Please share favorite balcony container gardening tips. I have grown vegetable gardens in the past; but, always with a yard (i.e., lettuce/greens/herbs in container, Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. in the ground). But, I am new to the balcony gardening scene having downsized from a home with a yard to a condo with a sunny, 25-foot balcony that faces west with an unobstructed view. There is a tall evergreen-type tree at the very end of the south side of the balcony that is home to birds and I occasionally see a squirrel on the balcony. So, I’m starting with just a few plants this year: two Big Beef tomatoes, two bell peppers, one cilantro & a few garlic cloves pushed into the dirt. With the fickle weather we’ve had, right now they are happy indoors in front of long, sliding glass door with lots of sun. If all goes well, I'll plant lettuce later.
A woman wrote about how she planted tomatoes in a deck container. As soon as the tomatoes approached maturity, the squirrels picked them & sat outside her kitchen window munching them in her face. I don’t wanna be THAT woman. You will hear me screaming from miles away. LOL! Any successful hints, tips or hacks you care to share about anything related to a balcony garden? Please … do tell. I appreciate you! Pardon this long post … I’m trying to be proactive.
Pests: Don’t want this garden to become a salad bar for squirrel(s?), birds, aphids, etc. I know that garlic & marigolds are deterrents (of what, I don’t remember). Just read that diatomaceous earth (which I have on hand) sprinkled on top of soil runs interference. Also, read that people have used their hair cut clippings mixed into top of the soil as a deterrent as well (cringed as I typed that). What works for you?
Water: Am I nuts to try to do this without buying self-watering pots (balcony; so, no water hose)?