Which Herbs, Fruits & Veggies Can I Grow in My Balcony Garden?
I am so amazed by the produce from my balcony garden. I wasted too much time thinking that because I live in the city, growing food would be unrealistic. Now I'm growing over 120 crops on a modest townhouse deck. I'm going to tell you about the herbs, fruits, and veggies I'm growing in my late spring garden.
There’s so much you can grow on a small space with limited land, or if you're growing mostly on a deck like me. I also want to show you practical recipes and products you can make with just a small garden.
Cut and come again herbs that will give you endless harvest throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons in many regions.
Fruits like tomatoes and strawberries, and vegetables like beans and celery are all quick growers. They also still regrow after multiple cuttings. Swiss chard for summer salads is a delicious green that does well in both cool and warm temperatures.
Vertical growing allows me to enjoy our outdoor space and pack a lot in a small area without feeling cluttered. A GreenStalk vertical planter easily rotates, is simple to water, and it's easy on your back.
Also, it just looks stunning the more you pack in. My vertical gardens aren't just pretty to look at, I'm harvesting from them all the time.
Cherry tomatoes and basil are perfect for small-space gardeners. They grow easily vertically or in pots. Since you'll have both their fruit and herb around day 35 to 45 after planting, you can enjoy that seasonal, classic tomato and basil taste that much sooner.
I simply adore fresh basil and wish that I could grow it year-round. A close second to that is preserving it so that I can enjoy my garden basil deep into late fall and winter.
How? By making basil salt and basil sugar, the method is so easy, and you'll be surprised how often you find yourself wanting it.
How to make basil salt or sugar
To make the basil salt, start with quality salt, like Redmond's real salt, which retains its complete profile of minerals. Put your basil and salt in a blender to pulverize it and get it well blended. Then spread the salt on a dehydrator sheet. Follow the same method to make basil sugar. The sugar will be a bit moister than the salt.
Next, you'll use a dehydrator to dry your mixtures and then store them. Sugar and salt are natural preservatives, so they'll keep for several months in an airtight container.
Basil sugar is excellent to sweeten tea or sprinkle over strawberries. It also tastes great in baking recipes. Basil salt or sugar can be used when making homemade pizza or pasta dishes.
Who can forget about fresh pesto? The first sourdough and turkey sandwich I make for this season is always the best with fresh pesto. Soon I'll have enough pesto in the freezer to last us till the next year.
Next up, we have calendula, which isn't a fussy grower, yet these plants offer so much. I've got several coming to bloom, many more on their way, and a few I have let go to seed so that I can have seeds for free for next year.
Calendula is antifungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. This means it helps prevent infection, speeds tissue recovery, and it's filled with heart-healthy antioxidants. This herb easily turns into a medicinal-infused oil and can be used as a salve.
Even though I cut and cook with fresh herbs every day, they grow so abundantly that I dehydrate bunches of them to store for later use. A GreenStalk vertical planter gives you 40 growing pockets that only take up 2 square feet, which can really keep you busy.
When dehydrating herbs, I want to keep things simple and quick. I tie my herb bundles to a hanger and suspend them on doorknobs or my dining room chandelier with my overflow of garden sage. I also made sage deli, which is delicious and acts as an instant glaze or sauce.
Leafy green vegetables
One of my GreenStalks was just for leafy veggie greens like kale, collards, and chard. Some lettuces continue to produce new leaves and growth can be extended into the summer season if kept well-shaded. They can even continue to grow into the winter if protected from frost using a frost cloth.
Being able to harvest your own salad from your backyard is so amazing. You don't have to worry about anything spoiling, and the taste of freshly picked produce can't be beaten.
I also love a good cup of tea, and since I'm growing so many herbs, I have delicious varieties right at my fingertips that have vibrant flavors.
I have one GreenStalk planter I need to revive for the upcoming season. Doing so is simple since I started with a quality potting mix last season. This year I'm going to amend the soil with some additional nutrients like fish, fertilizer, and compost manor. Then I top it off with some fresh mix for the seeds to germinate it.
The amendments you add depend on the type of crops you're growing, so be sure to look at what type of fertilizer or nutrients your plants need and add that to your soil.
Seeds germinate best in sterile soil, which is why topping them off with fresh potting mix rather than the soil used for the previous crop is recommended when reusing. Soil crop rotation is just as important for us container gardeners to combat pests, pressure, and disease.
Without even using grow lights or starting seeds indoors, I planted directly from seed in my GreenStalk, and things are thriving. With the right setup, you don’t need to be an expert gardener to start reaping the rewards that even a small garden can provide.
You can start flavoring your meals, making your own skin and hair products, sourcing a side dish, or preserving your harvest for endless possibilities.
What would you grow in your balcony garden? Let me know in the comments below.