5 plants for the balcony vegetable garden will make your spring more interesting. Growing a small vegetable garden, even in small boxes on the balcony, or on the window of your house, helps combat stress, teaches patience at a slow pace, and gives a lot of manual satisfaction.
For me, working a small plot of land is a mystical time: I immerse myself in the scent of the clods of earth, I experience the sowing with participation, I learn to wait for the time of creation. Every year the vegetable garden teaches me many things: it brings me back down to earth, it makes me appreciate the physical effort, it reminds me that it is not we who make life grow, it frees my mind. Yes, I could call it both a ‘mystical garden’ and a ‘Zen garden’.
But let’s come to our ‘balcony garden’.
5 plants for the balcony garden: what do you need?
There are two stages: the first stage involves sowing the seeds and sprouting the seedlings. In the second phase you plant them in larger pots for growth and decorate your balcony.
You will need: some fruit boxes (depending on the space you have available), a bag of multi purpose soil, seeds, lots of empty yoghurt pots, some terracotta pots (or plastic, but with holes underneath) for the second phase.
Put the soil in the pots, plant a few seeds per pot and put everything in the boxes on the balcony. If it gets too cold at night, you can put the boxes inside.
As the seedlings get bigger (at least 10 cm), bury them in terracotta pots and wait until the vegetables are ready. At the bottom of the pots it is best to put a layer of clay balls, which allow the water to drain away. Then place a piece of gardening cloth on top and finally the potting soil where you will transplant your seedlings.
Everyone has their own favourite plants. For the balcony, it is best to opt for those that do not require deep roots or too much space. For sage, as I wrote in the previous article, I recommend keeping it in a pot all year round.
Basil is the first to be sown because it will give your balcony a special scent and a beautiful bright colour. It is best to sow it in several small pots so that you have enough to make pesto. You can never have too much basil. It is important not to water it too much!
Which is your favourite? In all supermarkets at this time of year you can find seed packets of the most varied lettuces. Choose your favourite, plant it in yoghurt pots and after 5 to 6 weeks it will be ready for transplanting. Put a few seeds in each jar and, when it starts to grow, don’t wet the leaves with water, but pour it around.
Normal courgettes take up a lot of space, whereas ‘baby’ courgettes can be grown on the balcony. They are very hardy plants that give a lot. Round courgettes can also do well. As soon as the seedling has reached 10 cm, transplant it, keeping a distance of 50 cm, or if you are using round pots, one per pot. It grows a lot.
Cherry tomatoes in bunches
Tomatoes need sun, so they do well on balconies in warm or sunny locations. When transplanting the seedlings, place bamboo sticks to tie down the branches, which grow up to one and a half metres. The pots should be at least 45 cm in diameter, because tomatoes require soil.
5 plants for the balcony garden: Swiss chard
If you like chard, it’s great for balconies because it grows easily and grows back after cutting, giving you continuous harvests. I like to prepare them sautéed, as they hold their flavour better.
Aromatic and fragrant herbs
If you don’t want to grow vegetables because it seems too demanding, you can focus on aromatic herbs, which are much easier. In addition to basil, plant the following in large pots: sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lots and lots of lavender. Lavender gives joy, perfumes the environment and stimulates meditation.
5 plants for the balcony garden. Is the moon involved?
In my mountain village, we have vegetable gardens outside the town centre, close to each other. A few years ago, there was an old man in the garden next to mine. He was very nice. Sometimes he would laugh when I went to sow my seedlings. One fine day he explained to me: “You sow wrongly, so the plants rot or grow too much. The secret is simple: sow in a waxing moon all the plants that need to grow (like tomatoes), and in a waning moon all those that need to stay low (like salad). Good work and good satisfaction!