What veg can I grow on a north-east facing balcony in Toronto?
March 26, 2020 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Well, my question pretty much fit in the title. What can I grow under those conditions where I live? (And I guess, where’s a good place to get seeds and other gardening stuff?) I can keep houseplants alive by watering them when I remember to, but haven’t ever tried to grow a thing to eat.
posted by cotton dress sock to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In terms of where to get stuff, I just bought some potting soil at Home Depot in Leaside. They didn't have many plastic pots yet, though, so I've ordered those online (again from Home Depot although Canadian Tire will have a selection, too). Potting soil delivery seemed cumbersome for the little I needed (I container garden).

I ordered some seeds and some seedlings from Richters.

For the early growing season, herbs, lettuce, and spinach are pretty forgiving. Don't bother with tomatoes since they need a lot more sun than it sounds like you have.

Toronto Urban Growers has more info.
posted by TORunner at 7:33 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]

You should start by figuring out how many hours of sunlight the balcony gets per day during the growing season. (Which means making your best guess based on what you see now. Of course, the day length and angle of the sun will be different during summer.) If it gets at least 6 hours of sun (maybe even a little less) you should be able to grow some things. If the amount of sun is limited, this article lists some vegetables that can grow in shadier spots.
posted by Redstart at 7:36 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Now is just the right time to start seeds indoors, if that's the route you want to go. Before all this started, I'd gotten a starter mini-greenhouse tray with little compressed discs that you add water to and they poof up into individual cylinders of growing material. That seemed like a nice route to go because then you can fit the whole tray on a cheap heating mat and under a cheap grow light, whereas if you go straight to the bigger pots, you're more at the mercy of whatever conditions you can find, and everything takes longer with higher failure rates. I also like that the cylinders look like they'll be easy to pluck out of their spots when the time comes, whereas I've struggled to not damage plants coming out of those egg carton-style trays before. I planted mine on Sunday and already have some itsy plants poking up, so that's exciting!
posted by teremala at 8:33 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

Lettuce, kale, spinach, chard, turnips (for greens) and radishes all come up quickly and go directly into pots. Herbs need to be started indoors and repotted when they are a few inches tall. Mint will need its own pot and is better to get already established from a garden store.

Onions take longer, bit you could easily do green onions or leeks in a pot. Plant them directly in the pot. Make extra sure they arent too crowded as you thin out the successful ones.

Squash and zucchini would also work in a larger pot. Plant direct and make sure they have plenty of space around the pot to spread out.
posted by ananci at 10:15 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]

How about potatoes? You can grow them in a large pot/planter and they don't require too much sun. I've never grown them myself though.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:00 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

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