Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Balcony Gardening - Wishlist and Planning

As I mentioned in my last post about my balcony gardening, one of the books (Sugar Snaps and Strawberries) I got from the library suggested the following:

"Make a list of everything you want to grow. If you have big dreams, make that list a long one. For now, don't let pesky details hold you back - such as the fact that rooftops are not usually considered appropriate places to grow wheat. If you want to grow it, put it on the list."

It then continued on with some other things to think about when making you list. And so, after carrying out that exercise. here's my wildly ambitious list of things I'd like to grow (in alphabetical order, I don't need to share with you the crazy order my brain came up with this list!):

Bean Shoots
Rocket Rosemary
Runner Beans
Sugar snap peas
Sweet Potato

From there, I used the information in the two books to annotate my list with which plants are well suited to various conditions (shady, windy, dry), which ones are suggested plants for small places as you get a good crop from them, and what size/depth pots they need to be planted into. From there I could examine my list and make a final list of things to grow, based both on what I'd like to try and grow, and what is sensible to try and grow.

Here's my final list, this time I've added columns indicating conditions each plant is reported to be tolerant of (windy, dry, shady), and plants that give a good yeild for their size

Plant Windy Dry Shady Crop
Basil *
Carrots * *
Lettuce * * *
Mint * *
Oregano * *
Potato *
Rocket * * *
Rosemary * *
Sage * * *
Spinach * * *
Strawberry *
Sugar Snap Peas / Beans * * * *
Thyme * * *
Tomato *

As you can see, most of the things I chose were suitable for the conditions that I have - quite windy, or more sheltered but less sunny (and trust me, these were the more suitable ones of the original list).

I then went out onto the balcony and armed with a tape measure tried imagining where I could put plants - I decided that as a starter I could put 7 large-ish (~35cm) pots along the front of the balcony, and another two  on the ends of the two shelving units - so 9-10 medium-large pots. Smaller pots could also go on the shelves as originally planned. Combining this information with the other information I'd gathered (when to plant, suitable pot size, water requirements, etc) I then sketched out a little balcony plan:

Large-ish pot spots:
- 1 and 2 - Herbs in large trench - Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sage
- 3 - Mint
- 4 - Basil, Chilli
- 5 and 6 - Tomato
- 7 - Potato
- 8 and 9 - Strawberry in large trench
- 10 - Bean/Sugar Snap Pea

Smaller pots on shelves:
- Lettuce
- Rocket
- Spinach

From this I made a shopping list and headed out to Bunnings for pots and potting mix, and to CERES for plants and seeds. I deliberately didn't go for the maximum I could fit straight away, I don't want to overwhelm myself. I hope to expand what I have in time, but I think this is sufficient for day 1.

In my next balcony garden update I'll share with you how much of my plan I followed, and show you some pics of my balcony garden, day 1.


  1. Really excellent planning. This is why you'll have success, I'm sure!

  2. I've think you've chosen well for the plats that will grow at this time of year in Melbourne! Would love to chat gardening with you soon!

  3. Look at you! You are killing it, and you will have a delicious garden very, very soon x


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