Los Angeles Balcony Garden

Compared to the fire escape, the space on the balcony is huge. It’s about 13 x 4, faces East and gets about six hours of morning sun.

On the balcony you can see self-watering containers that use 5-gallon containers.

    Here is what is on the balcony now:

  • 2 swiss chard containers.
  • A self-watering container with spearmint.
  • A self-watering container with Jack Be Little Pumpkin.

August 7, 2011 – Balcony Garden Update


78 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. itu April 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm -

    hey this is itu.. you should try vertical garedening. its saves space and produces high yeild…

  2. Mike Lieberman April 19, 2010 at 5:15 am -

    Most definitely not sure if I have the space for it, but something that I'll definitely look into more. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Dean April 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm -

    Looks a little roomier than the last one…

  4. Mike Lieberman April 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm -

    A wee-bit and it's easier to get to.

  5. Bethe Almeras April 28, 2010 at 2:24 am -

    great to see the new digs!

  6. lb April 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm -

    hold the phone. did I just see you rocking the flip flop + sock combo in some east meets west fashion mash-up?! my husband does that sh*t too. it ain't right, Mike, it AIN'T RIGHT!!

  7. Mike Lieberman April 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm -

    HAHAHAHHAA. I have a legit reason for that one. I swear. We take our shoes off before coming into the apartment, so I keep my flip-flops by the door for when I go to the balcony. I promise that's the truth. I wouldn't rock that combo in public, though that pic is pretty public…

  8. Carl July 14, 2010 at 8:43 pm -

    Hey Mike your site is nice and really useful. I'm still kind of new to gardening but this site has really given me some new ideas and a lot of good information.
    Thanks for your work

  9. Mike Lieberman July 15, 2010 at 12:16 am -

    Thanks bro. Glad you are finding the info useful. Now get to some growing.

  10. C July 30, 2010 at 4:48 am -

    I was wondering how things are going now.. I live in sunny florida and we currently are growing directly in my backyard, but I'm looking for alternatives for winter planting (we do get cold snaps) I recently saw some videos on youtube for using 55 gallon drums and essentially cutting outlets in the sides to create a very large “strawberry pot” .. I'm trying to get my hands on a couple of those, it seems like it would be absolutely perfect for lettuce, as well as some strawberries! I also saw a video using dollar store buckets to make the upside down planters you were trying to make. They were smaller in size then the 5 gallon buckets and seemed ideal for cherry tomatoes. I'm going to try about 4 of them this winter and use an old garment rack to move them inside the patio if we get a frost. It seemed like a great use of space for your balcony.

    We are still a work in progress on the learning curve since Florida weather can be brutal and extreme, but suprisingly berries do very well here and figs, citrus etc. We can even grow grapes.

  11. Mike Lieberman July 30, 2010 at 5:21 am -

    That sounds like a great idea. Maybe you can check out some construction sites for the big drums/tubing. I really need to get a lot more planted on the balcony, but at least I have the entire year to grow.

    Figs..you totally gotta grow some figs. C'mon…do it for me, please.

  12. Melissagatewood September 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm -

    Hi I also live in LA and this is my first year to grow food.I have always had flowers and now am pleased to be harvesting food. I grow squash, tomatoes ,bell pepper's and bush beans and salad three types and herbs. I live in a duplex so all are in container's and I get such pleasure from doing this. Oh I also grow swiss chard and radishes. I planted beets late so will have them this fall to winter time. I am planning on starting carrots so will have them also later on. So I am also a Urban gardener!! It is so cool!!

  13. samuel October 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm -

    Hi Mike. Cool site. I live in Hollywood, and this summer I started trying to grow plants in pots on my balcony. I am determined to turn my brown thumb green. I’ve tried herbs and flowers so far with mixed luck. Succulents do well. Since it is fall, and some of my pots are newly vacant, I want to try something new. I’d like to include vegetables – but really I just want something to grow there and flourish. The thing is I have a west facing balcony that gets the direct hot sun in the afternoon for about 3 hours and that’s it. Do you have any thoughts, or recommendations for vegetables or herbs that might do well in a situation like that? Something with a solid constitution – I’m still learning. PS My oregano is brown, my rosemary looks dry, and the lemon balm got eaten by giant caterpillars.

  14. Mike Lieberman October 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm -

    Melissa – Sorry for the delayed response. This comment slipped through the cracks. Damned sounds like your space puts mine to shame. I got some catching up to do.

  15. Mike Lieberman October 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm -

    One of the great parts about living in Cali is that you can grow year round. Just because it’s fall and winter doesn’t meant that you have to stop growing.

    If you have west facing space, you should have more sunlight than 3 hours unless there is something blocking the area and shading it. I’d say for the fall start with some lettuces and other greens (kale, chard, spinach). THey should be able to tolerate the weather and shade that you are getting.

    Don’t give up. Keeping experimenting, learning until something works. Keep me updated.

  16. samuel October 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm -

    Thank you… yes there is a building blocking the full sun it but its not going to stop me. I’ll try your suggestions.

  17. michel December 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm -

    bonjour Mike , je vis en France et j’ai aussi un petit potager sur le toit de mon atelier
    je t’envoie quelques photos


  18. Mike Lieberman January 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm -

    Thanks for the comment. No sure what you said, but thanks.

  19. Serene January 15, 2011 at 3:44 am -

    Hi, Mike,

    I’ve just found you (via StumbleUpon, I think), and this middle-aged mom is gonna give this a try. I really really really want my family to have more connection to the food we eat. Thank you so much for such an accessible site, and I expect I’ll have lots of questions over the next few months.

  20. Mike Lieberman January 15, 2011 at 5:30 am -

    That’s awesome. Glad you like the site. Definitely hit me up with any questions that you may have and keep me updated for sure.

  21. Kvb January 27, 2011 at 12:33 am -

    KB from Bmore, great website. I just decided to try this urban gardening myself. Price of food is getting crazy, plus I am eating more veggies. Keep the info flowing!!

  22. Cpicard71 January 27, 2011 at 1:54 am -

    I do grow figs.. lemon orange blue berries raspberries mulberries and blackberries. I did grow some nice carrots and radish in the split drums. I didn’t get the hubby to help construct the strawberry pots.. but we froze again, so the garden is parsley broccoli and cabbage.. .. making tons of fresh lemonade now!

  23. Mike Lieberman January 27, 2011 at 2:00 am -

    Nice bro. Keep holdin it down in Bmore and keep me updated.

  24. fer January 30, 2011 at 4:12 am -

    Great gardening! I really like what you have built. I wish I had that space

  25. Mike Lieberman January 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm -

    what kind of space do you have?

  26. LeaH February 1, 2011 at 2:00 am -

    Hey. Your plants look great. I’m in Alabama..nice long growing season. This is the first year I’ve attempted to garden w/ veggies. Anyhow, try to get your hands on some blood meal and bone meal. (Organic) And your lettuces don’t need such a deep container; shallow-wide containers (4″deep). You seriously rock and I am delighted to see the same pioneering spirit I have with this endeavor. The bugs are conspiring against me as I type. I have got to get some sort of non-chemical and organic insect deterrent in the making. All the best.

  27. Mike Lieberman February 1, 2011 at 3:35 am -

    Thanks for the tips. I use these containers because they are inexpensive to get and I’m not expending any additional resources by buying new materials. Affordable and earth friendly ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Nancy Melkonian February 6, 2011 at 7:55 am -

    Have you every had success with pumpkins or watermelons (Sun & Moon)? live in l.a. and have attempted both several times…I grew up in Ohio where the family garden always grew with such little effort.

  29. Mike Lieberman February 7, 2011 at 6:51 am -

    I have no experience with either of them. Maybe I’ll give them a go this summer. In my current apartment, I don’t get much direct sunlight, so not sure if they will do well for me.

  30. Joespr February 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm -

    Damned inspiring.

    *Keep Up the Good Work.

  31. Mike Lieberman February 14, 2011 at 2:58 am -

    Cool. Cool. I most certainly will do my best.

  32. Adawgsmum February 15, 2011 at 7:04 am -

    Came across your site while searching ways to make your own backyard composter and rain barrel. Keep up the good work. The main reason why I want to grow my own stuff, is because of the chemicals used on farms. Even the so called organic is really not truly organic like using worm casting (I have my own worm bin under my sink in my kitchen).
    Best of luck and thanks for sharing your experience!

  33. Mike Lieberman February 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm -

    Nice. How’s the rain barrel coming along? Keep me updated on your projects.

  34. Iness100 February 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm -

    Hello Mike ! I followed you last year on the nyc site. And now i see you moved to La. Great. Last year i think it was february i started with seedlings, which it was kind if early, and then my quest just continued. My garden extends from my 2nd floor fire escape into first floor where my next door building has probably about 20 inches along the building space where i keep my large plants.
    It was amazing.. I really did not eat much, but it was an experiment on what I can manage to grow. I had about 5 tomato plants, peper plant, kept about 3 pots of basil that was growing profusely, parsley, flowers, etc etc.
    It was alot of fun. Now its all frozen.. so I will see what i do this year. Just as you have that metal railing, that is what i have alot of , and i am looking in new ways to attach plantings to it. So that is what i am looking for right now.
    Luckily i get some morning sun but also mid day sun and even afternoon sun on some of the plants. I used plastic containers but also had woden wine crates made into planters. ** from your upper floor, you were mentioning how you could have something hanging there, and i suggest you try upside down tomato plants there and others. I am also thinking about using some upside down planting this year to expand the space. I had no camera last year so I did not take picture.. its a shame.. but i may do it this year. I actualy bought watering hose (2) and extended it from my kitchen sink, to water the garden at night. I found the adjuster at home depot to attach it to my kitchen water pipe.
    I also had bunch of flowers, like butterfly weeds to attract and feed butterflies, marigolds mixed with vegetables because they are natural deterant of animals that feed on vegetables .. etc.
    It was one beautifull crazy garden. Cherry tomatoes were absolutely abundant.

  35. Iness100 February 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm -

    One more thing.
    I grew almost all of my plants from seeds myself.
    i was gifted 3 tomato plants, so i grew them, besides having abundance of my own cherry tomatoes, and i bought one pepper plant. I had all the herbs there are from seeds myself, and i still have lavender plant living in my hallway.
    In re mint plants, they are so easy to grow from cuttings, so i kept making new plants and giving them away.
    ** i am interested in maybe having some wine vertical plants like cucumbers to add to my quest this year. I hear they produce profusely as well.
    this year i will take some pictures, because its so nice that others do and they share it. Lets get some new ideas how to attach planters to metal railings like the one you have.. and i have it too.. and secure ways to attach more planters either hanging or not.
    Its nice to see you again. Good luck in LA. Ines ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Mike Lieberman February 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm -

    That is awesome. You gotta take some pics to share.

  37. Karin kamphuijs February 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm -


    Hi Mike, I live in France and I also have a small garden on the roof of my ‘atelier’ (not sure how to translate that one) and I send you some pictures.

    Ps. Just discovered this site and reading up now. I have a nice terrace and balcony but on the north side and not getting much sun. Wondering what I can plant there….

  38. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm -

    I’m east facing and not much sun. Greens. You can grow lots of greens.

    Appreciate the translation ๐Ÿ˜‰

  39. Agatha March 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm -

    Keep up the good work! I moved last year from Hollywood to Bklyn, and BF and I have a backyard garden…I’m very motivated and your blog was very informative. Good luck!

  40. Mike Lieberman March 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm -

    nice. Looks like we swapped coasts. Whereabouts in BK are you?

  41. L_deyer March 14, 2011 at 7:57 am -

    hey, love to hear some east coast accent talking about plants, while sitting on his west coast balcony. made me smile.
    i’m a newbie gardener out here in east LA and have a yard so there’s no excuse! you think i can get going planting yet? it’s been so weirdly cold at night in LA

  42. Mike Lieberman March 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm -

    Thanks for the comment Lori. For real there is no excuse for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You can certainly get something going in your yard. It’s cold at night, but not cold enough that you can’t get anything planted. Get started!

    Keep me updated.

  43. Mike Lieberman March 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm -

    Damned. Nice job. Pretty impressive!

  44. Rosania John March 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm -

    Mike this is so amazing. Im going to begin to do this on my fire-escape and rooftop.

  45. Mike Lieberman March 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm -

    Nice bro. Be careful with your rooftop. You might want to stick to the perimeter of it because it can hold more weight.

  46. Fiji430 March 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm -

    I just came across your blog and I love it. Its so inspiring. I am planning on starting an garden this spring. Planning it out now. I want to do a couple of veggies, herbs, and some plants. Im excited, but nervous due to not having a green thumb. Last year I was unable to produce much of anything. NOt giving up though

  47. Mike Lieberman March 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm -

    Glad to connect. No need to give up. Keep me updated on the progress and great job so far.

  48. Kat March 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm -

    Love your blog. It’s very inspiring! =)

  49. Mike Lieberman March 31, 2011 at 7:45 pm -

    Thanks Kat. Glad you likes.

  50. April April 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm -

    HI Mike, It’s me, April from Clean.
    You would be so nuts and crazy if you saw my acre in my back yard yet I am terrified to garden. I am nervous about the cost of start up fees and lack of harvest. I consider myself smart and a dyi know- how girls. So this is some stupid cosmic negative belief I have had bec as you show- it can be done. I am on it this year! promise… PS- If you ever come to NY, let me know:)

  51. Mike Lieberman April 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm -

    What up April? Thanks for stopping by here. Why are you terrified to garden? It’s the same thing like the Clean Program…nothing to be scared of.

    Start small with one raised bed, get comfortable with and grow from that. No need to turn your backyard into a full on farm with chickens and goats (yet). Start by growing a few things in a small place and take it from there.

    The hardest part is getting started. Once you do, you’ll start to enjoy the process (like Clean).

    If you have any questions on starting up, products, etc, hit me up. I’ll help out in anyway that I can and point you in the right direction.

    Will certainly let you know when I make it back to NYC.

  52. Kgaines171@aol.com April 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm -

    Love your site! I found you by looking for a way to grow peas in my garden this year. I have a yard (with a dog) but I always plant everything in containers. I’m not sure why I do this, guess its just to see if I can get things to grow in them. So far this year I have 6 tomatos, 24 peppers and 1 lemon basil, that’s just the vegatables. Now I want to plant some corn, peas and cucumbers. Thanks for helping with the insparation!

  53. Mike Lieberman April 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm -

    Nice. I’ll trade my containers for your yard. Deal? Sounds like you got it all down though. Keep it up.

  54. Melodie Abesamis April 11, 2011 at 8:54 am -

    im working in the office and love plants too. From our garden I took some of our Fortune plants and tried to plant it in small base wondering if i could make it grow.. after amonth roots are starting to coming out.. I’m so happy then and make it a habbit until now. Will down load picture soon and share it with you..

  55. Mike Lieberman April 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm -

    Love the creativity.

  56. mami April 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm -

    I found your site to start my container gardening. I want to share something about store bought spring (green onions). I cut the ends with the roots and plant them in my herb garden last year in May. I sprinkle a little bit of rootblast and have been harvesting since then. It survive the winter weather and still giving me green onions for my cooking. It didn’t land in the trash at all. I used to laugh at my ex-mom in law everytime she plant it. I thought it was just an old woman’s thing. Now I am doing it.

  57. Mike Lieberman April 18, 2011 at 12:23 am -

    Hahah. Funny how things work out and happen. You can also just put them in water on the countertop and grow a few more times https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2010/10/growing-green-onions-from-green-onions-in-your-kitchen/

  58. Mike Lieberman May 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm -

    Word. My pleasure. That’s what’s up.ย 

  59. Wendy July 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm -

    Hello Mike. I love your container garden, which shows just how much you can achieve with so little. After 20 years in Canada my husband and I will be moving back to Australia soon and we can’t wait to start growing our own vegetables on a bigger scale. Your container garden video’s have given us some useful tips and we will keep referring back to your video’s to see what else you come up with.

    Take care
    Wendy McGregor

  60. Mike Lieberman July 18, 2011 at 1:00 am -

    Nice. Keep me updated on how your garden progresses.

  61. Ulla Kofoed Krause October 16, 2011 at 11:08 am -

    Exciting! My my own balcony garden planning that starts in a few days after 4.5yrs in Tokyo growing small scale on the fire escape and when this long holiday is over and we’re back in Australia. I’ll be trying vertical on a shelving system and also hanging strawberries from the ceiling of my neighbors balcony. Thanks for all the great tips! I hope to show pics in a couple of months. Ulla

  62. Mike Lieberman October 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm -

    Awesome. keep me updated.

  63. krisr December 5, 2011 at 9:38 am -

    This is great and inspiring, I live in Vancouver and only this year began to plant on my balcony… as it is the first time I have had one with sufficient light… tho the space is minimal. I managed to produce potatoes, tomatoes, kale, herbs, some fruits, peppers, beans, peas… etc. It came to a point where I could not actually enter the balcony on account of the huge organic plants, which I was happy to let take over… I am educated in organics soil management and gardening… and I am finding some of your techniques invaluable. Thanks for sharing… it is nice to observe other folks who value organic food production regardless of the size of their growing space.

  64. Mike Lieberman December 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm -

    Hahahaha. I have more space and not much sunlight. Maybe 4 hours. Think we can combine our spaces?

  65. allnameshavebeentaken April 12, 2012 at 8:45 am -

    I’m so excited to start this in Chicago! I have a west facing balcony that gets plenty of sun, so I should be able to grow nutritious food. I have a window box of herbs started and I got on line to remind myself how to do container potatoes. I’m thinking heirloom fingerlings of different colors. I love your hanging containers – I’m totally working on this over the weekend.

    I also am getting a grant from my community garden group to plant in the “public way”, which is the space between the sidewalk and the curb in Chicago. I just don’t think I want to eat out ofย a garden right next to the street traffic, and you know, people litter and piss out there…:(ย  but balcony gardening for food is brilliant!


  66. Mike Lieberman April 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm -

    hahaha. Yea not sure you want car fumes as the dressing on your salad.

  67. Sharn Bowskill July 3, 2012 at 5:53 am -

    More pictures please of all your hints & tips Love to see results & admire.

  68. Helen Wheels April 4, 2013 at 10:25 am -

    I’m so excited to find this. I am also in LA and I have a balcony and want to start doing this.

  69. noisyninja June 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm -

    I am in such a fix! I live in the valley, so it’s sweltering, and I have an East-facing window that gets full sun all morning long (I’m on the second floor). ALL my plants die, no matter how much I water them! Do I need a constant irrigation system, like those little glass globe things, or is it a matter of shade? Or should I switch to cacti? Help!

  70. LeAnn November 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm -

    you are gorgeous! lol im Very new at the gardening thing and i’d like to start one on my balcony as well as in my apartment. can you give me any pointers on how to get started and what to buy / which veges and herbs are best to grow indoors with minimum sunlight?? feel free to email any suggestions to brownshooger39@yahoo.com. thanks in advance for all of your help!!!

  71. Rosey21 August 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm -

    You could let runner beans grow on your railing! Nothing like home grown green beans.

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