Having a small garden at home is a desire shared by many city dwellers. Fortunately, it takes very little to fulfill this dream and have plants and fruits ready to be harvested right on your own balcony.
Bringing truly local, tasty, and healthy produce to your table every day without being entirely dependent on supermarkets.
First, let's think about the garden itself!
Do you want to create it from scratch because you enjoy DIY, or do you prefer to start with a ready-made balcony garden to simplify your life? You can think of directly cultivating in pots, as many already do, maybe growing some herbs here and there.
However, if you want to become a professional, you need to think of a better strategy to organize the space on your balcony. Although it may seem like the most immediate solution, managing more than ten pots can become really complicated, not just because of the space they occupy!
Consider just watering and fertilizing one pot at a time: it will never end!
An alternative to pots is raised beds, designed to bring the cultivation bed at human height. They use horizontal space and only involve one level of cultivation, which is why they are suitable for larger balconies or very limited production. If you have a smaller balcony, you'll have to think vertically: use the height to grow multiple varieties while enjoying some time outdoors.
There are many alternatives and possibilities for vertical cultivation, from pallets to ladder shelving and even modular vertical gardens like Poty, compact and automated, allowing you to grow up to 40 plants in 1m². To learn more and discover which garden is right for you, read: "Vertical Garden vs. Traditional Garden: What Are the Differences?"
What tools can be useful when cultivating in pots on a balcony?
Every hobby has its allies, and in the case of urban gardening, you can forget about rakes, spades, forks, and the like. You won't need large tools or great efforts to cultivate in pots; much of the work will be done simply with your hands and a few utensils (even from the kitchen!). Let's see some of them.
1) A pair of gloves
If you don't want to get your hands dirty (literally), equip yourself with gardening gloves for transplanting your plants or sowing. Look for gardening gloves that fit snugly to promote sensitivity and manual dexterity for all your actions; fabric gloves are more sustainable, resistant, and comfortable!
2) Hand trowel
It comes into play when you need to move and transfer from the sack to the pot or when dealing with coconut coir substrate, which is useful for hydrating, crumbling, and moving it easily. If you don't have one, a cup and a large spoon will make perfect substitutes!
3) Small hoe
A small hoe doesn't hurt: it is useful for making the classic furrows for sowing or planting, but also for oxygenating the soil around the plant. It is a simple and quick operation that can make a difference because it controls any weeds and helps prevent waterlogging and fungal diseases.
4) Hand rake
This is superfluous: you can use it to prepare the sowing bed, bury seeds, and loosen the soil periodically. Given the amount of substrate in the pot, this tool is not strictly necessary; alternatively, the hand hoe works just fine.
5) Watering can
It is the most important tool for balcony gardening: plants in pots have less soil available, which means less water. If watering is neglected, they are more likely to suffer. However, be careful because with traditional pots, those without drainage, you can easily overwater and cause root rot! For beginners or those with little time to dedicate to the garden, it is possible to consider an automatic irrigation system with a timer.
Scissors are useful for harvesting, as well as for pruning overgrown plants and cutting any diseased parts of the plants.
7) Labels and markers
Why not? When you start growing a good number of varieties (and you're not an expert in botany), you can easily forget what you are cultivating and where. Creating plant markers or buying pre-made ones will help you recognize the plants, especially when they are still in the germination phase.
Choose plants and cultivation resources for your balcony garden
It is essential to choose the right crops, taking into account the season, the exposure of the garden, and your own skills. Certainly, among the easiest plants to grow and those that cannot be missing are the aromatic herbs: they are plants that grow without problems in the outdoor environment, and there are many varieties to choose from, such as basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, oregano, and parsley - indispensable aromas in every kitchen.
Among the species that grow well in pots, we find lettuce, strawberries, chili peppers, and bulbs. To find the most suitable (and even more unusual) species, you can take a look at our online catalog to discover which plants you can start cultivating.
In which season are you starting to grow?
Read the most appropriate article for the period to learn more:
- For winter gardening: What to Plant in the Urban Garden in January?
- For spring gardening: What to Plant in the Urban Garden in April?
- For summer gardening: What to Grow in the Urban Garden in July?
Choose the substrate: the foundation for your plants
In addition to choosing the right crops, it is crucial to choose a rich, fertile, and friable soil! One would expect universal soil (as the name suggests) and peat to be complete products, with the right amount of nutrients for each plant and suitable "for a bit of everything." However, few people know that the use of peat should be avoided as it is not very sustainable. It is so harmful to biodiversity that in June 2022, a declaration of intent was signed to reduce the use of peat in agriculture.
The ace in the hole is coconut coir substrate, among the lightest and most friable substrates on the market. It has excellent drainage capacity and retains moisture well, allowing healthy root and plant development and preventing water stagnation and rot, which is typical of peat.
Read more: "Why Choose Coconut Coir as a Substrate?"
Fertilizing and nourishing the plants sustainably
In potted cultivation, it is necessary to apply fertilizer periodically to make nutrients more available to the plants. For potted cultivation, we recommend using complete liquid fertilizer kits designed to meet all the needs of the plants. They are easy to apply and understand. Just follow the instructions on the label for dosage, dilute with water, water, and enjoy the excellent performance in your garden in an eco-friendly and sustainable way.
Tips for plant care
To ensure the success of a home garden, it's important that the soil is well-tended, any weeds are removed, and plants and fruits are harvested when ready. If you want to get rid of any weeds in an eco-friendly manner and prepare the soil in the pot, you can use a small hoe or a rake to manually remove them. This will also aerate the soil, preventing water stagnation.
To naturally eliminate pests that harm our plants, organic products come into play, such as highly effective neem oil when used on larvae, or Marseille soap that prevents the onset of honeydew, sooty mold, and the arrival of ants. Both products need to be diluted in water and applied using a spray for better distribution.
To educate yourself about possible natural solutions, I recommend reading "Plant Diseases: How to Recognize and Treat Them" and "Plant Insects: How to Recognize and Repel Them."
Fabric and non-woven material for winter is optional unless you live in an area with very cold temperatures that can cause frost on the soil surface. Providing your garden with a small greenhouse allows you to successfully cultivate even during the coldest winters.
Have you found ideas that can assist you during cultivation? Keep in mind these tools and tips to have a sustainable, and above all, impeccable garden. Don't forget that having a green space at your disposal, with the right amount of practice and the proper equipment, allows you to learn and, with a bit of patience, see the results of your own work.
The garden will undoubtedly reward you with flavors, scents, and colors. And, as you've read, it's possible to do so in a simple way, with vertical gardens like Poty.
Were we able to inspire you?