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Updated June 25, 2012, 4:09 pm betterhomesgardens
The garden experts, Scotts Australia create a vegetable garden on a balcony.
What many people don't realise is that you don't need a quarter acre garden to grow fresh vegetables and by using an assortment of pots, even a small balcony that receives sun can produce vegetables, fruits and herbs.
Potted herbs such as basil, coriander, parsley and chives, as well as vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce and capsicum, and fruits such as strawberries and small potted citrus are all ideal balcony dwellers.
Leading gardening company Scotts Australia has come up with some great suggestions to help you to make the most of your balcony space and turn your everyday cooking into a culinary feast.Sun
Choose a spot for your potted garden that is in full sun for at least three to four hours a day. For best results, the spot should be sheltered from the wind.Shelf
Set up a shelf to elevate the pot plants from the ground. For best results use steps that will hold the taller plants at the back of the steps, and the small plants down the front. This will ensure each plant in your garden receives sunlight and is easy to water.Choice
Grow herbs to complement your cooking. Asian dishes: coriander, chillis and baby bok choy. Italian: basil, parsley, oregano and cherry tomatoes.
Seedlings are readily available from nurseries and garden centres. Varieties like mignonette lettuces, small cabbages, Asian vegetables and snow peas are all easy to grow in pots. By planting mixed punnets of salad greens, you can pick your own salad throughout the year.Pots
Choose a variety of sized pots depending on what you wish to grow and to fit the space.
Strawberries, lettuce and herbs can grow in pots that are around 15cm deep, while tomatoes, capsicum and citrus plants require a pot around 25-30cms in depth.
Terracotta, glazed ceramic, plastic or even polystyrene boxes are all suitable, but they must have drainage holes in the base. This will ensure the potting mix is well drained, preventing the plant roots from rotting.
Also use a drip tray to minimize water wastage.Seedlings
Pot your seedlings immediately after purchase. Plant the seedlings as far apart as the pot will allow. Place the smaller plants at the front of the pot, with the larger ones towards the back so that they all get a good amount of sun.Potting mix
Use a high quality potting mix like Osmocote Potting Mix to ensure the soil is high in nutrients and well drained. Osmocote Potting Mix contains Osmocote controlled release fertiliser, Hydroflo wetting agent to aid the re-wetting of dry soil and Stimulex plant protection system to help prevent root and leaf disease, which is common in potted plants.Vegetables
Veggies should be grown rapidly for best flavour. This is achieved by keeping the soil well drained and watered. Try using Miracle Gro plant food to assist in rapid growth. Mix Miracle Gro plant food with water and apply. Miracle Gro is packed full of nutrients and works incredibly quickly boosting the size and health of plants.
Plants growing in containers can dry out much faster than those growing in open ground especially if you have used terracotta pots. Remember that a good soaking is much better for your pot plants than an occasional light sprinkling.
To encourage plant growth use Osmocote Pots, Planters and Indoors for your potted herbs and vegetables every six months. This is a specially formulated, controlled release fertiliser that will encourage good vegetative growth. For small citrus varieties use Osmocote Trees, Shrubs and Citrus which is ideal for cumquats and Kaffir limes.
And finally, harvest and enjoy the fruits of your work.Source: Scotts Gardening Advice, 1800 804 219.