If you also want to become part of the urban farmer community but don't know where to start or think you've missed the right season, you'll be happy to know that there is always time to start cultivating your own garden, whether it's summer or winter, thanks to the practical technique of transplanting in pots!
Starting your adventure as a grower by transplanting developed seedlings will allow you to have a evergreen terrace and reap the fruits of your labor throughout the year, ensuring you always have something fresh and nutritious at hand on your plate/cutting board/table.
1. The best time for plant transplantation
Transplanting may seem like a simple operation, but it's not straightforward: it involves moving the seedling from one soil to another. It's a delicate moment, so you need to take the right precautions to minimize the shock to the plant and ensure its prosperous future development, including flowering and fruiting.
If starting from the germination phase
The seedling will be ready for transplantation when the roots and stem are well formed. To be sure, just extract the seedling from the seedbed and check the state of root growth. As for the stem, it should be 8-10 cm tall.
You can always wait a little longer if the plant is not yet sufficiently sturdy. However, it should not be transplanted too late, as the plant may suffer from lack of space and nutrients, leading to root entanglement and poor development of the above-ground part, resulting in weak, slightly yellowish leaves due to nutrient deficiency.
Choose the right day: the soil must be at the right temperature for transplantation, so avoid doing the work after watering the soil as it will make it muddy. Also, avoid transplanting on extremely hot days, as the soil will be difficult to handle.
If starting from an already germinated plant
Make sure that the purchased plant is healthy and well-developed. If it's not, keep it in the seedbed a bit longer to regain vitality. This readjustment is necessary to avoid subjecting the plant to excessive stress during transplantation.
To ensure success, proceed with caution when moving the seedlings and keep these tips in mind:
- Gently press the pot to extract the root ball while keeping the soil as intact as possible.
- Touch the plant as little as possible, avoiding pulling it to remove it from the seedbed.
- Place the seedling on the cultivation bed, leaving the collar (the transition between the stem and the root system) exposed.
- Water the substrate.
Take a look at the video tutorial by the agronomist Sara Petrucci on How to Unpack and Transplant Seedlings in Your Poty. She explains the above-mentioned steps clearly and shares two pro tips for successful cultivation."
2. Choosing Balcony Plants
Cultivating in the city is easier compared to cultivating in the fields, thanks to the milder climate and balconies that often serve as protection against hail, frost, or other adverse weather conditions. This allows us to expand the range of possible plants to grow and their seasonality.
You can start transplanting at any time of the year, especially in winter, provided you choose varieties that are cold-resistant. It is advisable to follow these precautions to obtain more productive plants.
In this article, you will find all the tips for winter cultivation, "Tips for Winter Garden, Even in the City."
On the terrace, everything is possible (provided you have enough space)!
You can cultivate everything from classic herbs to leafy and stem vegetables, all the way to small fruits like strawberries and blueberries.
The choice of seedlings is vast, but if you want to have the greenest (balcony) garden in your neighborhood, check out our catalog of seedlings with species of various origins and exotic flavors that will bring vivacity to your dishes! The varieties selected by experienced agronomists based on seasonality and adaptability to urban life bring great satisfaction.
The most exciting ones?
Leafy vegetables grow within a few weeks of transplantation, or the unusual aromatic varieties like lemon thyme, peppermint, and pineapple sage (excellent for aperitifs and infusions!).
3. Choose Quality Substrate: Soil vs. Coconut Fiber
You are not alone in being confused when it comes to substrates; we have all bought a bag of soil thinking that one is as good as another.
But that's not the case. Choosing the substrate means choosing the habitat for the plants. If you want to harvest fruits of your choice, you will need to look for a quality substrate.
In the city, universal soil is more readily available, considered suitable for all types of growth. However, if you want to make an improvement, you should opt for organic soil or pre-fertilized soil specifically designed for vegetables. Studies by the well-known agronomist Kyriacou, who compared the growth of plants in five different substrates, show that organic ones guarantee higher productivity in less time.
Don't know where to buy the best soil and don't have a nearby farmer who produces excellent compost?
An underrated but effective, inexpensive, and eco-friendly substrate is coconut fiber. Have you ever heard of it?
Coconut fiber is effectively a by-product, or rather the mesocarp, of coconut production. By using it as a substrate, we have the opportunity to give it a second life and in return get natural and healthy seedlings—a perfect compromise of circular economy!
Furthermore, it is a clean product that arrives at your home in compact blocks that, once hydrated in the pot, dissolve and become a very friable and nutrient-rich cultivation base. Try it now!
4. Fertilize correctly: boosting balcony plants
While growing in pots offers better protection for your plants against pests, insects, and water imbalances compared to planting in the ground, you must not neglect the essential nutrients!
Just as humans need carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients to feel good, plants also grow optimally only when they receive sufficient nutrients. The minerals contained in fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium) support plant growth and strengthen their defenses against pests and diseases.
Demanding species like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and zucchinis require more nutrients during their growth, while short-cycle species like herbs and leafy vegetables need a smaller amount.
The best way to fertilize is through fertigation, mixing the nutrient compounds with water and irrigating. This ensures a more immediate absorption by the plants.
If you want to achieve excellent performance, know that there are vertical gardens like Poty that take care of your seedlings for you when you're not around, thanks to an automated fertigation system.
Poty is also designed for beginners, providing all the necessary materials, including organic nutrients, coconut substrate, and your choice of seedlings to get started with cultivation.
It was created to help urban dwellers cultivate a garden on their balcony with up to 40 plants in less than 1 square meter and reconnect with nature through delicious, local, and healthy food grown right at home. Furthermore, you won't be alone; you will be guided step by step in cultivation with the help of our digital guide Hexbee.