The biggest issue that you will face in your productive balcony is making sure that you plant things that you know you are going to eat lots of, and producing enough of them to be helpful in your kitchen! My answer – vertical gardens.
These will be ready made cedar privacy screens which will have 12 circular plastic coated pot holders hooked into the slats of the screen. These will hold 15cm pots, which you can pick up from just about anywhere. These pots of plants can easily be removed and replaced with new plants as they finish production, die or just get a bit tired with minimum fuss.
On the Northern end (or wherever there is shade for you) we will put shade loving herbs and salad greens. Dry loving at top wet loving at bottom, as there is some considerable water flow down between the plants.
Top row: One pot each of chives, Thai basil, Basil and parsley.
Middle row : One pot each of basil, mesclun mix ( replaced regularly) baby spinach( replaced regularly) and Rocket.
Bottom row: One pot each of Vietnamese mint, ordinary mint and coriander ( replaced regularly) and peppermint.
Against the western facing wall (or wherever there is sun for your space!) make sure you plant things that are heat loving and able to cope if they dry out a bit. The kids had a great set of shelves that they bought from Ikea that worked really well to create more vertical space for pots, but could also handle some larger pots (which are great for salad greens).
Top row: One pot each of prostrate rosemary, Thyme, oregano and golden marjoram.
Middle row: One pot each of Sage, Dill, garlic chives, and rocket (replaced regularly)
Bottom row: One pot each of lemon grass, Coriander, mesclun lettuce (replaced regularly) and wild rocket (replaced regularly)
There is a little more space on the balcony for three large pots (40cm), due to full length window and the Hot water and air-conditioning units. These can also be planted up to supplement everything else thats growing on the balcony.
One dwarf Eureka lemon under planted with Asian greens (alternate with other pots and replace regularly)
One Tahitian lime under planted with parsley ( alternate with other pots and replace regularly)
One kaffir lime tree under planted with strawberries.
One Curry leaf tree under planted with seasonal vegetables (alternate with other pots and replace regularly)
Two Smaller 20cm pots each side of larger pots which gives us 6 pots with seasonal vegetables, such as carrots, leeks , broccoli , beans, tomato, capsicum and chillis.
These plants are all designed to be most productive, particularly for a pair that eat alot of salad and asian foods.
However, they are also fairly low maintenance and could be quite easily adapted for your own garden.
For my definitive list of the Top 10 Veggies to Grow in Pots, check out this great Infographic.
Watch our video showing the construction and the finished result on the balcony!