Would you also like to start cultivating a small garden? Well, you are in good company – as many as 62% of Italians have expressed a desire to start growing plants at home or on their balconies. Cultivating on the terrace has become a dream for many, especially after the period of forced isolation in recent months, which rediscovered the importance of greenery and the beauty of connecting with plants.
Perhaps we can find some positive aspects of this period, where even the most inexperienced have developed a "green thumb," bringing gardening and farming hobbies to urban areas in a modern, fresh, and enjoyable way. However, cultivating this hobby in the city requires a bit of creativity, as the limited surface area of terraces and balconies can be a constraint for those dreaming of a proper garden full of fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables require more space to grow compared to flowers, so it is essential to consider the available space. Therefore, it is necessary to explore different and alternative cultivation methods, such as plant bags, hanging beds, planters, and vertical gardens, with the aim of making the most of the available space.
But what are the differences between horizontal and vertical cultivation? And in which cases is one better than the other? Let's see!
Horizontal garden: ideal for spacious environments
If you want to create a small vegetable garden with a few plants, you can use simple terracotta pots of various sizes in proportion to the plant's dimensions. It is better to choose dwarf varieties and leafy vegetables, avoiding those that develop underground, such as tubers and roots, as they are not well-suited for container gardening.
An alternative to pots is raised beds, designed to bring the cultivation bed to human height. These containers do not have a bottom, allowing for larger seeds and varieties to be planted compared to pots, thanks to the greater depth of soil. These types of containers utilize horizontal space and involve only one level of cultivation. For this reason, they are suitable for larger balconies or for very limited production.
In this case, irrigation should be balanced and adjusted based on the size of the container being used.
But be careful not to overwater!
These products usually lack an excess water drainage system, so the risk of water stagnation is high, leading to problems like fungal infestations, insect presence, and "drowning" of your plants.
Which plants are suitable for a horizontal garden?
In this case, you can choose varieties that don't grow too tall, to avoid competition for sunlight between plants. Therefore, it is advisable to select vegetables with similar vegetative development, such as leafy vegetables and herbs.
Vertical Garden: Fit as Many Plants as Possible in Small Spaces
Cultivating a vertical garden makes use of height and allows you to compact more varieties in a small space. It can be an ideal solution for balconies and terraces, especially for those who want to optimize space and grow up to 10 times more!
There are many alternatives and possibilities for vertical gardening, from pallets to ladder shelving and modular vertical gardens like Poty. One of the simplest methods involves stacking pots, placing them on shelves, hanging them on walls, or suspending them with ropes for support. Although this is one of the most intuitive solutions accessible to everyone, it is not as straightforward to plan and maintain as one might think.
It can be inconvenient and requires careful planning regarding plant arrangement to ensure good exposure to sunlight. Not to mention that making holes in the wall or inserting fixed structures, if not adequately protected, can lead to mold formation in the space between the garden and the wall.
And if you want to incorporate an automatic irrigation system, it can become quite an adventure!
Among the trending types of vertical gardens is the pallet, which, when recycled and resized, becomes a vertical garden. In this case, the pallet must be hung on a wall with supports, and wooden planks (or other materials) need to be fixed to create the cultivation compartments. In such structures, there is limited space for the plant, so it's better to choose crops that are content with reduced soil volume and do not grow too tall. While this solution is trendy, it may not be the most efficient in terms of space utilization and can be costly to create and maintain.
If you are not a DIY expert, doing it all by yourself may prove quite challenging.
Now, there are also solutions available on the market like Poty, a modular vertical garden designed to facilitate easy balcony gardening using height.
Poty is also suitable for beginners, as it comes with everything you need to start cultivating from day one and provides step-by-step guidance through digital guides. It was created precisely to help urban dwellers cultivate a vertical garden on their balconies and reconnect with nature by growing delicious, healthy, local food right at home.
All you need is a corner measuring 50 cm by 50 cm, and you can cultivate up to 40 plants.
Which plants are suitable for a vertical garden?
In a vertical garden, everything is possible, and in some cases, even large vegetables like pumpkins, watermelons, or melons can be grown.
Just a few considerations are required to start cultivating your customized garden according to your preferences. Lower pots, for example, are recommended for species that require more space and good exposure to sunlight, such as peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes. Mid-height pots are reserved for species that prefer semi-shaded conditions, such as leafy and stem vegetables.
Bulb varieties, on the other hand, require less water but more light and should be placed in higher modules. Finally, the top pots of the vertical garden are suitable for Mediterranean herbs like oregano, marjoram, and basil, which thrive in full sun.
You can truly grow a little bit of everything; you just need to know where to position it!
If you want to cultivate something unusual, let yourself be guided by the catalog of selected seedlings from Hexagro – you will find species suitable for your vertical garden and for every season of the year.