August falls firmly in the summer season, but believe it or not, it’s the time to plant if you want to harvest crisp vegetables this fall.
If your apartment balcony gets enough sun, you can plant a container garden and grow your own food this fall, which saves you money in addition to brightening up your balcony.
You’ll want to invest in large containers, each one at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep, so your vegetables will have enough room to thrive.
Here are a few fall vegetables to consider planting this year:
If your balcony gets 8 hours of sun per day:
Broccoli: Plant seeds 10 inches deep and no closer than 18 inches apart. Make sure the soil has a place to drain, and fertilize regularly with liquid plant food. Harvest the central head of broccoli as it matures.
Carrots: Plant seeds 8-12 inches deep, about 3 inches apart. For container gardens, use a short root variety, such as Short and Sweet or Scarlet Nantes. Soil should be loose and well-drained, and it’ll take about two and a half months for carrots to fully form.
Kale: Plant about 10 inches deep and 15 inches apart. Add soil at the bottom of your container, then 2-4 inches of compost, then more soil. Kale grows faster with a steady supply of water and nutrients, but it’s fairly hardy, so don’t worry about getting it perfect.
If your balcony gets 6 hours of sun per day:
Leaf lettuce: Plant 8 inches deep and about 9 inches apart – you can plant seeds closer together if you plan on harvesting outer leaves as they mature. Don’t let plants get crowded or it’ll affect their quality. Be sure to keep the soil moist – dry soil makes lettuce bitter.
Spinach: Plant 8 inches deep. Keep them healthy with a steady supply of water and nutrients, but don’t let the soil get soggy. Your spinach will be ready to harvest in about 40 days.
Chard: Often used in salads or just sauteed, both the stems and the leaves of chard are edible. Baby chard leaves will do better without full sun. Water regularly and deeply, and expect plants to grow as high as 2 feet.
If your balcony gets 3-4 hours of sun per day:
Arugula: This earthy, leafy green loves cool temperatures and shade. Plant 1-3 inches apart, and expect seedlings to emerge in a week or two.
Green onions: Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart. Thin the plants when they reach 4 inches high, and mound the soil up around the base of each plant. Harvest when they’re at least 6 inches tall.
Image credits: Shutterstock / Carolina K. Smith MD; Flickr / boboroshi; Wikimedia Commons / edibleoffice