My London Balcony

Picking salad on the balcony © Sarah Cuttle / Vertical Veg 2010

How much food can you grow without a garden?

A 9 foot x 6  foot north-west facing foot balcony, 5 south facing window sills, 3 north facing window sills, and a small patch of concrete outside the front door. Is this enough growing space to keep a family in vegetables most of the year? That’s what I set out to discover!

Every day, I recorded the weight and value of harvests. In these pages you can see the results, along with pics, for each month of the year – from May 2010 until October 2011 – until we moved to Newcastle.

From May 2013 you can see my growing diary for Newcastle, where I’m growing in a concrete back yard.

The 2010 Challenge – is £500 of food possible?

Can you grow £500 of food without a garden? On 1 May 2010 I started weighing my harvests to try and find out! By September 10th (7 months early) I reached £500, you can see a short breakdown of how it was reached here.

I then increased my target for the year to try and grow as much as a London allotment: £782.

You can see images and details of the harvests, month by month, here.

By 1 May 2011, the total value grown was £899.99 ($1,480), weighing 83.66 Kg

The 2011 Challenge – is £1,000 of food possible?

In 2011 I doubled the target – and further increased the challenge by basing the value of food on one of the UK’s lowest price supermarkets. (In 2010 I’d chosen a premium supermarket to reflect the quality of home grown food).

This experiment was cut short by our decision to move to Newcastle. However, after 6 months, I’d grown £452 weighing 69kg – below where I needed to be to reach £1,000 by May 2012.

You can see images and details of the harvests, month by month, here.