My balcony is facing East and exposure to sunshine is until around 11:00 AM. I would like to plant some mixed greens, kale, chard, spinach, asparagus… Can you please advise which greens are growing well in partial sunshine and when to plant them in Toronto?
Growing edibles on your balcony can be a fun and rewarding experience.
You are certainly on the right track with Chard, Kale and mixed greens.
Arugula is a good cold weather green. You can sow the seeds directly into your containers approximately 30 days before the first frost fee date and if the weather cooperates you can harvest in 3–4 weeks. Arugula (and many other spring greens) don’t do well in hot dry conditions, so save any unused seeds for a fall planting.
Kale and especially Swiss Chard do very well in containers and can tolerate light shade. Besides the brilliant red stemmed variety, you can now get Chard in many vibrant colors – orange, yellow, purple and pink, so your window boxes will be ornamental as well as delicious! Plant the seeds indoors (in a sunny window or under lights) one month before the frost free date, or purchase the small plants from a garden center. I prefer to get my seedlings from the garden center, as I can be sure of the colors I am getting. Make sure you use container soil and supplement with some compost and a handful of blood meal as you need to provide sufficient nutrients for a good harvest. Watering is very important as soil will dry out very quickly on a balcony – twice daily in really hot dry weather.
Unfortunately Asparagus is not a crop you can grow successfully on a balcony, it needs very deep soil and will take at least 5 years for a good harvest.
You might also try herbs, they do very well in containers. Parsley, Chives, Thyme, Mint, Coriander, & Basil are excellent candidates for balcony gardens. Below is a link to a gardening guide for growing Herbs, as well as link to a previously answered question that you may find useful.