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If you have a balcony, here are our tips for the top five vegetables to start your urban organic allotment.
There are many important events that have been celebrated on balconies – from the infamous scene in Romeo and Juliet, to the royal family’s appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on auspicious occasions.
A number of Royal ‘carrot-tops’ appear on the balcony, but it seems to me a real shame that there aren’t any real carrots … because balconies tend to be built to trap the sun and therefore make a perfect location for a bit of urban vegetable-growing.
If you have a balcony, here are our tips for the top five vegetables to start your urban organic allotment:
- The tomato is a really simple plant to grow and will reward you with lots of fruit (let’s not get into that debate) in the summer. Tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, and a surprising variety of colours. Be warned that some tomato plants can grow up to 2m tall – so if you don’t want the light blocked out, choose a bushy variety instead.
- Peppers can also bring colour to your balcony and again come in a number of different varieties – you can choose a traditional bell pepper which will grow through bright yellows and reds, or for a real shock of colour and taste, why not consider a Peruvian Purple pepper?
- If you get frustrated that salad leaves are expensive and often have a short lifespan in the fridge, then a living salad is for you. You can combine a number of different leaves like rocket, lettuce, endive and radicchio, and if you sow a few seeds every four weeks or so, you’ll have a continuous supply from spring until summer.
- Like other green leafy vegetables, chard and other beets are a great addition to a healthy diet. Getting children involved with growing chard is a good way to get them enthused about eating their greens – and fingers crossed you’ll be successful; if not, you’ll be eating a lot of it, as most species of chard produce three or more crops!
- Finally, if you want to recreate the royal wedding experience, simply grab a deep pot, fill it with peat and some fertiliser, and start sowing carrot seeds. In no time, you’ll have your own carrot-tops waving on your balcony.
PS: Urban vegetable growing isn’t just for balcony owners. Plants like windowsills and doorsteps too.