Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Balcony Growing
If you are a city dweller or simply don't have access to a garden space, the good
news is that as long as you have a sunny location (balcony, porch, conservatory etc.), you
will be able to grow peppers. Peppers require relatively little space to grow yet a single
plant can provide a generous harvest. There are three main ways of growing peppers in
areas of limited space: in pots, in grow-bags or hanging baskets. While growing conditions
and care will be broadly similar depending on where and how you grow your peppers, bear
in mind that given the relatively small size of the containers, that these will require extra
care and watering.
Pots - one of the main concerns you may have is having a pot of the correct size for
your plant. While the plants themselves may not grow too large, you must ensure the pot is
large enough to accommodate their roots. As a general rule-of-thumb, if your plant is under
12 inches (30cm) tall, use a 2 gallon container, approximately an 8x7 inch (17-20cm) pot.
If your plant is larger than that, use a 5 or 10 gallon container (12x10.5 inches (30x26cm)/
16x12.5inches (40x31cm)), as this will give sufficient space for your plant to spread out
and grow. A larger pot also has the advantage of somewhat lessening the frequency of wa-
tering i.e. a shallower/smaller pot will dry out quicker needing more frequent watering etc.
To prevent any soil leakage from the bottom of the pot following watering, cover the base
of the pot with a fine mesh prior to the addition of soil. Also place your pot on a raised
support to allow for better drainage. Fill the pot with good quality soil/compost and work
in a fertilizer some weeks before planting. Choose a location which receives good sunlight
(at least 7-9 hours a day). If shade passes over the location of the pot during the day, move
the pot such that it continues to get sunlight. Depending on the variety of pepper grown
you may wish to place a stake or support in the pot, and support the plant using binding as
described previously. Keep a close eye on your pots initially to understand the frequency
of watering - place your finger 1 inch (2.5cm) into the soil and should it be dry, then it is
time to water.
Grow-bags - these are bags of soil/compost traditionally used for growing in
greenhouses. This allows for an efficient usage of space, has contained soil and so should
be free of any soil-borne diseases. They are also perfect for the city gardener/town dweller
as they provide ample growing space with a relatively minimal footprint. Grow-bags are
typically 13x37 inches (35x95 cm) and so can support two bell pepper plants. To plant in
a grow-bag, prepare the bag by shaking and kneading the bag to remove any clumps and
have the compost as light as possible. On the underside make several drainage holes. Turn
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