A balcony garden promises fresh herbs and vegetables, it is easy to create and is a real eye-catcher with the right accessories.
The balcony garden not only includes balcony plants in seasonally planted window boxes, but also herbs, vegetables and even fruit. Because cucumbers, tomatoes and melons are available in an extra small format for pots and buckets. And there is always a place for that!
Fresh from the balcony garden: cocktail tomatoes ‘Dolce Vita’. Season immediately with salt, pepper, olive oil and basil – the summer salad is ready!
Which balcony is suitable for gardening
In principle everyone, the balcony size is irrelevant for a balcony garden, because just two or three buckets of herbs constantly provide fresh supplies for the kitchen and everywhere. As a rule, it is drought or waterlogging that creates problems when gardening in the balcony garden
A wind-protected balcony on the east or west side of the house is ideal for balcony gardens. In the morning and in the evening, the mild sun pampers the balcony vegetables, which usually need warming.
Salads, chard, wild garlic or rocket are suitable for shadier locations. Where it is very windy, the balcony garden should consist of heavy, tipping-proof buckets. Low plants such as radishes, thyme, chives or bush tomatoes are ideal. Larger plants should be protected with a windbreak.
Construction requirements for the balcony garden
Soil, vessels and irrigation water for the balcony garden are heavy. Ask the landlord or the architect about the load-bearing capacity of the balcony so that the building structure does not suffer. In addition, all plants and containers should be set up windproof so that gardening is fun in the long term. In rented apartments you have to consult with the landlord as soon as you want to drill into the house wall or tap the downpipe for water. Otherwise there is nothing in the way of the balcony garden if the neighbors are not bothered and no branches grow outside the window.
Herbs and vegetables for the balcony garden
Many types of vegetables, such as peppers or tomatoes, often grow even better in the balcony garden than in the garden, since the plants prefer warm and protected locations that are above all rainproof. Otherwise, almost everything that grows in the vegetable garden grows in the balcony garden.
Cucumbers taste pure or as a salad. Season a little sour cream with chopped flat parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar and pour over the sliced cucumber.
However, not all vegetables are worthwhile for the balcony garden: cabbage, carrots and spinach also grow in tubs, but the relationship between the duration of the crop and the amount of crop per plant is not correct. You simply have too little of the plants and they don’t even look particularly beautiful.
It is different with potatoes and chard, the plants also take a long time to harvest and are then immediately harvested, but as pure plants they are also a real eye-catcher and great decoration for any balcony garden. Swiss chard because of the beautiful stems, which are yellow, red or white depending on the varieties, and potatoes because of their lush green foliage and the bright flowers.
Depending on the variety, potatoes have bright white or slightly bluish flowers.
Create a balcony garden in full sun
For full sun locations, particularly robust Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, marjoram or rosemary are suitable for the balcony garden. With sufficient water supply, you can also grow eggplants, beans, cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes.
Balcony compartments from the hardware store provide shade and privacy in the balcony garden.
On hot days, the water requirement in every balcony garden is very high, which only plants in water storage boxes can withstand if you do not water continuously. But even then the plants suffer from the heat, as the air quickly heats up to over 35 ° C, especially in places sheltered from the wind.
Strawberries are not only delicious, they are also perfect for hobby gardeners who are creating a balcony garden for the first time.
The only way to avoid the build-up of heat is with sun protection that blocks the blazing midday sun. This is a problem for professionals with a balcony garden who of course cannot leave an awning or a parasol extended all day long. Balcony coverings or windproof screens are therefore ideal as shade. The cucumbers that are often recommended as shade donors themselves have a high water requirement.
Pots for balcony vegetables
Large areas bordered with squared timber and lined with foil are often recommended as “beds” for the balcony garden. They also work well, but are completely immobile and take up a lot of space. Smaller solutions are better: hanging pots, several large buckets next to each other or special raised beds for balconies, under which there is often still storage space and which can be easily planted and cared for.
The space for plants is of course limited on balconies and you want to have space for yourself. A trick that also works in small gardens: you simply go up with the plant instead of the width and can therefore plant previously unused areas and even walls. Plant hanging baskets, planting bags, planting steps or grids for climbing plants are ideal for every balcony garden. In between there is space for the table and chairs so that the balcony does not appear cluttered.
“Minigarden vertical” from various suppliers also turns otherwise unused areas such as the balcony grille into a balcony garden.
Climbing plants such as firebeans, runner beans, climbing peas or small types of cucumber are also good privacy. They grow in window boxes that are placed on the floor in front of a trellis. In large planting gardens, not only grids but also sunflowers or maize plants can be used as climbing aids, which you put in the box.
The Charentais melon loves sun. When the fruits are ripe, they exude the scent of southern France. And in the pot parade you can draw an assortment of green Mediterranean herbs
The “Mini Arden” system is also very practical for the balcony garden, in which any number of modules, each with nine planters, can be mounted one above the other – for example, the dreary balcony wall can be transformed into a vertical salad bed. If you are not allowed to drill into the wall, planting stairs or shelves with a shallow depth and a compartment height of at least 50 cm are possible.
Skyscraper in the balcony garden: clay pots can be stacked on top of each other and e.g. plant with strawberries.
Conventional clay or plastic pots can be stacked on a rod via the extraction holes and planted with herbs or strawberries. Since you can of course not put the rod into the concrete floor, you fix it in a bucket with concrete, an old Christmas tree stand or a parasol base.
– grow in usual balcony boxes: strawberries, radishes, lettuce, herbs
– in buckets: tomatoes, cucumbers (with tendril), string beans (with tendril), bell peppers and potatoes
– Almost all species grow in raised beds, but be sure to only plant vegetables or herbs with the same soil and nutrient requirements
Automatic irrigation for several days: Many systems water plants in the balcony garden via a porous clay cone in the ground.
For the balcony garden there are also mini greenhouses for growing in many versions, which, however, mostly look quite rustic.
Water the balcony garden
Vegetables are usually very thirsty, even after a day without water, the leaves of tomatoes only hang limply and the fruit quality of all plants suffers from the frequent alternation between dry and wet bales of earth. Planting bags for the wall dry out easily and often have to be watered.
Storage boxes with a water reservoir and automatic irrigation systems have proven their worth on the balcony, with which the plants become self-sufficient for days. Irrigation systems such as the “Tropf-Blumat” from Blumat or “Bördy” from Scheurich, which channel the water into the soil via clay cones, are very practical. Otherwise, the watering can is indispensable in the balcony garden, since there is usually no connection for a garden hose on the balcony.
If you don’t want to constantly drag watering cans to your balcony garden, you should connect an adapter to the tap in the bathroom or kitchen so that a normal tap becomes a tap for a hose. The hose then leads through the room for a short time, but the plants are watered in no time.
The chic rain barrel “Raindrop” is perfect for the balcony and is installed between the downpipe.
Rainwater is ideal for most plants and, above all, free of charge.On the balcony, however, due to its high weight, rain barrels are not an option, but only small containers up to a maximum of 100 liters. A particularly beautiful rainwater tank is the “Raindrop” from Elho.
Maintain balcony vegetables
All young side shoots should be removed regularly so that special tomato plants put all their energy into fruiting. To do this, break them out with your fingers as early as possible. The best thing to do is to tie up only one main shoot per plant!
The young plants for the balcony garden can also be used on the balcony.
Cut out the paprika flower: For the large fruit peppers, the first flower bud (sometimes two) should be cut out. It is in the top branch. The plant otherwise puts all of its power into this “royal flower” and does not provide enough for all others.