Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}

Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}

I discovered that indoor vegetable gardening and utilizing your balcony space might not provide the wide variety and abundance of a back yard garden, but it will still give you a sense of accomplishment.

One thing I miss most about living in an apartment condo complex is putting in a vegetable garden. I think the older you get, the more you appreciate the cycle of life.

There is something special about watching something grow from a tiny seed until it blossoms into a plant that will provide amazing fresh vegetables.

HOW TO GET STARTED

I did a little research and came up with some vegetables that will do fairly well, even if your balcony gets limited sunshine.

Radishes, leaf lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, celery, green onions, green beans, purple top turnips, romaine, and potatoes are the vegetables I just planted and have sitting by my living room window or out on the balcony. I’m happy to say that after just one week the radishes, lettuce, celery, romaine, green onions, green beans, and spinach have already germinated and are breaking through the soil.

Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}
Doesn’t this basil look amazing? You can grow it too!

So what do you need to get started? I bought two big bags of soil, some big pots, and also some long rectangular planters that are ideal for 24″ rows of lettuce, spinach, and radishes. I bought a watering can and some small garden tools at the dollar store as well.

I also saved all my egg shells and coffee grounds and mixed them in with the soil for some added nutrients.

Clean the eggshells once they were cracked and put them in a plastic bag. Crush them with a bread roller to make them finer.

I just planted half rows of spinach, lettuce, and radishes and after two weeks will plant the rest of the row. This will help avoid having then mature all at once and will provide fresh salad ingredients for a much longer time. Of course these rows are much shorter than the ones you would plant in an outdoor garden, but they will still provide a fair amount of fresh produce later in the Summer. I’m looking at this as more of an experiment to see what happens, and I’m’m fairly sure some of my vegetables might not fare as well as others. I sort of have my doubts about the red potatoes and cherry tomatoes as they may require more sun than the other plants.

Herbs would do very well for you. I didn’t plant any and I’m do not use a lot of them, but if you are a fan of basil, rosemary, thyme, or any other herb you would have a lot of success growing them.

A FEW INDOOR VEGETABLE GARDEN TRICKS

Who would have thought that you could actually plant kitchen scraps and regenerate them into an excellent bounty of fresh vegetables?

The celery I planted is actually the butt of the celery I bought in the supermarket. I cut about two inches off of the end of the celery and put it in a glass of water. You don’t have to immerse it completely. Within about three days a new celery plant began to grow out of the butt.

You can do the same with leeks, green onions, romaine, and several other vegetables.

Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}

Something else I discovered which I thought was very cool was using those cloth shopping bags you get at the supermarket or dollar store in place of pots. They hold a lot of soil and are ideal for an indoor or balcony garden. I planted my potatoes in them.

I just filled the bags half full of soil and if the seed potatoes take hold and grow into big plants I have plenty of room to add more soil as you should hill potatoes as they begin to grow to prevent the potatoes from breaking through the soil and turning green.

Keep in mind that you have to buy actual seed potatoes as potatoes you buy in a supermarket are treated so they won’t germinate. They might grow small sprouts but then they sort of stop growing.

PLANTING THE SECOND YEAR IS FAR LESS EXPENSIVE

As you can see, I didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get my garden started. Next year will be less and I’m will already have all the planters and pots I need. I suppose the biggest expense is garden soil, but I see no reason why it can’t be reused from one year to the next.

There are a few things you should do if you are going to reuse your garden soil.

Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}
You can use your potting soil more than one year.

Be sure to remove all dead plants and fluff the soil up. This is an important step as hard soil makes it difficult for new seeds to grow.

Also, add some all-purpose plant food to the soil as the soil may be depleted of nutrients from the prior growing season. This is also important because plants require these nutrients to grow properly and have excellent yields. Failure to rejuvenate the soil can result in smaller, weaker plants that may not provide any edible produce.

WHEN SHOULD YOU PLANT?

There is no need to wail until the chance of frost is gone before planting your seeds. Just keep them indoors and they will germinate and begin to grow and will be ready when the chance of frost is gone.

In my part of Canada the best time to have plants outdoors is normally around Mother’s Day in May.

Almost everything I planted began to grow inside before I moved them to the balcony. Should you want to go all out you can buy gardening lights to mimic the impact of the sun indoors.

Indoor Vegetable Gardening{and utilizing your balcony}
Wouldn’t be great to have a salad with ingredients you grew on your balcony?

I decided not to do this because of the expense and everything seemed to germinate okay without them. Actually it was pretty funny to watch what the cherry tomato plants did once they broke out of the soil.

They germinated in about three days and broke out of the soil and were about two inches tall after five days. All the plants leaned towards the window and the light. So I turned the pot around to see that would happen and when I got home from work that day the plants were leaning towards the light again.

So It goes to show that many plants don’t necessarily need direct sunshine. Rather, they appear to need the light of day more than anything else. There was no sun on the days the tomato plants leaned toward the light. The days were overcast.

IN CONCLUSION

Don’t be deterred from growing fresh vegetables even if all you have is a balcony. It can be done and from all reports, many people have excellent results.

In a couple of months I expect to have fresh lettuce, spinach, radishes, celery and green onions for my salads. In the Fall I hope to have some red potatoes ready to eat. Even if they are the smaller variety they are excellent steamed with some green onions and butter added before serving. I’m looking forward to it.

Even is everything doesn’t turn out it’s a good learning experience and with each progressive year you will learn more about the art of container gardening and will have a much better idea of what vegetables will do exceptionally well in limited space.

Best of luck with you garden if you decide to give it a try.

And remember, things like herbs and maybe even some vegetables I mentioned may be suitable for growing indoors in the winter months.

Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

 

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