Gardening

A Garden on the Balcony: How to Create and Grow It

Have you ever considered growing vegetables at home but you don’t know where to do it?   You don’t have to have a garden to have a garden; In small pots and balconies, you can create large orchards , 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.

THE LOCATION OF THE GARDEN

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 oriented to the 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 garden 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 CULTIVATION VESSELS

Space is not a problem since there is a wide range of solutions on the market depending on the extension that we have. See our article “Types of pots for gardening” and “How to choose a pot for my garden” to see 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 floors are shaded by the upper floor are not recommended . This lower deck is completely useless for growing vegetables.

CHOICE OF SUBSTRATE

The choice of a good substrate is essential for the good growth of our plants. The use of light substrates is recommended , important so as not to overload our balconies and windows. See 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 horticulture store and buy some bags of substrate for horticulture . Be careful because some for gardening, especially those of 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% worm castings.
  • 66% standard substrate + 33% composted horse manure.
  • 50% composted bark + 20% peat moss + 30% chicken manure with composted 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 centers specialized in gardening and agriculture.

THE 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 hot months when we have to water at least once a day , in drier places even two. We propose 3 ways 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 water tank. For many people who do not have time or who are not much at home these systems are ideal.

  • Exudative irrigation: It is a localized irrigation system that applies water continuously through a porous tube that exudes water throughout its length and over 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 CROP

You can choose seeds or seedlings (seeds and germinated in outbreaks). The advantage of the plant 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 cultivation cycles . For their part, the advantage of seeds is that they allow us to enjoy the entire development process of the plant.

Instead of buying the plants, 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 weather conditions and the time of year . To get started, we recommend some simple species to grow such as garlic, radishes, lettuce , onions, 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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