When we talk about “grow your own” it’s all too easy to assume there is a garden or allotment available. However, with the trend of being self-sufficient becoming increasingly popular, here at Notcutts we are being asked how people without an open area can still grow their own vegetables. Without an outdoor space the number and choice of crops you can grow is limited, but certainly it’s still possible to achieve bumper crops of healthy food.
Some flats are lucky enough to have an outdoor space in the form of a balcony, which gives you the ideal spot to grow a few fruit and veg. Growing in containers can give just as good a result as growing veg in a raised bed or greenhouse. The only trick to know is when your crops need to be planted out into bigger containers. There are many crops you can grow on the balcony, even if it’s totally shaded. Here is a guide to what crops to look for:
• If you have three to six hours sunlight a day, choose crops that prefer partial sun or partial shade.
• If you receive a continuous stream of light through the branches of trees or something similar you’re looking for plants that like dappled or filtered light.
• However, if you have less than three hours of sunlight a day, you need to look for crops that love to be kept in full shade.
Top Tip: It isn’t just in containers where you will be able to achieve a bumper crop; hanging baskets are also a great alternative.
No matter where you live, you don’t just have the option of growing a herb garden or strawberries on a windowsill, there are plenty of veg and tropical fruits you can grow too. Tucked into containers you can also enjoy growing the likes of figs and mini-pineapples. When growing such fruits as well as herbs and veg, all the cardinal container growing rules apply; good soil and regular watering and feeding are essential. However, many of these crops do need to be kept in full sun.
Here are some of the foods you could be growing on your windowsill at home:
Top Tip: If your windowsill doesn’t provide enough light for some of your crops, such as peppers and tomatoes, use fluorescent, HID or LED grow lights.