Growing fruit and veg on balconies
When space is really limited, gardening needs ingenuity. With a few clever tricks and some innovative gadgets, though, you can turn even a balcony into a productive garden overflowing with fruit, vegetables and herbs.
You'll find plenty of useful gear to help you build your balcony garden in our Trowbridge - Wiltshire garden centre, from planters to dwarf apple trees specially bred to grow in restricted spaces. Here are our top tips for balcony success.
- Use large planters wherever possible, so they act more like raised beds than containers and give your veg a longer root run. Generally, the larger the container you give your veg, the happier they'll be: if your balcony is high-rise, though, get a structural engineer in first to check it can take the weight of containers full of damp compost and plants.
- Use successional sowing to keep your pots working hard all year. As soon as you harvest a crop, re-sow the container or replant with vegetable plug plants for a really quick replacement. That way you'll always have new crops growing up as you eat your way through the ones you sowed earlier.
- Grow container veg varieties which are better suited to growing with their roots restricted. Good choices are Courgette 'Patio Star', Aubergine 'Ophelia', Broad Bean 'The Sutton' and Pea 'Bingo' – all grow small but have bumper crops for their size.
- Don't forget the fruit as there are plenty of long-cropping varieties which grow quite happily in containers including gooseberries, blueberries and blackcurrants. Strawberries do better in pots, as they're off the ground away from slugs; and you can even grow 'Minarette' apple and pear trees, trained on a single stem.
- Take care over feeding and watering as your plants depend entirely on you for their every need. Automatic watering systems share the load: you'll find timers, hoses and dripper systems in our garden centre. Add a weekly liquid feed when you water: liquid seaweed acts as a general-purpose tonic, but when plants are flowering a high-potash tomato feed encourages plenty of fruit.
Please ask the staff in our garden centre in Trowbridge - Wiltshire for more information and advice about growing fruit and vegetables on a balcony.