Create an edible balcony with a container garden

by | Dec 29, 2023 | Conscious Green Mama, Permaculture, Permaculture garden, Sustainable Living | 2 comments

Container gardening is not for the faint-hearted. It requires time and more patience, but it is the solution if you have a small space! When I became pregnant with my son, I decided to live near the beach to enjoy beach walks. My apartment had a small balcony (1.5m x 2.5m). For me, this was the ultimate permie challenge!

butterflies welcome

Permie Checklist: Why grow food on my balcony?

  • Produce organic herbs and veggies
  • It improves the environment and creates a habitat for insects
  • Reduces food kilometres (transport)
  • It keeps my balcony cool
  • Reduces air and noise pollution

Container gardening

After observing the sun, I noticed that my balcony only received a minimum of 3-4 hours of sunshine a day, and being by the beach, it got pretty windy at times. I did a bit of research and decided to start with herbs. I chose to buy seedlings as it would be easier than to tackle the elements.

herb garden

Within months, I had all my favourite herbs (parsley rosemary, basil, lemon grass, curry plant, chives, coriander), cherry tomatoes, comfrey, plenty of aloe vera, chillies, lavender, radishes and carrots.

At first, I had this romantic idea of using only recycled containers from the kitchen; however, over time, I realised that the soil dried out quickly and the plants needed more space for their roots, making it challenging to do companion planting. So I went to the local tip shop, found several large plastic pots, and transplanted all my plants. The herbs started growing nicely, and I was hooked. I wanted to plant more. I went to garage sales looking for tables and chairs, anything that would create different height levels on my balcony garden, allowing the sun to reach all my new plants – read 5 tips for healthy plants.

Balcony Checklist:

  • Water regularly. Place trays under each pot, ensuring water doesn’t drip on the neighbour below.
  •  Add nutrients to the soil to keep plants happy. Use mulch and natural fertiliser.
  • Big containers are best for companion planting.
  • Position plants for maximum sun and think vertical! Read more about vertical growing ideas for small gardens here.
  • Use suitable soil and lightweight potting mix. One part soil, one part coconut coir, one part builders sand and one part compost.

Plants that live in pots need aerated soil and regular watering. As soil can hold a limited amount of moisture, container gardens in scorching climates can benefit from shade during the hottest day.

Step-by-step

For your balcony garden, you will need pots of various sizes, good compost or potting mix, seedlings, and plants.

1. Fill the container with moistened compost or potting mix, not garden soil, which is too heavy for balcony gardens and contains weed seeds.

2. Carefully transplant your seedlings from their original pot to the new container. Loosen the root ball by gently tickling the bottom of the plant. Plant the seedlings in the new container. Don’t bury them too deep; you’ll smother them with mulch or drown them with water. Gently firm the soil around the plants.

3. Put the container where it can drain, such as in a sink or outside the ground. Use a watering can with a sprinkler head and gently water the soil to settle it around the plant’s roots. If this creates pockets where soil settles, add moistened potting mix to fill the gaps.

For fun: Create colourful plant labels or find interesting bric-a-brac to place in and around your balcony garden.

Container gardens
Container gardens

Important: You must determine whether your balcony or roof is strong enough for your edible garden. 

Author: Laila Helena

If you need more Information for your permaculture toolkits, check out our eBooks.

  1. How to make healthy soil
  2. Building soil with worms
  3. How to make natural fertilisers
  4. Integrated pest management
  5. Garden designs and techniques

2 Comments

  1. chessie_kay

    I been searching the internet for this thanks!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Edible Balcony: Container Gardens | DNA Reboot | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS - […] Source: My Edible Balcony: Container Gardens | DNA Reboot […]
  2. Free resources for permaculture living and Homeschooling during these challenging times – Planet Schooling - […] Create an edible balcony with a container garden […]
  3. Free resources for permaculture living and Homeschooling during these challenging times | Planet Schooling - […] Create an edible balcony with a container garden […]

Leave a Reply

Latest Articles

Permaculture skills, stories, how-to guides & inspiration – for living like it matters.

What can I do with my excess kombucha and kefir?

What can I do with my excess kombucha and kefir?

So you've fallen in love with fermenting your food and making your kombucha. Still, you suddenly realise that you have a massive amount of kombucha, kefir and other yummy goods growing out of control. Your family isn't as big as your microbe family. So now what? It is...

Are you addicted to fast fashion?

Are you addicted to fast fashion?

Australians are the world's second-largest consumers of textiles, buying an average of 27kg of new clothing and other materials each year. Disturbingly, the average Australian throws away 23kg of textiles each year. More than 500,000 tonnes of fabrics and leather are...

What’s this thing called mulch?

What’s this thing called mulch?

Bare soil is damaged soil! Due to the expansion of agriculture and land-intensive areas, soil losses have increased in many regions of Australia. Up to 10 million hectares of land have less than 500 years of fertile 'topsoil', which may be lost to erosion soon (Bui et...

Become More Resilient

Permaculture, Homesteading, Natural Construction & More
CoursesBooks