Growing your own crops is super rewarding, and the trend for doing so is on the rise.
More than two-fifths (44 percent) of people with either a garden, allotment or balcony in the UK say they are now growing their own fruit and vegetables as this is cheaper than buying from shops, according to new research by comparison site Comparethemarket.com.
And, Harry Patte-Dobbs from Garden Buildings Direct says there’s no limit to what you can raise in a smaller space. 'Large gardens are not essential for growing fruit and veggies, meaning those with limited space – such as a balcony – can still benefit from the financial and mental health benefits of growing their own edible garden.'
Raising root veg
Carrots, turnips, potatoes and parsnips are easy choices when it comes to vegetable gardening for beginners and you don’t need a bed, according to Harry.
'Balconies are a great place to harvest root vegetables – ensure the pots used for your crops are at least 40cm [16in] deep to give the vegetables enough room to grow,' he says.
Sun-loving, exotic varieties
Exotic peppers and chilies love a sunny spot on a balcony. 'These plants require hours of sunlight, so they can be placed in pots on sunny window sills outside or inside,' says Harry.
Not only are they tasty, but they look beautiful, too. 'Use different varieties of peppers and chilies to add fabulous colors to the outside space,' he suggests.
Climbing fruit plants utilize balcony walls and make the most of every inch of limited outdoor space. Make your own colorful and mouth-watering fruit garden outside and plant raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and grapes.
'A vertical garden makes green space really accessible,' says Matt Lindsay, General Manager at vertical garden specialists Growing Revolution. 'As attention continues to turn to where our food comes from, we’re not hugely surprised that people are now thinking about what more living walls can offer them. With a fixture against an external wall or on a balcony, those in flats and other urban homes can reap the physical, mental and environmental rewards that gardening for production provides.'
You can also easily grow fruit trees (chose varieties that don’t grow above 5ft/1.5m) on a balcony. Choose dwarf fruit trees to grow in pots, such as apricots, cherries, peaches and pears. Varieties of columnar fruit trees are also perfect for balconies as they grow in a narrow shape.
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.
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