Living in an apartment with a balcony or small courtyard doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of growing your own vegetables. Vegetables can be grown very successfully in containers if you just follow a few basic steps:
How Growing Vegetables On A Balcony
Step 1: Container Size
Choose appropriately sized containers for the vegetables you intend to grow. For example, tomatoes have quite extensive root systems so they need containers that will allow their roots to spread out to absorb all the nutrients they require. Other vegetable plants such as leafy greens need much less soil and so containers can be smaller.
Step 2: Growing Medium
Use a good quality potting mix or make your own using equal quantities of compost, animal manure and sand.
Step 3: Watering
Use containers with a water reservoir in the bottom to make sure plants do not dry out and become stressed, leading to disease and vulnerability to pests. Alternatively, you can create a wicking bed from a container with no drainage holes by laying slotted agricultural pipe (the proper width for the size of the pot), snaking it along the bottom of the container with one end poking up out of the growing medium.
When you need to water the plants, simply insert the hose into the agricultural pipe and the water will fill up the bottom of the container creating a wicking effect as the growing medium absorbs the moisture upwards which means the water is first directed to the root zone where needed most.
Step 4: Fertilizing
Add fertilizer and supplements at planting time such as bone meal (blood n bone), seaweed solution, zeolite or rock dust, Epsom salts and Potash or wood ash (from the fire). These will help deliver nutrients to the soil and increase your plants’ ability to absorb nutrients from the soil.
Step 5: Mulching
Use a layer of mulch on the surface of the potting mix to keep moisture. Once again, this prevents your vegetables from getting stressed and sick.
Step 6: Disease & Pest Control
Give your vegetables a weekly dose of Hydrogen Peroxide by watering with a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide and water and/or spraying the leaves of the plant to prevent fungal and bacterial diseases from taking hold.