Growing Your Food

9 years ago
2 minutes

Green living in an apartment is often seen as a contemporary utopia, something reserved only for houses, where a backyard can be transformed into an edible oasis and a green lifestyle can be achieved. Perceived limitations that prevent people from growing organic food in cities are space, time and a green thumb, but it is very easy to start growing herbs and vegetables on a balcony and growing food in containers is a great way to start.

What to grow

Growing a mix of herbs, vegetables and flowers constitutes the basis for a healthy edible balcony garden. Any herbs can be grown in a container with good drainage. Many vegetables will do really well in containers and pots such as radish, lettuce, rocket, beetroot, tomatoes, beans, peas, Asian cabbages, carrots etc. Plant edible flowers such as borage and nasturtiums to complement your garden; not only are they beneficial for pest control but they will also bring bees and the flowers can be eaten in salads or served with cakes and ice cream. 

A shady balcony has also the potential to become an edible garden; in which case leafy greens will perform best as well as some herbs like mint and parsley. 

Seeds or seedlings

When growing from seeds, a key factor in successful germination is to ensure the seeds are sown at the right time of the year. Seeds can also be started in a small pot indoors on a warm windowsill before being transplanted to their final spot on the balcony. Seedlings save time and can be easier to grow than seeds but organic seedlings can be difficult to obtain. 

Caring for a balcony garden

Using a high quality organic certified potting mix is very important to grow a healthy garden. Feeding plants weekly or fortnightly with liquid seaweed or organic fertiliser will provide nutrients much needed for the plant growth. In containers, the soil dries out quicker and frequent watering is essential. Depending on the weather and the time of the year, plants will need watering once a day or twice a week, but the topsoil can be mulched to help with water retention. 


Some seeds won’t germinate, some seedlings will perish, and pest will strike, whether you are a green thumb or a black one. Allow for some casualties. With a bit of care, patience and nurture, trials and errors, and experience, an edible garden is achievable for all city dwellers.