What happened to last year’s balcony garden?

Last year I ran an experiment to discover how much food I could produce from our balcony garden. Growing vegetables on the balcony turned out to be very productive although we did have some disappointments.

patio garden

What were the balcony garden successes?

The runner beans were very successful. I have revised the ground plan for the balcony this year to make better use of them. I realised, too late, last year that growing them in the corner meant that half the plants would be in constant shade so this year they will be grown in a line along the wall rather than around a pot.

The cut and come again salads were fabulous. Even with one small trough of leaves we had as much as we could eat. This is a definite must for this year.

Radishes were a HUGE success. They grew to perfection in their trays and the only problem I have to solve this year is finding space for enough trays so that we can have a succession of radishes all summer.

Sugar snap peas grew well although we lost control of them midway through the summer so we didn’t discover their true potential. I think the possibly could do with a sunnier spot if we can manage it this year.

And the not so successful

Strawberries were grown in flower pouches last year. They seemed to grow and thrive, but the fruits were small and I think the pouches didn’t hold/provide enough water for the strawberries. This year we will look for a different solution.

French beans were a TOTAL failure but this was down to seed failure rather than a problem on the balcony. For some reason I just could not get the French beans to start. I am guessing that somehow the seed had been “damaged” so will try again this year – it’s not a problem I have ever encountered before so we’ll chalk it up to experience and move on.

Somewhat surprisingly the tomatoes didn’t do terribly well. It’s surprising because, when it comes to container gardening, tomatoes are usually the first vegetable to come to mind. I think the problem with the tomatoes was that they were growing underneath the strawberry pouches which meant they had a pretty damp life. Tomatoes prefer their roots to be watered and not their topsides so I am guessing that they didn’t like their strawberry neighbours dripping on them. We’ll look for a different spot for them this year as well.

In the next article we will look at what changes we will make for this year’s balcony garden in order to make the best of our container gardening.