How to grow food on your balcony

COVID is turning some of us into city-farmers. If you’re like me, and you’re new to growing stuff, you might find the tips below helpful.

Check the rules for your apartment.

If your landlord doesn’t allow growing plants on your balcony don’t do it. Tomatoes are not worth being evicted over. Not even cherry tomatoes.

Can the balcony handle the load from plants?

Don’t ask me how I know that not all balconies are strong enough to hold an extra load.

One tomato plant, with soil, and water, loaded with fruit, can easily top 50 pounds. Three tomato plants weighs more than most of my roommates. What if my roommate sits down next to my tomato plant on a sixth floor balcony?

Check the sun (5-6 hours min) and calculate how far you’ll need to lug water for your plants, and then…

Buy the hardiest, easiest-to-grow plants out there. You’ll STILL struggle because you can’t skip watering them. Even when you’ve been out the night before, and LeBron is in the finals, and the World Cup has started, you can’t skip the water.

Plants are like dogs.

They need water.

Containers and dirt

Buy containers (at least 12 inches deep) with drain holes, load the bottom with rocks, fill them with good container soil.

Picking out the plants

Since you’re a newb, we’re going with plants not seeds. Stick to tomatoes with determinant growth (how tall they get is determined by their genetics), some herbs, maybe some peppers to throw in your eggs. But don’t overdo it. You need to water them, remember?


I bought my plants through Burpee. I picked them out, they mailed the plants. I know it’s cheaper to grow them from seeds; maybe I’ll do that next year. For now, I have 4-inch tall, green, respectable tomato plants.

For now, I’m crushing the pandemic food shortage.

Next week, I’m going to learn how to milk a cow.


Balcony Garden Web

The Spruce


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