This SIP balcony garden is on the 20th floor of an Ottawa, Ontario hi-rise. The garden belongs to Lamersize and Z who have done a great job of blogging about their balcony gardening success with homemade sub-irrigation planters (SIPs, aka erroneously as "self-watering"). Scan through their blog for more photos.
Benefits of SIPs are higher productivity in the range of +50%, less water usage in the range of -90% vs "drench and drain" and there is no run-off that could annoy neighbors below. These systems are self-contained.
Don't let anyone tell you that you need drain holes in plant containers. That is old-school advice. Use some simple SIPs and you will soon learn the truth.
You do not need to self-identify as a gardener, horticulturist or green thumb to produce fresh vegetables like these in the city or anywhere else. You simply need to know some very basic information about light requirements and how to manage the soil moisture in the SIPs. It's so easy a young child can do it.
It may be repetitive to point out that our horticultural and botanical institutions are remiss in providing information about these modern methods, but it bears repeating. Repetition works in our search engine age. The objective is to reach the mainstream media and the millions of urbanites who are not gardeners but would like to produce some of their own fresh food.
The next thing I need to do is get on Twitter.