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15 Popular Herbs To Grow On Your Apartment Balcony

15 Popular Herbs To Grow On Your Apartment Balcony

So you have a gorgeous sun filled apartment balcony for gardening!  And you want to grown a small herb garden.  Yes, you can do it and it's easier than you think.

Knowing the basics of container gardening, plant watering needs and the type of potting soil you will need is critical.  Equally important is knowing the growth habits and environmental needs of the herb you select.  

Care of most herbs are similar.  Look for more details at the end, as well as a list for additional reading.  Source for nutritional information comes primarily from an excellent site:  Nutrition And You.  

Selecting your herbs according to your culinary and nutritional needs is the fun part.   See the slideshow below for your herb garden ideas.  Herb names, a short list of culinary and nutritional benefits are given.  The gallery of herbs in this slideshow include the following:  Basil, Bay (leaves) tree, Chives, Cilantro (coriander leaves), Dill, Fennel, French Tarragon, Mint, Nasturtium, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Lavender.  

 

Gallery of 15 Popular Herbs To Grow On Your Apartment Balcony

Choose the Right Container 

Choosing the right container for your herb gardening planning will depend upon considerations such as the following:

  • the herbs you select and how many;
  • the size of the plant (Containers that are too large will encourage increased root growth production; too small and the plant quickly becomes root bound. Both conditions reduces top growth.)
  • how much space you can or wish to allocate;
  • your design preference (a casual look versus a modern, formal look); 
  • your level of experience with apartment gardening; and
  • whether or not you will bring some or all of your herbs indoors for the winter.   

Almost any type of container may be used.  Still, you will need be aware of how much sun you get and is your sight windy? Both conditions will quickly dry out your plant pots.  Self-watering planters are by far ideal for water issues.  Pot planter designs are almost endless.  But the basic shapes are for vertical gardening, planter boxes,  clay and plastic pots, and large single containers, such as extra large pots or wheel barrel.  

See the next image for some examples of garden containers and check out my post Balcony Plant Containers: 14 Great Types.  Also, check out Do It Yourself sites for ideas and saving money. The vertical herb garden below is actually a shipping pallet. Instructions for such a re-purpose project can be found at Life On A Balcony, "How To Turn A Pallet Into A Garden."  Of course, you can purchase plant pots at local garden centers, hardware and department stores, as well as online.

Collage of planter pot types: vertical pallet, planter box, clay pots, clay strawberry pot and plastic rail plant container.  PALLET for vertical gardening, see Life On the balcony; Rail planter, see Gardening with disabilities on Mother Earth; Strawberry image FROM BLACKBV.HUBPAGES.COM  

Collage of planter pot types: vertical pallet, planter box, clay pots, clay strawberry pot and plastic rail plant container.
 PALLET for vertical gardening, see Life On the balcony; Rail planter, see Gardening with disabilities on Mother Earth; Strawberry image FROM BLACKBV.HUBPAGES.COM  

Purchasing or making your own potting soil mix

Ordinary potting soil, especially that from the ground, can be too heavy.  Herbs like a very loose, quick draining  soil. You can purchase a good pre-mixed potting soil and modify it. Or if you decide to make your own soil, you can follow this advice from Fine Gardening:

Potted herbs do well in compost and a sterile medium of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite, with quick- and slow-release fertilizer (compost is slow release). For all pots, throw enough compost in each pot to allow room for adding a depth of 6 more inches of sterile medium. Sparingly mix in water-absorbing polymers; they lessen the need for watering by making the best use of available moisture.

Nasturtium and thyme need special mixes:
For nasturtium, omit compost, and add extra vermiculite. Nasturtium needs light and lean soil to produce an abundance of flowers. Thyme requires sharp drainage, so you need to add grit (fine gravel or coarse sand).
— Fine Gardening

Incredible Sources Used To Write This Post

The one take away I got from writing this post was just how important herbs are not just in making foods taste delightful and look beautiful but its role in providing valuable nutrition.  I learned this at, and had heavily relied upon, Nutrition And You.  It gives excellent detailed profiles for herb nutrition.   

Other sites that were extremely helpful, and I hope you can visit them, are as follows:                                    

Herb Gardening - All they do is herb and that's really a good thing!
Planet Natural - You'll love their detailed, expert advice on growing herbs. 
Fine Gardening - an excellent garden magazine 
Cure Joy - Interesting tips on healthier eating using herbs

Finally, growing herbs on your apartment balcony has a theraputic effect, as well as the wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  Harvesting "your herb crop" always gives great pleasure when cooking.

I had been a volunteer master gardener for 5-1/2 and in 3 different states. I quickly learned that there is always something new, fun and challenging to learn about gardening.  I so hope if you have not taken the path for apartment gardening, you will.  Starting with herbs is a great beginning.  If you already grow herbs on your balcony, I would love to hear from you--your experiences and challenges, even a correction to this post.

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