Fruits and vegetables raised in your own small plot are always more fun to eat, and many people enter hobby gardening this way to counter the hectic daily work-and-school schedule. It’s just so pleasing to watch your own tomatoes grow on the balcony: it’s a daily experience of personal success, from seed or seedling right up to harvest. Your own harvest tastes incomparably better when so fresh and fully sun-ripened.
Snack Peppers and Balcony Tomatoes
Vegetables for snacking on that don’t need very much space to grow can be raised in a pot. They grow compactly and produce small fruits with few seeds. The small pepper ‘Daisy’ can be eaten straight from the plant. From August til October it sets fruit that is orangey red and tastes sweet and aromatic. The balcony cucumber ‘Mini Stars’ can be trellised as a climbing vine or grown in a hanging basket, and the 4-inch long cucumbers will grace your table from July until September. Even more extraordinary is the container eggplant ‘Ophelia,’ whose pink blossoms yield small, oval-shaped fruit. Of course, tomatoes are some of the best loved balcony plants. With enough sun they’ll do better here than in a garden plot, as long as they also have protection from wind and rain. The ‘Evita’ tomato produces red, heart-shaped fruit all summer long, and they’re excellent in salads, pasta, and on pizzas — or as a snack between meals.
Being able to literally harvest the fruit of your own labor is always a pleasure, whether its strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries — there are cultivars of each that are best-suited to a balcony garden. Strawberries can be harvested more easily when planted in a hanging basket, since the fruits of these low-growing plants are raised high above the soil, and will also stay cleaner and fresher. Another way of improving harvest and saving space when growing fruit to grow it as a small standard plant. It will fit in a 2.5-gallon tub in a community garden or on a patio or balcony, and the fruit will grow more robustly for having better air circulation. It’ll dry more quickly after downpours, too, which will ameliorate disease and improve yield. Gooseberry and currant are classic berry standard plants. Try growing your own small-scale fruit garden and get ready to reap delicious rewards! (GPP)