5 Tips for Growing Your Own Balcony Garden

Living in Brooklyn, it’s considered a miracle if you get any shared outdoor space or a communal rooftop. It’s even more rare to have a private balcony or terrace, which means if you have one of those, it would be a sin not to take advantage of it. And no, fire escapes don’t count since *technically* it’s illegal to block the passageway.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re going to share our top tips for a great balcony garden that will make you feel closer to nature even in the concrete jungle.

1. Pick Resilient Herbs or Vegetables

Being an herb or vegetable living in the city can be harsh. Depending on where you live, you might not have access to a ton of sunshine, or even clean air (read: lots of traffic). So, if you want a thriving balcony garden, you should make sure you buy seeds that can handle the harshness of city life. Some great examples are:

  • Lettuce
  • Pole beans
  • Chard
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint

2. Get creative with your pots

To have a successful balcony garden, you don’t necessarily need to spend money on expensive ceramic pots. Get creative! Litter boxes, plastic containers, and juice jugs are great for growing your garden – and add a bit of creative flair too. Just remember that you should always have drainage holes in the vessels you choose to avoid root rot and allow your plants to breathe. 

3. Test out different areas of your space

Plants are just as finicky about where they live as we are. Meaning, they might be happier in one corner of the garden than the other. Over a couple of weeks, test where your plants do their best by moving them to different areas. Tiny things that you might not notice might make a world of difference to your garden. Also be sure to pay attention which herbs like growing next to each other.

4. Mind your soil

If you’re growing a garden on your terrace, beware of those rodent pals that scurry nearby. Consider using organic blood meal in your soil to repel rats and other rodents, who can not only destroy (aka eat) your garden, but who can also develop an appetite for invading your home in search of more delicious treats. 

Nonetheless, make sure you use a well-draining potting mix – the best contain peat, sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite. And if you’re looking for a fertilizing boost, consider crushing egg shells and sprinkling them in your pots.

5. Water your garden consistently

Your outdoor garden will need a consistent watering schedule to give you the freshest tasting herbs, especially in the summertime. Be mindful in the spring of rain – you don’t want to overwater- and keep an eye on how often your herbs like to be watered. Also consider using mineral-rich water to give your plants an extra boost. Boiling eggs or steaming vegetables can be saved and used once it cools as a low-nutrient food for your plants. 


Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to elevate your life here in Brooklyn. Not only can you save a bit of money by not having to buy bunches of basil that end up dying in your fridge, but you can add that extra bit of flavor to whatever you’re cooking, or give extra freshness in your cocktail (mint juleps, anyone?). Plus, having access to natural life is great in general, and can make your little balcony feel like your own oasis. 


Ready to buy your own place? Download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook to get a step-by-step guide on the buying process and decide if now is the right time for you.

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