expensive option.
Even if you’re a gardening newbie, don’t be afraid to give planting seeds a try.
Growing your vegetables from seeds takes more effort, and experience doesn’t hurt.
Before you plant either seeds or seedlings, soak the potting mix. Then allow it to drain any extra water.
Importance of Fertilizing
You have to fertilize your vegetables throughout their growth cycle. Your vegetables depend on all the nutrients in the fertilizer.
Since your potting mix already has fertilizer when you start, don’t add fertilizer right away. Wait about three to four weeks.
Then you can add water-soluble (or liquid) organic fertilizer every week or two.
It depends on your vegetables and the instructions from the fertilizer you bought. For example, this fertilizer says to apply every seven days.
You can also add some fish emulsion (or fish fertilizer) to your vegetables. You can add this once a week for fast nutrients.
Mix the fish emulsion into the water when you plan on watering. For every gallon of water, add an ounce of fish emulsion.
Pest Control for Vegetables
Pest control products will be your friend as potted plants are a magnet for flies, caterpillars, and other annoying bugs that like to eat up vegetables.
Neem oil is one natural pesticide that gardeners use that is effective in keeping away insects.
Organic Neem Bliss Pressed Neem Seed Oil
Other natural pest control options include:
The Bottom Line
Who says you need a yard to grow delicious vegetables? You don’t even need the mythical green thumb.
All you need is a balcony with access to the sun, a few good pots, and hard work. And don’t forget to water and give your vegetables the nutrients they need.
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