The Balcony Kitchen Garden
The Balcony Kitchen Garden
When designing a kitchen garden, size is not the principal issue. It is possible, in fact, quite simple, to grow herbs, edible flowers, vegetables and fruit in a small area.
Containers are ideal if your space is limited, especially if the garden is located several stories above the ground.
What is the issue is how you grow what you choose to grow. An organic kitchen garden has many benefits; among them is the ability to provide at least some healthy, nourishing food for your table.
I maintained an organic kitchen garden on a balcony in Thunder Bay, Ontario for fourteen years and am now in the process of planning one for the home we are going to so move into.
Over the 14 years in Thunder Bay, I grew a wide range of plants, in window boxes which are great for salad greens and a variety of containers. Morning glories, peas, chamomile, borage, tomatoes, gladiolus beans, and much more flourished under the often cool and windy conditions. This spot received about 10 hours of sunlight each day.
Calculating how much sun the balcony gets is crucial to deciding what will grow there. Greens can get by a four to six hours but tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers, for example, need eight.
The new site is partially covered but by incorporating window boxes along the railing I can expand what I grow.
Peas and beans grew up and along the railings while I put stakes in the tomato and cucumber pots for support.
The plantings were always mixed and I used old work boots, ice cream and yogurt containers, and just about anything that was wide and deep enough for the plants I wanted to develop a good root system.
For several years, I dedicated two containers to growing gladiolus. The glads produced a deep red flower.
Early one evening, as I was sitting out in the balcony garden, watching the clouds drift by, I heard or perhaps sensed a presence off to my left. I slowly turned by head and there not three feet away was a hummingbird taking a close look at the glads. As I watched this tiny flying machine, it seemed to turn its head and look me in the eye and say, hey what are you doing in my garden?
We take possession of the new palce soon and I will first measure the amount of sunlight the balcony gets. Once I know that I will make my plant choices. If the sun permits, there will eb cherry tomatoes as I c just can’t imagine a kitchen garden without them. The window boxes will grow some greens,
If this is all I can grow cherry tomatoes and salad green, it will be fine, at least there will be fresh, homegrown salad available on a regular basis and I will be growing some of the food we eat which, after all, is the central purpose of a kitchen garden.
Remember, even a small space in the heart of a big city, can become a kitchen garden, it is all up to the gardener.