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The Balcony Kitchen Garden

Updated on April 2, 2012

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.

tomatoes and glads

Bob Ewing photo
Bob Ewing photo


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, let me know how it goes and Happy gardening.

  • skye2day profile image

    skye2day 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hello Bob, I am grateful I landed at your hub. I have always appreciated your gardening gifts and tips. This is perfect for my small area. I look forward to working on it using some of your tips. Great writing. Thank You. Hugs Bob.

    I love the old boot idea for a pot, too cool.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Saving seeds is a great way to grow a garden, happy gardening.

  • lovelypaper profile image

    Renee S 8 years ago from Virginia

    Nice hub. I especially love Morning Glories and the fact that you can harvest the seeds and replant them the next year.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, happy gardening.

  • Michael Shane profile image

    Michael Shane 8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

    Bob, this is a great idea! Thanks...

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Happy Gardening, everyone, MM, you are welcome.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I am currently enjoying our cherry tomatoes and lettuce right out the back. I am trying celery and cilantro - so far, so good. Thanks for the great advice. Aloha!

  • Georgina_writes profile image

    Georgina Crawford 8 years ago from Dartmoor

    Another great gardening hub. I think everyone needs a bit of green space in their life. Thanks.

  • Maggie-May profile image

    Nadine M AuCoin 8 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

    I can't wait to get started! Your gardening hubs are fantstic! I think even this non-green-thumb gal just might be able to grow more than a few flowers.Thanks for all the wonderful insight! I shall certainly apply it!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    With containers size does matter, as long as the plants roots can develop then the plant will grow. Happy gardening.

  • profile image

    cosette 8 years ago

    my son and his girl are fixin' to grow some tomatoes in their little urban apartment. he has been looking for a pot but finds them too expensive. i love how you grew yours in just a big old bucket like that. i have one that i will give to him. they always have a sprig of something green growing in their place, which makes it so pretty and comforting. i am lucky to have outdoor space to grow tomatoes, herbs, lemongrass, peppers, flowers, and even grapes, which are taking off like crazy! thanks for a great hub.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and happy gardening.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

    I, too, liked the old boots for pots. As always, a great hub!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    It was a good way to recycle them, happy gardening.

  • betherann profile image

    Beth Morey 8 years ago from Montana

    I like how you use old boots as pots!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, happy gardening.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for a wonderful hub and good advice.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, happy gardening.

  • blackmarx profile image

    blackmarx 8 years ago from Rice Lake, WI

    Another great garden hub.

    We could use some articles like this at Gardening Gang.


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