Do you want to start a little garden on your balcony? Don't wait for spring; start now!
The autumn/winter garden offers many emotions and keeps us company, brightening our balconies with vibrant colors and bringing vitality and serenity to our gray days. But that's not all; a home garden can enrich our kitchens with fresh and healthy produce even during the coldest months of the year.
Is it worth starting a garden in the autumn/winter period?
The answer is an absolute yes!
In the common imagination, the quintessential garden is the spring and summer one: lively, full of colors and diverse varieties. Winter, on the other hand, is seen as a season of rest, during which it makes no sense to cultivate due to cold temperatures and unfavorable weather conditions. In reality, the autumn and winter garden can be incredibly rewarding, especially for beginners.
Creating a garden is a genuine practice that helps us get outdoors, connect with nature, and escape from stress.
Gardening in winter is not as challenging as you might think because winter varieties are hardy, require less water, and need special care. It's an excellent exercise to prepare for a spring full of colorful and more demanding varieties.
How to care for the winter garden?
Most plants, if adequately protected, do not require special care, especially in the city. If you are an urban farmer, simply move the plants closer to the walls of your home, away from the most exposed positions to cold winds. In case of severe frosts, you may need to protect your plants with a cloth or nylon cover, open at the top to prevent condensation.
The ingredients for flavor: sunlight and irrigation
During this season, pay particular attention to irrigation to avoid overwatering the plants and prevent rot. This means drastically reducing irrigation. Make sure to water the plants only when the soil is dry, on not particularly cold days, and in the warmer hours of the day, using a moderate amount of water. The secret to a rich and tasty harvest is simple: place the plants in a sunny location and moderate irrigation to maximize nutrient accumulation in the vegetables.
Dilemma: sow or transplant?
In a traditional garden, well-developed seedlings are directly planted in the ground because the cold slows down the germination process. This is why direct seeding is ruled out. In the city, you have the flexibility to choose how to create your garden.
If you want to start from seeds, you should know that germination is a delicate phase, it takes time, and it must be done in a closed and dark space. So, if you want to simplify your life, you can use germination kits like these. Inside the kit, you'll find everything you need to germinate your favorite varieties: a mini greenhouse, seedbeds, substrate, and three seed packets selected based on the season.
You'll also receive instructions to guide you through each stage of germination until the transplant phase, providing detailed information on timing and actions for each stage, such as the size of the seedlings for potting.
For more tips, read our comprehensive guide for impeccable germination!
Choose a seedling
For those new to gardening, transplanting is recommended and can be a real lifesaver, even if you're late with your sowing. All you need to do is buy the seedling, plant it, and take care of it until harvest. Don't worry if you don't see the plant grow immediately after transplanting. This is due to the stress that plants experience after the transplant process. You can remedy this with the help of nutrients, which will give your plants a boost to recover and grow vigorously.
For more tips on transplanting, red our dedicated article with 4 tips for transplanting plants in your garden.
What to plant in the winter garden
The variety of urban crops is much broader than that of traditional ground crops. On the balcony, you can take advantage of a milder climate due to the heat emitted by the building, allowing you to cultivate more unusual varieties.
In traditional gardens, it will be necessary to use more cold-resistant plants such as onions, shallots, cabbages, spinach, garlic, and broccoli. In the city, you will still be on time to transplant less cold-resistant varieties such as fennel, lettuce, arugula, red chicory, and other leafy vegetables that can't tolerate very hot or very cold months, making them perfect for the urban climate.
Additionally, herbs should not be left out. Sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano are considered perennial herbs and are undoubtedly the seasonings that are always on our tables, whether it's summer or winter. If you want to get more creative with less common varieties, discover which other species you can grow on your balcony at this time by checking out our catalog for inspiration!