How to Create a Beautiful and Productive Raised Bed Garden on Your Balcony and Avoid the Mistakes

raised bed garden

A raised bed garden consists of soil which is raised from the ground and enclosed in some way. The classic version can be big and contain lots of plants.
You can create a raised bed garden on your balcony but if you want to avoid bad things like the balcony falling down, there are things you must do before building it.
That’s why planning is so important. Before you go out and buy the enclosure, you should know where to place them and how big you’ll allow them to be.

Planning Your Raised Bed Balcony

One of the disadvantages of a raised bed garden is that it’s difficult to move. When you’ve first placed them on your balcony and filled them with soil, depending on the size of your enclosure, you only have two options:

  • you must either remove the soil to move the enclosure and then fill it up again, or
  • carefully move the enclosure with the soil inside if it’s small and light enough.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to get a plan over your balcony from your landlord, make a copy of it, and use it to plan the positioning and sizes of your raised beds.
Consider things like:

  • Light—Is there direct sun, shade, or no sun at all at that spot?
  • Wind—Too much will harm your plants.
  • Weight—Don’t put all your heavy beds near the same spot.

You’ll also need to consider other things, like space between the beds, but we’ll look at that more in detail later in this post.
As for weight considerations… That’s an important one.

Don’t Overload Your Balcony

A balcony can handle a certain amount of weight. If you and others are on the balcony, your combined weight is spread over an area.
Add to that weight the soil and the enclosure-material, and the load goes up.
It’s important that you don’t overload your balcony and that you spread out the weight.
When you’re planning the set up of your balcony garden, you must take this into consideration. It’s super-important when it comes to raised beds, because they are heavier than containers and they are not easy to move.
Another thing to consider is that you need to be able reach all the plants in your raised bed. To obtain that you need beds that aren’t too wide, and you need to be able to walk between your beds.

Make Space Between Beds

To be able to tend to all of your plants in your raised bed, you need to have enough space between them so you can walk around them.
Take that into consideration when you’re planning your balcony garden.

Layer the Beds Correctly

You also need to plan what material to add first to your raised beds. When you do this step correctly, you’ll have a bed with healthy, fertile soil, and your plants will thrive.
There are different “templates” for layering your raised bed. One of them is the Hugelculture method, which is known to produce good results.
When you layer your beds according to the Hugelculture method, do it in this order:

  • Layer 1: Dead wood material (around 40%) like wood chips, pine bark, twigs, old potting soil, grass cuts.

    This layer serves as a draining layer to prevent rot and flooding, should it suddenly rain a lot. Over time, the content of this layer will decay and serve as fermentation for your plants.

  • Layer 2: Compost (around 30%). You can buy compost in a gardening store, or you can make it yourself from kitchen scraps.

    This layer will help your plants keep their roots warm during cold periods and provide your plants with plenty of nutrients

  • Layer 3: Vegetable garden-soil (around 30%) bought from a store. Besides offering soil to protect your plants’ roots from draught and light, it will provide nutrition for their growth.

You can find a YouTube video that shows the process here:

Now that your basis is ready, you can start planting seedlings or sowing seeds. However, there’s nothing more annoying than a few months later not remembering what plants you have started.

Label Your Seeds or Seedlings

As soon as you’ve put your seeds or seedlings into the ground, label it so you’ll know later what you put there.
This will help you take better care of your growing plants. It will also help you discern weed from the plants you want to let grow, because when you know what to look for, you can do an online search to see how the plant looks while growing.
You can buy labels to stick into the soil online or in a gardening store. They are well worth their price.

When Your Bed Plants Are Growing

The moment, you’ve waited for has arrived. Your bed plants are growing. Now you need to provide them with the right care.

A Raised Bed Balcony Garden Is More Like a Real Garden

When you grow plants in classic garden, you need shovels, spades, garden hoses, and rakes among other tools.
With raised beds on your balcony, you’ll also need tools. Not as many, and much smaller, though.
Buy a set of a small rake and shovel and get gardening gloves and you’re well on your way. You’ll also need either a watering can or an irrigation system. We’ll talk more about the latter in a moment.
After a while, your plants will have drained the soil from nutrition, and you’ll need to amend the soil.

Watering or Irrigation

Should you use an irrigation system or are your beds so small and so few that you can simply water your plants with a watering can?
That’s for you to decide.
The cheapest option is of course the watering can, but the easiest is setting up an irrigation system that will keep the soil humid.

Remove the Weed

Although a balcony garden isn’t that prone to sprout weed, it will happen. There will be a few weed seeds in the soil you buy. Weed seeds can come to your balcony blown in by the wind. Or carried with a bird.
You should remove the weed with roots when it’s only a tiny seedling. If you keep an eye on your raised bed daily or several times a week, it’s easy to put on garden gloves and pull out the weed.

What Do You Think? Raised Beds or Not?

There are clear advantages of raised beds, as you can tell from this article. There are also disadvantages. At least you know now what you can expect and what kind of gardening work you should put into it.

Haven Greensprout

I've found my passion in balcony gardening, relishing the simplicity and joy it brings to my urban life. The thrill of harvesting my own veggies has transformed my balcony into a lush oasis, proving there's unmatched delight in homegrown goodness.

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