A balcony-raised bed transforms open space into small garden paradises. We give tips on what to look for when building or buying a raised bed for a terrace or balcony.
Garden areas are rare, especially in cities, and so your own balcony for growing vegetables, herbs, and co. Is increasingly becoming the focus. Raised beds are quite easy to build yourself or buy as a kit, make efficient use of the available space, and have some advantages over normal planters. We give you tips on how you can build a raised bed on the balcony yourself, which materials you need and which filling and planting is optimal.
Raised bed on the balcony: build it yourself or buy it?
Whether you build your raised bed yourself or want to buy a finished kit is initially a question of manual skills and the materials available. Essentially, two aspects should be considered when choosing raised beds for the balcony: the weight and the available space. The location of the raised bed is also crucial because it determines which plants can thrive there. Length, width, and height can be individually determined for self-made buildings and thus fitted exactly into the balcony. However, the planning and construction are time-consuming. Prefabricated raised beds, on the other hand, are quick and easy to set up, but often do not exactly fill the available space, so that valuable growing space can be lost.
The bed should be at least 40 cm high to ensure a drainage layer and sufficient soil for a good rooting of future plants. Higher beds also allow back-friendly work, store existing moisture for longer and also offer enough space for growing root and tuber vegetables.
Build a raised bed yourself: DIY ideas
Raised beds can be built in all conceivable shapes, with angular variants being available on most balconies. A raised bed made of pallets not only offers space for the plants inside but can even be filled with hanging or low plants on the side. It is also possible to assemble a raised bed from several wooden fruit boxes. Overall, stacking offers extremely diverse design options.
Several elongated plant boxes can be stacked in a wooden frame to form a step bed, vertical shelf bed, or a plant pyramid. Light raised beds on stilts are also suitable for less massive balconies and also offer storage space for garden utensils. A combination of raised bed and trellis also offers climbing plants such as runner beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ) or cucumbers ( Cucumis sativus ) sufficient space and also serves as a privacy screen. Alternatively, hanging baskets or small flower boxes can be attached.
Buy a raised bed for the balcony
Raised balcony beds are available in garden centers and hardware stores as ready-made kits or as a whole. Raised beds made of wood, galvanized metal or plastic are well suited for the balcony due to their low weight. The large selection of colors, shapes, sizes, and materials offers a suitable raised bed in a wide variety of price ranges for almost every balcony owner.
Fill and plant the balcony raised bed
If the raised bed is in the right place, it can be filled. Wooden raised beds are first lined on the inside with a dimpled sheet or pond liner to protect the material and keep moisture in the soil. Then the filling of the various layers of raised beds is on the plan.
As a drainage layer, coarse materials such as shrub cuttings or thick branches and occasional stones are first poured in. Wood chips, leaves, and lawn clippings follow as a filler layer. Now a well-ripened compost layer is inserted, which serves as a nutrient reserve and water storage. Our Gardender organic compost soil is ideal for filling the compost layer.
The peat-free compost, which is sustainably produced in the USA, promotes soil life and healthy root growth thanks to its high humus content. Finally, there is a layer of high-quality potting soil. Depending on the choice of plants, these are permeable, rather nutrient-poor herbal soils or pre-fertilized substrates for nutrient-loving vegetables.
In addition to annual flowers, space-saving vegetables or various herbs are particularly suitable for planting raised balcony beds. These include determined growing bush tomatoes such as ‘Hoffmanns Rentita’ or ‘Tiny Tim’ – you can find out more about tomatoes in raised beds in our special article. Chili plants (Capsicum ) or exotic plants such as Pepino ( Solanum muricatum ) and pineapple cherry ( Physalis pruinosa ) are just as suitable.
Leafy vegetables such as Pak Choi ( Brassica rapa subsp. Chinensis), lettuce ( Lactuca sativa ), or spinach ( Spinacia oleracea ), and radishes ( Raphanus sativus ) can be planted throughout the season. In low beds, you can also plant root vegetables such as the small-rooted carrot variety ‘Pariser Markt’. You can also grow strawberries on the balcony.
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