Gardening

A garden on the balcony: How to Create and Cultivate it

Have you ever considered growing vegetables at home but don’t know where to do it? It is not necessary to have a garden to have an orchard; In small pots and on balconies, large gardens can be created, so we are going to give you some guidelines to follow to create your garden on the balcony. You just need sun, water and, most importantly, some interest, enthusiasm and love for nature.

Create your garden on the balcony (Source: Guiadejardinería.com)

THE LOCATION OF THE ORCHARD

First of all, we must organize the space we have. The key factor when choosing the place where we will locate our garden is the sun.We must choose a sunny space, preferably facing south, which receives at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight. For horticulture, the ideal is direct sunlight, but in any case we can also play with reflective surfaces so that our light reaches the orchard at the best possible angle. Plants tend to turn their leaves towards the light, so if we make the sunlight shine from the side, all the plants will turn to that side, unbalancing our garden. The ideal is that the light falls from above. There is a very simple question to know if the place is good or not: On the longest days of the year do I have more than five hours of direct sunlight? If so, the place is ideal.

THE CULTURE VESSELS

Space is not an inconvenience since there is a wide range of solutions on the market depending on the extension we have. See our article “Types of pots for gardening” and “How to choose a pot for my garden” to study which container best suits your needs. It is important that the bottom of the container is resistant -so that the roots do not break it-, and has holes -to be able to drain the excess irrigation water-.Multi-story planters in which the lower stories are shaded by the upper story are not recommended. This lower deck is completely useless for growing vegetables.

Cultivation in different containers on the balcony (Source: www.zonaforo.medistation.com)

SUBSTRATE CHOICE

Choosing a good substrate is essential for the proper growth of our plants. The use of light substrates is recommended, important so as not to overload our balconies and windows with weight. Consult our article “The ideal substrate: the importance of your choice” to find out the optimal properties of a substrate.

The most common thing is that we go to our usual gardening or horticultural store and buy some bags of substrate for horticulture. Be careful because some for gardening, especially those for flowers, are not good for growing vegetables. Either way, you can venture to make your own substrate. Here are some mixes that work quite well:

  • 60% coconut fiber + 40% earthworm humus.
  • 66% standard substrate + 33% composted horse manure.
  • 50% composted bark + 20% blonde peat + 30% composted chicken manure with sawdust.

It is convenient that before installing the crop you fertilize the substrate with some organic fertilizer. For this you can make your own compost although you can also find it in specialized centers in gardening and agriculture.

IRRIGATION OF THE ORCHARD ON THE BALCONY

It is important to think about watering our plants, since they need water throughout their growth, but especially in the hot months when we have to water at least once a day, in drier places even twice. We propose 3 forms of irrigation:

  • With a watering can: If the garden is small, we can simply water it with a watering can.
  • Drip irrigation: If we want to automate it to make it more comfortable and forget about watering, we can select a drip irrigation with a programmer and connect it to a tank water intake. For many people who do not have time or who are not at home much, these systems are ideal.
    Drip irrigation in pots
  • Exuding irrigation: It is a localized irrigation system that applies water continuously through a porous tube that exudes water along its entire length and on its entire surface. It can also be automated.
  • Drop by drop irrigation: A simpler method in which we fill a container (eg a plastic bottle) with water, install it in the pot and our plants will use the water they need little by little, so we only have to worry about refill the water bottle. This system is also very comfortable when we are going to go on vacation for a few days.

IMPLEMENT THE CULTURE

You can choose seeds or seedlings (seeds already germinated in sprouts). The advantage of the campus is that it facilitates the task, since the plants are germinated and we have the land occupied for a shorter period of time, so we can enjoy a greater number of crop cycles. For its part, the advantage of seeds is that it allows us to enjoy the entire process of plant development.

Seedbed with seedlings

Instead of buying the seedlings, we can obtain them ourselves through the seedbeds. See the article «How to make a seedbed in the garden» to make it.

As for the varieties or crops, it is important to think about our culinary tastes, since what we sow will end up on our plate, always adapting to the climatic conditions and the time of year. To get started, we recommend some simple species to cultivate such as garlic, radishes, lettuce, onions, Swiss chard or spinach. Opt for native varieties that are already adapted to the area and are more resistant to pests and diseases.

You no longer have an excuse. If you want to taste the indescribable and fantastic taste of personal satisfaction, grow on your balcony!

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