If you listen to vegetable growing, you probably think of long vegetables in a huge garden. But vegetables can also be grown on the balcony. In pots, buckets and boxes you can grow amazingly much food. The Urban Gardening trend is a practical way of using every inch of your own balcony for your own vegetable garden. Today, we will give you a few tips on what to consider when you want to create a balcony style.
The lack of space must not be an obstacle for this pleasant hobby. There are many vegetable varieties that can grow in buckets, pots and flower boxes on the window sill. And sometimes the yields are even better than in a garden in the open, because these warming varieties find the perfect growth conditions on the balcony. We should also remember their decorative effect. Mangold with its attractive red stems, tasty cherry tomatoes and mini peppers in red, yellow and orange look beautiful in the garden on the balcony.
Fresh vegetables for the balcony
The advantages of the vegetable garden on the balcony are obvious: you have not only a source of vitamins always handy, but also a useful and interesting hobby. Engaging with the plants is not only pleasant, but also useful. Gardeners build stress and create positive feelings. Is there anything more beautiful than seeing your work in the literal sense bears fruit. As a reward, tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries land freshly on the plate. Growing vegetables in bucket is also quite handy – there is no weed, and therefore no competition for water and nutrients.
Observe the orientation of the balcony
A balcony on the east or west side of the house is ideal for gardening. Tomatoes, strawberries, currants, peppers and aubergines thrive well on the sunny south-facing balcony. Salads, chard, dill, parsley, watercress and wild garlic are suitable for more shaded areas. For full sun and windy sites, Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mint and oregano are particularly good.
The height of the plants and their needs
There is a variety of vegetable varieties with compact growth, which are well suited for a balcony style. Typically, you are referring to varieties which are called “shrub”, “dwarf” or “mini”. Among the most popular plants for a small garden on the balcony are herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and chilli varieties, beans, carrots, salads, onions and eggplants.
It is advisable to place several cultures in a planter. This attracts pollinators and ensures a harmonious arrangement. Pay attention to the correct arrangement of the plants in the mixed culture. Otherwise the big plants would donate too much shade. The “Thriller, Filler and Spiller” concept also works perfectly for the balconies. That is, a large plant behind, a half-height plant in the middle, and a small plant in front, which descends over the tub edge. Thyme is ideal for this.
Find the right planter
The selection of planters is incredibly large and the imagination is almost unlimited. You can also use old objects of use or even build a raised bed for the balcony. Three things should be considered: size, material and drainage. Usually, it is dryness or stagnant dampness, which make problems with the gardening on the balcony.
To be honest, the bigger the better. For large pots and buckets, more soil is necessary for filling, but saving time and money when it comes to irrigation. The disadvantage of large planters is their weight. Flower coasters on rolls offer a good solution here.
Root vegetables such as radishes, carrots and beets should be planted in deep tubs. A depth of more than 30 centimeters is optimal. Onions and relatives such as garlic and wild garlic also love deep containers so that the roots do not rot.
Climbing aid for climbing plants is necessary
Climbing plants such as fire beans, peas, cucumbers, climbing courgettes and some melon varieties can grow well in pots, but absolutely need a climbing aid. A tipi made of wooden poles, on which they can be raised, are always a good solution. Spiral rods are particularly suitable for tomatoes. Other variants are ropes, tendrils and vine nets.
The material of the planters is of great importance
The selection of material for the plant vessels is spoiled for choice because the list is quite long – from clay to plastic, metal, wood to fabric. And every material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some of them.
Clay dries quickly and requires more irrigation. However, if it is glazed, a clay pot can retain moisture much better. Ton is a good choice for plants that do not tolerate wet feet like for example most herbs as well as strawberries. They are usually planted in clay containers with several side openings.
Plastic is waterproof and this could lead to frostbite, which could adversely affect plants that prefer a dry soil and good drainage. Like most herbs and peppers.
Metal is very temperature-dependent. At very high or low temperatures, it quickly becomes too hot or too cold. Eggplants like it warm, so metal containers are suitable. However, it would be beneficial if you give the plants some sun protection.
Wood has very good properties in terms of humidity and temperature. It will rot in the course of time, if not protected by pond film. Wooden boxes, old wooden pallets or wooden drums are perfect as plant containers.
Vertical garden on the balcony
On balconies the course is of course limited. A trick that is becoming more and more popular with urban gardening: you use the space in the height and can thus use vertical surfaces. For example, plant samples, plant stairs, upright pallets, clay tower and other structures are ideal.
Planting bags usually consist of a breathable tissue that stores heat and moisture, but to a reasonable degree. These plant bags can also be attached very simply to the wall or to balcony railing and save space.
When to apply the balconies?
On the sunny south-facing balcony you can add the balconies at the end of April beginning of May. On the westward facing balcony somewhat later – mid or late May. A balcony in the north more exposed to the wind, so it is recommended to put young plants instead of seeds, and only in June.
The quality of the plant
Decisive for a good harvest is also the factor plant earth. Healthy soil guarantees healthy plants. For gardening in buckets and pots, however, you should not use conventional garden earth because it is too heavy and also increases in weight when pouring. Cheap earth also tends to clump. The earth should be light and airy. Although a finished plant substrate can be a bit expensive, the investment is worthwhile. Thus, you will close out poor yields later in harvest time.
You can also create your own plant substrate by mixing peat moss (to keep soil and roots moist) with compost in the ratio 2: 1. You can also add a little perlite. It provides additional ventilation and prevents frost.
The balconies need regular irrigation
Vegetable plants that grow in tubs must be poured more often because the soil dries out more quickly. How often it is watered depends on the climate and the material of the container. As already mentioned: clay more frequently, plastic rare. Spread the water well with a watering can.
A layer of mulch would be an asset
Underneath the mulch layer, soil moisture remains. Bark is not suitable for vegetable garden because it decomposes very slowly and binds nutrients in the soil. Instead, select cedar or cypress, which will also deter some insects. Straw works perfectly, but you must ensure that it is seed-free.