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If you have a bare balcony staring at you, filling it with edible plants will give you the greatest joy.  Edible plants are some of the easiest to grow, even for beginner gardeners.  A little confidence and good observation skills are all you need as there is nothing technical about growing your own fresh salads.

Essentials for balcony gardens:

  • Use large pots and if space is limited plant multiple varieties of plant in one pot.
  • Add coco peat to potting mix to increase water holding capacity of the soil Coco peat is a recycled product that’s cheap and beneficial to plants growth.
  • Protection from hot afternoon sun is essential for soft delicate plants. The use of taller plants for shade or a small canopy of shade cloth will benefit establishing plants.
  • A trellis or frame is needed for larger plants such as climbing beans or cherry tomatoes.
  • Water saving products are critical for successful summer gardens. These include crystals or planting gel such as Seasol Planting Gel which are added to potting mix at planting and wetting agents that will prevent soil from becoming water repellent. Seasol Planting Gel is a blend of semi hydrated water storing crystals, Seasol and essential nutrients directly to the plants roots at the critical time of planting to give them the best start possible.
  • Regular foliar feeding is crucial to ensure good production and tasty fruit. Totally soluble fertilisers that are applied via the foliage are absorbed very quickly and benefits to the plant are seen almost immediately. Fortnightly applications are beneficial. Try Seasol 750mL Foliar Spray, it’s an easy to use spray pack, with no mixing required. It contains Seasol and nutrient,  plus it has an odour neutraliser, so it’s ideal for indoor plants.
  • Select dwarf growing plants. These varieties have been selected primarily for growing in small spaces without compromising on taste and quantity.
  • Ensure plants are kept moist, but not flooded and water before wilting stage.

Common mistakes to avoid when planting up a balcony:

  • Selecting pots that are too small. These dry out very quickly and plants root are damaged from the reflected heat. The more soil around a plants root system the better, it doesn’t dry out as quickly and the root system will stay cooler.
  • Attempt to grow sun loving plants in a heavily shaded position. This will result in stretched weak growth and plants that are susceptible to fungal diseases.
  • Neglect the fact that potted edible plants will require regular fertilising to ensure continuous production.
  • Over watering is common when pots have a saucer or tray under them. These are used to avoid the water staining or damaging the floor and sometimes cause more problems to plants than what it’s worth. Always allow the tray to dry out before watering again or raise the pot up on feet so there is no potential for the pot to continually sit in water. The symptoms for overwatering and under watering are very similar and it’s just as easy to over water as it is to not apply enough. The easiest way to check if a potted plant needs water is to put your finger in the soil, if it feels dry the plant needs watering.

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