Even if you don’t have a large space to make for instance a kitchen garden, there is still a lot you can grow on a small space. If you have a balcony, a veranda, a porch or some small available space, you can grow some of your vegetables yourself. You just have to be a little inventive and make good use of the space you have.
When growing in small spaces we most often use containers to grow in. The size of the containers depends on how much space you have available. Maybe you can line up a row of pots up the stairs to your front door? Or how about planting vegetables in the flowerboxes hanging on your balcony?
To succeed growing in a small space it is helpful to know a little bit about which vegetables will do well in containers. Here are five suggestions that you could start with.
I started growing green cabbage after this vegetable showed up in the stores where I live. In the store it is quite expensive and it came packaged in quite large quanta which I never managed to finish. Now I can just go out on my balcony and pick exactly the amount I need.
This vegetable is not difficult to succeed with. It needs a middle size pot and regular water. It doesn’t like it too warm, so don’t place it in the warmest spot, rather choose the most exposed location. The cabbage continues to grow all season long and well into the winter.
It is also possible to grow carrots on your balcony. Many of you have probably tried growing carrots in juice cartons as a child. At least we used to do that when I was growing up. So why not start doing that again? If you have kids then let them help sow the seeds, and taste the baby carrots.
Carrots grow fine in all kinds of cartons as long as they have enough vertical space to develop properly. If you want to harvest baby carrots it doesn’t matter how deep the container is. One tip is to sow close together and then as the carrots start to develop you harvest some as baby carrots and let a few grow to full size. If you choose to grow in cartons just remember to make a few holes in the bottom for the excess water to drain out.
I think the main problem in my garden is a combination of it having been too cold the last couple of years and too less nutrients in the soil. The leeks require a lot of nutrients and you will need to give them extra fertilizers to get them to full size. This is also a vegetable that you can just leave in the ground and harvest as you need during fall and early winter.
Another popular vegetable to grow is the tomato. In the garden centre you will find several varieties to choose from if you want to buy small plants – from beef tomatoes to cherry tomatoes. How about choosing a hanging variety for your balcony?
I also find it fascinating to grow tomato plants from seed. This is not as difficult as many may think. Only remember to choose a certified variety and not take seeds from a store bought tomato as they can bring with them diseases you don’t want in your container garden.
A tomato plant will need a lot of water and a lot of nutrients if you plan on getting ripe tomatoes. You will need to use some sort of fertilize during the growing season. I prefer an organic solutin that consists of chicken manure and bone meal which I buy at a garden centre. These plants also need a large container to stand in, a bucket around 20 litres would be fine.
When the tomatoes first start to ripen you can eat very tasty tomatoes for several weeks. If you have to many you could maybe make some pasta sauce for later in the winter?
Cucumbers are also fun to grow. In the same way as the tomato plants these need a large container and lots of water and nutrients. However, they don’t need quite as much fertilizer as the tomatoes. This plant is a climbing plant and you need to give it something to trellis up. It is a good idea to put cucumbers along the wall.
If you want to plant from seed, you have a large selection of varieties to choose from and you can pick an unusual type. If you rather want to buy small plants you normally just have a few standard varieties to choose from. What about trying to grow small cucumbers to pickle for the winter?
Here you can learn even more about growing vegetables and herbs in containers on your balcony!