Most gardeners generally agree that for small spaces and container gardens, leafy greens and herbs are the best introductions to growing your own food. Tomatoes can be easily grown in a pot, but you can even make them larger. Kirschenbaum suggests being pretty and useful: “For south-facing balconies, grow Little Bing cherry tomatoes, a dwarf variety that grows especially well in containers, while bell peppers also do well on balconies.”
You don’t necessarily need to have a huge space to grow fruits or vegetables either. “Last year I bought my daughter an apple tree,” Cumberbatch recalls. “It arrived in a four liter jar and was already carrying two or three apples.”
Get the right materials
Scouring flea markets for interesting items that could serve as planters or extend your interior design scheme to your outdoor space is always a good idea. Head to garden centers and home decor stores for inspiration and choose pots and planters – perhaps an antique ladder as an alternative to a shelf – and an overall color scheme. As Kirschenbaum advises, “The size of the container should be large and sturdy enough to hold enough soil volume for the plant and its root system. Also, taller containers will retain more moisture and containers always need more watering than plants grown in the ground.
Whether you can do basic DIY and attach trellises or hooks to hang baskets on the wall depends on your building rules, but you can always create different heights by adding a table or tiered plant stands to your display.
The “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra is also perfect for gardening. Cumberbatch notes that when it comes to design, galvanized metal buckets and tubs look simple and utilitarian, but don’t forget to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. She also advises using old favorites like terracotta which is “not only beautiful to look at but retains moisture and is especially good on hot days.”
Do your part for the environment
With the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy in mind, consider dedicating a corner of your kitchen or outdoor space to composting. “Composting allows you to feed houseplants and balcony containers, reduces household waste and saves you going to the dumpster,” says Gail Pabst of the National Garden Bureau. “Something like this ceramic compost pot is perfect for collecting.”
If you plan to create natural habitats on your balcony, Pabst recommends planting Verbena flowers because they attract hummingbirds, butterflies, moths and bees. Plus, lavender not only looks pretty and smells divine, but it’s also loved by bees, so you’ll be doing your part to spread the bounty of spring from your little balcony garden to the world.