Two things I wish I knew when I started my Balcony Garden would be that no balcony is too small, I was able to repot and keep my Christmas tree and still have lots of space to grow many different flowers. Also, the importance of having a contingency plan for weather devastation, being able to move my plants off the rails to protect from strong winds was a tough lesson my first year around.
Images shown above courtesy of Ana
Vegetable gardening, traditionally, has a lot of rules to follow. To someone new to growing their own produce, it can seem complicated and maybe even a little intimidating. Often the images of vegetables growing we see are of vast gardens and allotments, perfect rows of carrots, cabbages and onions and baskets full of best-in-show worthy crops – now that so many of us live in cities with access only to balconies or small yards if we are lucky, vegetable gardening can seem out of reach to so many.
What I wish I knew when I first started my balcony garden is that there is no right way to grow vegetables and that experimentation is key to success. People will tell you that you don’t have enough space, that you don’t have enough sunlight or any other perceived issue, but really you don’t know what you can grow in your space until you actually try to grow things there. Learn from your gardening failures as much as your mistakes. If the beetroot doesn’t grow, but the cucumbers do, look forward to your cucumbers and forget about the beetroots.
My growing space is less than a meter deep and only about two meters across. Yet, I have managed to successfully grow potatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes, tomatoes, herbs, peppers and beetroot in just one year! Plants need certain conditions of course, but generally, they will grow where they are planted – if you only have a small space then get creative. I have plants in old bins, in pots, over the railings, growing up the railings on the floor of the balcony, where ever I can fit them. It has turned a concrete and metal structure into a beautiful, productive and green little oasis. I’m never going to be self-sufficient from my little balcony garden, but what it does produce gives me so much joy, and any delicious fruit and veg is just a bonus to that!