Would you like to plant a few vegetables for your family’s daily consumption during the summer, but you live in an apartment with only a small balcony at your disposal? Let me give you good news: if your balcony is bathed by the sun’s rays for at least five hours a day, it can quickly be transformed into a small 100% organic garden – you just need to know exactly how it grows! Here’s where I come in!
Find out the seven secrets of growing vegetables in special conditions if you want to have a good harvest and one that you should be proud of:
1. Choose seedlings of easily cultivated varieties
Because you do not have a lot of space, target the growing varieties of vegetables that produce many small fruits, to the detriment of large fruit varieties. For example, instead of regular tomatoes, choose the cherry tomato variety that grows excellent in pots and fructifies small and sweet fruit clusters. In the small garden of your balcony, you can cultivate pepper, hot pepper, eggplant, green beans, cucumber, and especially herbs.
2. Give the vegetables space they need
Any gardener can confirm that vegetables do not feel too comfortable in clutter. So do not throw yourself to buy all the seedlings that get in your way through the market. Depending on the space in the balcony, limit yourself to at most two threads of each seedling.
A method that will help you capitalize every square inch of the small balcony without agglomerating it is the cultivation of vegetables with their head down. This will double your cultivation surface. This cultivation technique can be applied to tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and even cucumbers.
Green lettuce, herbs, and other greens that you can use most often in the kitchen can be planted in flower boxes or small pots attached to the wall in the form of a vertical garden. Soon the fresh greens will dress your wall in a green and aromatic carpet.
3. Seldom is better
Remember this before you start planting vegetable saplings in pots. Do not plant two yarns in a single container believing that in this you will get a better harvest. The lighter your seedlings will be, the more daring they will grow, rewarding you with healthy and beautiful vegetables.
4. Vegetable shade pavilion
Do not forget that beans, cucumbers, and other climbing vegetables need support to grow up efficiently. Take advantage of this and make a shade pavilion from the climbing plants you cultivate. All you have to do is to tie some nylon threads or stronger strings between the railing and the ceiling and place the vegetables on the railing. You will see how fast and skillful they will embrace the green beans, the long threads and reward you with a shady and refreshing wall.
5. Maintain the soil with water
In the warm summer days, the soil in the pots dries much faster than in the garden because of the small volume of the pots in which the vegetables are planted. If you do not want to find your wilted or even dried vegetables, do not forget to water the small garden regularly.
And if time does not allow you to closely follow the level of moisture in the soil, make a mini irrigation system that will save you on hot days. All you have to do is to put in each pot or container one plastic bottle without a lid. The bottles have to be knotted down and have the cut bottom, through which you’ll pour water, like a funnel. In this way, the vegetable roots will be hydrated even when you are not around, and the shell that will form on the surface of the soil will prevent water evaporation.
6. Protect plants from burns caused by sun
If your balcony is exposed to the sun for most of the day and is closed with windows, the vegetables grown near the windows can suffer burns that will not only spoil the appearance of the plants but will diminish the quantity and quality of the fruit they produce. In such a situation, it is good to cover the windows with white paper or some white blinds through which natural light penetrates.
7. Do not overuse fertilizers
In fact, if you want to eat really healthy, you should avoid any kind of chemical fertilizer, meant to stimulate the growth of vegetables. That’s why it’s good to plant them in a rich and nutritious soil, which you can buy from the florists and specialty stores or you can bring them out of the woods. And if you still feel that your plants would need a growth incentive and have no way to get manure, choose an organic fertilizer and use it as instructed on the packaging.