Turn (a part of) your balcony into a home garden
Many people living in apartment buildings dream of having their own garden. Well, if you have a balcony, your dream can become a reality quite easily. Equipped with a few accessories you can turn the balcony into a self-contained garden. All you need is some space, sunlight and free time.
Balcony gardens can be intimate, practical, manageable, useful, and above all, healthy. Firstly, you need to think about space, micro-climate and location, and choose plants that will thrive on your balcony.
Check the location of your terrace or balcony. Is it more in the sun or in the shade? On the sunny side virtually all plants will grow, but it makes sense to plant salads, such as chicory, lettuce, spinach, arugula and similar into the part with the shade in order not to “burn” them. Plants need plenty of room for healthy growth, so don't plant them too close and give them a chance to grow well. If possible plant them on several levels, just like ornamental balcony plantings.
Pot-growing and other practical ideas
When growing plants in pots, the plants are limited in space, so choose the types or varieties that are characterized by low growth, have small roots or bulbs and grow small fruits. The most suitable plants for the balcony garden, that can make it into your kitchen, are spices. You have a wide selection at your disposal, such as basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, mint, lemon balm, chives, etc. Smaller vegetables can also work well, for example cherry tomatoes, peppers, salads with smaller heads, garlic and onions, as well as smaller carrots, cucumbers, and courgettes of shrubby growth.
Herbs and leafy vegetables can also be planted in wooden crates, e.g. into wine boxes that would otherwise be discarded. If you prefer less strenuous gardening, place them on a wooden table where the height for work will be more comfortable than on the floor. Or you can increase the space for plant growth by creating a vertical garden with the help of wooden pallets. With some skill, you can also turn a ladder into a vertical garden plateaus – lean it against a wall so it doesn’t take up (too) much space but allows you to produce some basic vegetables on a small balcony.
There are other ways you can recycle household items and turn them into gardening pieces. Jam or cucumber jars can be turned into a wall greenhouse with some skill, which is practical and inviting to look at. You can also use cans, bottle bottoms or old kitchen pots and even cups instead of jars.
Certainly one of the cheapest and most feasible ideas for gardening on the balcony is to attach a used shoe organizer to the wall. The pockets are just large enough to house parsley, basil, thyme, chives, and other spices.
Urban gardening limited by little balcony space can also make do with used pipes – cut their top open and plant vegetables inside.
Things to consider
Adjust the choice of container to the selected types of vegetables. Larger and deeper containers are intended for root vegetables and higher growth vegetables, while smaller pots will be sufficient for smaller plants. Make sure that the container will have an opening for drainage of water at the bottom, as this can prevent root rot.
Plastic containers are sturdy, retain good moisture, and are frost resistant. The clay vessels are nice and natural in appearance, but their walls absorb water, so the soil dries faster and the vegetables need more frequent watering.
Plant herbs along the edge as they tend to hang down and cover the edge of the container. It is important, regardless of the type of container, to plant together herbs and vegetables that have similar water requirements.
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