Growing crops on a balcony can be a great project. However, some important considerations set it apart from normal crop growing. The most obvious is space.
As such, it’s best to focus on high-yield crops that you can actually justify growing on a balcony.
If you’re looking to get the biggest “bang” for your balcony gardening buck, we’ve rounded up some of the best crops for balcony gardening.
What Makes a Crop Suitable for Balcony Gardening?
There are a few things to bear in mind when choosing crops for balcony gardening:
- Container requirements. Obviously, you’ll be growing crops in a container. Look for ones that can be grown in 5-10-gallon containers, as these are a good compromise between size and capacity.
- Yield. This is the main focus of this article. Choose crops that have high yields because this simply gives you more fruits or vegetables for the space you use.
- Supermarket cost. While not the main consideration, think about how much each crop can cost in the supermarket. For example, growing potatoes on a balcony can be high-yield but are fairly cheap, meaning it might not be worth growing them on a balcony.
Tomatoes are one of the best container crops. You can grow them in 5-gallon pots, and each plant can yield hundreds of tomatoes. Better yet, they’re recurring crops, meaning you get a season-long run from a well-kept plant.
Bonus tip: Cherry tomato varieties have a comparatively higher yield than salad or beef tomatoes.
Sure, lettuce might not be the most expensive food at the supermarket, but how many times have you bought a bag, only for it to go squishy in days? Plus, growing it at home is so much better. First, you only need small pots (railing planters are ideal), and you can fit several plants in the same container.
Also, most lettuce varieties are cut and come again. In short, this means you can just snip off the leaves you want for your salad and the plant will continue to grow.
Bonus tip: You can squeeze a few lettuce plants in the bottom of other pots, as they’re happy in shady spaces and can be used as companion plants.
If you’ve ever eaten a homegrown strawberry, you’ll know how much better they are than supermarket ones. They’re a great high-yield crop that can be grown in hanging containers or vertical wall planters, meaning you can save on space.
Like lettuces, you can use strawberries as companion plants if you wish. However, your yields will be higher if they have plenty of pot space to grow.
Bonus tip: Look for perpetual varieties (also called everbearers) to get small flushes all season rather than one big crop.
4. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a great summer food and, like their cousin the tomato, can produce season-long crops. With the right care, you can have a plant that gives you peppers for months in a steady stream.
Bonus tip: Choose a dwarf variety like Confetti Hybrid for smaller, sweeter peppers that take up less room.
A single plant can produce dozens of zucchinis throughout the season, making them perfect for high-yield container gardening. They’re vining plants, so make sure you provide them with plenty of support to grow vertically.
Bonus tip: Vining cucumber plants can be grown in the same way as zucchinis, and they’re another high-yield plant.
Blackberries are a climbing plant, meaning you can grow them up a wall or along your balcony railing. They’ll be happy in a 10-gallon pot that has plenty of root space and will provide a decent crop of fruit during late summer and fall.
Bonus tip: Look for a thornless variety (such as Apache Thornless) to save your hands!
Mint grows vigorously and is best kept in a pot because it can be invasive if left alone. While you might not get through as much mint as you would peppers or tomatoes, it’s great to have on hand for some homemade mint tea. Plus, it doesn’t need loads of space to produce a decent harvest.
Bonus tip: Pinch off growing tips for your tea, as this’ll help keep the plant bushy. Helpfully, they also taste the best.
There are plenty of other high-yield crops that suit balcony gardening. One area to consider is herbs because they’re compact and can be expensive to buy at the supermarket.
Whatever you choose to grow, use this list as inspiration for the sorts of crops that do well in balcony and container gardening.