Our balcony garden when we started

MARPHYL balcony garden before

2 weeks later

MARPHYL balcony garden after

Have you always dreamt of growing your own veggies and herbs, but you live in an apartment and it just didn’t seem realistic? Or maybe you’ve noticed all those DIY urban gardens popping up in your social media feed recently and you began to wonder if you should try to make your own?

Regardless of what prompted you to start reading this article, you are on the right path. After you will have finished it, you will have enough knowledge and inspiration to create your own balcony garden with your favourite vegetables and/or herbs.

Who is this guide for?

  • People who have no or very little experience in growing things

  • Those who care about what they eat

  • Plant lovers who want to expand their hobby
  • Creative folks who want to try something new

Today, we will focus on the basics of how to create your own small garden in the limited space of your apartment. Here are some factors you should take into consideration before you start.

grow your own tomatoes balcony garden
Herbs ideas for balcony garden

What would you like to grow?

Let your imagination run free. Don’t limit yourself with the names of plants you can find in your local grocery store. Remember, that supermarkets usually stock goods that are in high demand and that are easy to transport and store. But you shouldn’t care about these limitations. Of course, don’t deny yourself a pleasure of munching on home-grown spinach and kale, but also consider growing something you haven’t tried before or you can’t easily find nearby. Here is a great list to start with.

How much energy do you want to put into your garden?

Salad greens and herbs are the easiest to grow, they require minimum effort and time. For instance, water spinach (or the kalmi saag) is one of the fastest growing greens, even when cultivated in a home garden. It can be grown from a cutting or a seed. If it has access to about three or four hours of sunlight every day, it grows phenomenally fast (about 30 days to harvest)! It’s packed with nutrients. Our favourite way of cooking it is to stir fry kalmi stems with leaves attached with soy source and garlic.
Other fast-growing veggies to get your garden jumpstarted (numbers in brackets indicate how many days it takes to harvest after planting):
  • Radishes (25-30)

  • Green Onions (20-30)

  • Lettuce (30)

  • Baby carrots (30)

  • Spinach (30-45)

  • Turnips (40)

What about the light?

Check out the hours of sunshine your balcony receives and which side it is facing. This will affect which plants you should choose to grow and how often you have to water them. Read on the guides below for more details:

Right light for your balcony garden

Let’s get to work! Choose your planters.

Nowadays, the variety of different pots, propagation trays and window boxes on the market is huge. It all depends on the space you have available and your personal preferences. To keep things simple, choose large wooden planters, chests and crates, these are cheap and wide and they can fit lots of herbs and vegetables that require similar growing conditions.
LifeSpace Gardens
In our own house, we opted for a more advanced solution – a hand crafted self-watering organic system from LifeSpace Gardens. This is how they describe their unique patented watering system: “In nature, the greenest most bountiful areas have one thing in common – a continuous source of groundwater. Instead of relying on the irregularity of rain, moisture is wicked up from water tables below the ground, which consistently provides plants with the optimal hydration level that allows them to thrive. The GardenWell System allows you to create this same water wicking environment in almost any raised bed or container garden”.
All we have to do is deposit water into the hidden reservoir below the soil. As long as it’s never left empty, water from the reservoir is able to naturally wick up into the soil consistently and evenly.

Last but not least – don’t forget the fertilizer!

You might have guessed already that we use MARPHYL Soil Enhancer in our balcony garden. It is made of 100% wild phytoplankton found in the Strait of Georgia. The ocean water gets pumped into tanks adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, where the phytoplankton naturally reproduces in big quantities (more than 100 million per tank). This reproduction process occurs on Vancouver Island under natural sunlight and environment. The Soil Enhancer is harvested when the nutrients have settled at the bottom of the tanks. This concentrated liquid contains an abundance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the marine phytoplankton.

MARPHYL Soil Enhancer Fertilizer balcony garden
  • 100% natural and organic (made with 100% pure marine phytoplankton)

  • Non – toxic

  • No preservatives

  • Pesticide free

  • Fungicide free

  • Run off safe as it originates in the ocean

  • Licensed by Canadian Food Inspection Agency

All you need to do is to mix 1 part Soil Enhancer and 20 parts of fresh water. You can water your balcony garden right away. Make sure to read up on the watering schedule for the particular herbs and vegetables that you are growing to avoid over watering.

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What is your experience with vegetable & herb balcony gardens? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

Arantza and Benjamin, founders of MARPHYL Marine Phytoplankton