How to Start a Balcony Kitchen Garden
Do you dream of having your own little balcony kitchen garden? Have you always wished to create a refreshing green space in your home but not sure how to start? If you have a balcony space or a terrace, then you can easily set up a pretty little garden comprising veggies, herbs and other edible greens. For people living in apartments, balcony gardens are a perfect way to feel close to nature. Apart from this, growing fruits, herbs & veggies at home also give you a great sense of satisfaction. No matter how small or big your balcony is, with some creativity and dedicated effort, you can also transform your balcony into a dream kitchen garden.
Here are some simple balcony kitchen garden tips you can follow to get started.
Finding the Right Space
The first step is to find the right space depending on factors like sunlight, area, position, etc. Your kitchen garden doesn’t necessarily have to be close to your kitchen. It can be on any balcony of your house. Some apartments will have multiple balconies, so you may have to choose one that is most suitable for plants. Check whether your apartment complex has any specific rules for keeping plants on the balcony. Assess the amount of sunlight falling on the balcony and depending on that, you can decide where to start your garden.
Evaluating the Sunlight
The most important factor you should consider while setting up a kitchen garden is sunlight. Study the intensity of sunlight that you receive on the balcony. Different plants require different amounts of sunlight. Vegetables ideally require 8-10 hours of sunlight and herbs need 2-4 hours of direct sunlight.
So make sure that you choose a spot where you receive sunlight for the longest duration. Don’t worry if your balcony is in a shady position, you can still consider planting varieties that require less sunlight. Veggies like tomato, pepper, squash, cucumber, etc need full sunlight while others like beets, cabbage, carrot, pea, etc can thrive in partial shade as well.
Designing the Layout
Depending on the space availability and your personal choice, you can design your garden the way you like. For instance, if you have a compact balcony, you can consider setting up a vertical garden on the wall. It can help to save the floor space for other uses. Another option is to keep colorful railing basket planters, which look very appealing and save a lot of space. You will also get good quality metal plant stands in the market, which can be used to neatly arrange your pots.
Choosing the Plants & Pots
It is better to start with easy to grow herbs and veggies like mint, basil, curry leaves, lemongrass, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, etc. Once you establish your garden, you can plant more varieties based on the amount of sunlight you get. While sowing the seeds, remember not to put too many seeds in one pot.
Earthen or terracotta pots are good for plants and are easily available. You can also buy beautiful ceramic pots of different shapes and colors. However, you should also consider reusing plastic and glass containers which is a great way of reducing waste and supporting our environment. Make sure that the container is at least 6 inches deep to allow roots to spread. Also, ensure that all pots have drainage holes to allow excess water to flow out.
Picking the Right Soil Mix
Once you have decided what plants you are growing, the next step is to make a suitable soil mix. You can make use of ready-made potting mix available in shops or make it yourself by mixing soil with compost and cocopeat. Replenish your soil mix with organic fertilizer or compost atleast once every month. The soil you are using should be porous and should not be hard enough to prevent water seepage. Don’t pour too much water on your pots as excess water leads to the decay of plants.
Now it's your turn to be a smart gardener and grow your own fresh organic produce. Isn’t it amazing to pluck a few greens from your little garden to make a healthy salad? Or toss in some homegrown herbs to make a savoury soup? When you finally have a kitchen garden at home, you don’t have to run in search of organic vegetable shops and pay extra money to get pesticide-free produce every week. Moreover, gardening is a very therapeutic hobby that helps to keep your mind happy and stress-free.
So why wait? Get your hands on the soil and start creating the garden you always desired to see.