Some vegetable gardens take up large amounts of space, spreading across immense plots or even small acreages. Although these large gardens supply vast amounts of fresh produce, some types of vegetables also thrive in smaller areas, such as patios or balconies. Successful balcony gardens require sufficient lighting and adequate containers, as well as a suitable selection of vegetable plants. Consider each plant's growth habits, characteristics and requirements when choosing vegetables for your balcony garden.
A favorite of many gardeners, tomato plants provide juicy fruits for balcony gardens. Choose small tomato plants, such as cherry tomatoes, 'Small Fry,' 'Tiny Tim' and 'Roma' varieties. These small tomato plants reach a mature height between 12 inches and 3 feet, making them good varieties for small, well-lit balconies. Plant in rich, well-drained soils in deep pots. Place in the sunniest spot of your balcony. Keep the soil slightly moist and provide protection from wind on balconies that experience occasional gusts. Bring your tomato plants indoors if your forecast calls for temperatures near freezing.
Grown in deep pots, small carrots can thrive in patio and balcony gardens. 'Thumbelina,' 'Little Finger' and 'Gold Nugget' make good varieties for container gardens. Plant them in loose soil, in pots that allow 2 or 3 inches of extra space beyond the expected length of your carrots. Like most vegetable plants, carrots prefer large quantities of sunlight, but they tolerate partial shade and filtered light. Keep these slightly moist to encourage healthy growth. Plucking these from the soil before they reach full maturity will supply tasty, crisp produce in the form of baby carrots.
Choose small varieties of leaf lettuce and head lettuce, such as 'Tom Thumb,' 'Buttercrunch,' 'Bibb' and 'Salad Bowl.' Lettuce requires bright sunlight to thrive and produce rich colors. Plant lettuce seeds in 1-gallon pots, filled with well-drained, rich soil. Thin seedlings as they grow to provide the correct amount of space between each one, according to the instructions on your seed packet. Keep these moisture-loving plants in slightly damp soil. Rotate your potted lettuce plants every few days to ensure even exposure to sunlight.
Often grown and used as an herb, some varieties of pepper plants thrive on balconies. In addition to spicing up your meals, these plants can enhance the appearance of your balcony with their green, red and yellow fruits. Choose small-fruited varieties like 'Red Cherry,' 'Yolo Wonder,' 'Canape' and 'Keystone Resistant Giant.' Grow a couple of these plants together in a large, 5-gallon pot. Use an average potting mix and keep evenly moist near the roots.