Thinking of growing some edible plants but don’t have a big enough patio or backyard garden space? You can still grow several edible plants that do not require much space. From fresh herbs in your kitchen garden and cherry tomatoes in vertical planters to salad leaves in your balcony garden, you can grow a number of these edible plants to supplement or sustain your lifestyle.
Here’s how to grow some of the easiest, low-maintenance and space-saving edible plants. Harvest fruits and vegetables that are grown in your backyard and make it a truly rewarding gardening experience. And yes, these edible plants can flourish in our Malaysian weather.
The fruit can be easily grown in small spaces, like a balcony or a terrace. They can thrive well in pots that are 18 to 24 inches wide or more.
The crops of tomatoes usually require a warm climate, and you will have to wait until 30 to 40 days before harvesting them from when the seeds had been sowed.
Tips to grow tomatoes like a pro:
Choose the best variety that yields maximum produce and sow the seeds in a quality soil mixture. For growing cherry tomatoes, vertical planters are a good choice.
Make sure that this edible plant gets ample, direct light — the tomato plant loves warmth. Water it regularly but avoid overdoing it or it may wilt. Prune old and yellow leaves to keep the tomato plant healthy.
Mint is one of the easiest and fastest-growing perennial herbs. Choose a small pot, ideally 8 to 12 inches in diameter, with excellent drainage, and it can be grown in a kitchen garden.
This edible plant can be harvested by snipping its sprigs when they are about 8 inches long.
Tips to grow mint like a pro:
It is best to propagate mint from plant cuttings. Place them in a jar full of water or sow the seeds directly in a pot of soil. Mint loves partial shade and moist soil. So, keeping the pot by the window encourages growth.
It is a hardy plant, thus requiring little care. However, it requires regular trimming to keep its roots from growing into other plants.
Microgreens are seedlings of various vegetables and herbs which are packed with nutrition. They make a great garnish for salads, sandwiches and smoothie bowls. The best thing about them is that they do not require much space or time to grow and can be grown indoors as well as outdoors.
Tips to grow microgreens like a pro:
Begin by choosing the type of seed mix — you can go for salad greens, beetroots, herbs, broccoli, to name a few. Start by sowing one type of seed in a potting tray. Allow the seeds to germinate by placing the pot in a bright, sunny spot for 4-5 days and keep removing any weeds that may grow alongside. You can harvest them after two weeks.
The evergreen plant can be effortlessly grown in a backyard or a balcony garden. They flourish in warm temperatures with ample sunlight. High in vitamin C, lemons can be added to garnish salads and make healthy beverages.
Tips to grow lemons like a pro:
Make sure that the container used to grow the plant has a drainage hole. You can sow the seeds in a potting mix. As soon as they germinate, place the pot in the sunlight.
The most suitable direction for lemon plants to grow is the south because it receives the maximum light. These plants demand adequate nutrition from time to time. So, remember to add compost to the soil mix every two months, other than the much-needed nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
The leafy vegetable has many variants, like romaine, iceberg and butterhead, to name a few. So first, choose the type of lettuce you want to grow. They are easy to grow in a balcony garden and can be harvested within 4 to 6 weeks.
Tips to grow lettuce like a pro:
When sowing lettuce seeds, they should be spaced out evenly in a potting mix and watered thoroughly in the initial days. After one week, they tend to germinate and can be harvested within a month.
These edible plants and their roots spread as they grow. So, choose a pot that is about 6 to 12 inches in diameter. A tray works best for lettuce. The temperature should neither be too hot nor too cold. It is best to harvest its leaves in the morning as they are the freshest.
Another edible plant you can easily grow in small spaces is rosemary. It is a perennial and low-maintenance herb. It can be propagated through stem cuttings and seeds. You can even plant it in egg cartons and then transfer it to a tray or a pot.
Tips to grow rosemary like a pro:
Terracotta pots with a good drainage system are the optimal choice for planting rosemary. The plant prefers a warm and humid environment. Ensure that you water the plant lightly but regularly. Allow the soil to dry out before watering it the next time.
To encourage full growth, place the pot outdoors so that it receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight.
Although its seed is quick to germinate, you can grow this houseplant from cuttings as well. It is an annual herb that thrives best in tropical climates.
Tips to grow basil like a pro:
Basil plants require moist soil; so they need to be watered almost every day. Depending on the variety, they can be harvested as soon as leaves start to appear or around 50 to 60 days of planting.
The plant needs about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, so it can be kept on a well-lit windowsill. The soil should remain moist at all times. Clip basil leaves regularly to encourage fuller growth.
The versatile and edible houseplant is a great addition to your small balcony garden. It doesn’t require much space, unlike other bean plants. You can start by sowing seeds 4 to 8 inches apart in a well-drained soil mix, preferably in a tray container in rows.
The yield is maximum in their growing season (March or April) and can be harvested after 30 to 60 days of planting.
Tips to grow pole beans like a pro:
Pole beans grow into vines. So, they require a steady support structure. You can install wooden posts when plants reach 6 inches of height. Make sure to harvest every 3 to 4 days after pods reach their full size or else they will turn woody or bitter.
Belonging to the cabbage family, Kale is a nutrient-dense year-round vegetable. It is another fast-growing edible plant that thrives well in small pots or containers.
Kale plants love being in partial sunlight and can be best sown almost any time.
Tips to grow kale like a pro:
Sow kale seeds in pots, trays or raised beds with good drainage systems. Water them regularly and you can harvest the leaves for your salads within 30 to 60 days of planting.
Kale plants yield the maximum crop in fertile soil. So, make sure you use compost or organic matter from time to time in the growing season. Discard old or yellow leaves to ensure that the plant doesn’t develop fungus or any other disease.
Bell peppers are easy to grow in planters, raised beds or in the backyard. They prefer warm weather and may require initial care. But overall, they are easy to maintain.
Depending on the variety of peppers you choose, you can either grow them from seeds or seedlings in a well-drained container. You may begin to harvest peppers as soon as the fruit is firm and grows 3 to 4 inches in length.
Tips to grow bell peppers like a pro:
These plants hate colder temperatures. So, make sure to plant them during summers. Bell peppers do well around tomato plants too. Remember to add a good layer of compost after your first harvest to replenish them with nutrients for another yield.
This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.