Garden on the balcony
Even on the balcony, we can grow our own vegetables. Above all, herbs are good. The light is better on the south-east or south-west balconies. In the hottest places, we have to protect the vegetables against the strong summer sun on the south balconies (including SE and SO). The northern balconies are more problematic but still suitable for lettuce cultivation.
Depending on the choice of vegetables, we provide quite deep jars: at least 20 cm for lettuce, legumes, and leafy vegetables, 40 cm for roots, onion, peppers, aubergines, and cucumbers, while for tomatoes instead 10 cm more in-depth.
For a greater product in a limited environment, we combine tall and low plants in the same pot (eg, tomato and parsley) or plants that grow quickly and those that grow slowly (eg, fruit vegetables and lettuce).
As jars, we can use plastic bottles, larger shopping bags, old cooking pots … Plastic, glass, and metal hold the Earth’s moisture well. On the bottom, we spread small pebbles for drainage (2 cm) and on the fertile Earth (a good mixture is 20% of land from the garden and 80% of quality substrate for pot plants or vegetables).
For the job, we need only a shovel and a watering can. When the temperature rises, we water more frequently when it is lowered vice versa but always enough that the water arrives at the roots. We protect the Earth with mulch. The use of fertilizers is desired but very moderate. Slowly decomposing fertilizers are suitable.
If you do not replace the Earth in the pots, alternation is advisable.
The greenhouse is ideal for growing plants that are good for an early start. When it is still too early for outdoor sowing, you can grow strong shoots in greenhouses. It is especially useful in cold and unpredictable climate because it allows us to grow plants that love the heat (tomatoes, aubergines …).
We put the greenhouse in a part of the sunny garden, away from the trees, with easy access to the house, water, and electricity. We can heat it or leave it in the sun to do what is necessary, but we must always pay attention to adequate ventilation.
As far as materials (structure and roofing) are concerned, price, resistance, and the aesthetic factor play an important role. An aluminum structure is more durable, the finest wooden one. The glass cover can be dangerous, but it is the most suitable. The heating can be with electric radiators (with thermostats) or with gas heating systems, but their maintenance is more difficult. Moreover, they are usually not equipped with a thermostat.
In practice, bio gardening includes the sowing of mixed crops (good neighbors), mulching (for moist and light soil and life in the soil), natural fertilization (for adding additional nutrients), natural defense against animals harmful, and composting.
Permaculture is a branch of ecological management, engineering, and environmental management that develops permanent frameworks and autonomous agricultural systems developed on the basis of natural ecosystems. The permacultural garden is an autonomous permanent garden managed by us in respect of nature. In gardening, we avoid using chemical preparations and artificial fertilizers. We follow the development of vegetables and other plants and intervene if necessary. We plant and sow only the plants that can succeed in our environment. We recycle as much as possible, both organic waste, treated on compost, and shoddy tables that can be used to create tall flowerbeds.
Biodynamics is a very specialized method of agriculture that, in addition to ecological principles, also respects those of the natural movement of the Earth and the seasons. The founder is Dr. Rudolf Steiner. His method was carried out by Maria Thun, who, with careful observation and annotations, made many observations and argued from the scientific point of view.
The basis of biodynamics is seeds and seedlings, composed for fertilization, alternation, special preparations for the protection of plants (similar to homeopathic ones), and minerals that strengthen the plants and reduce diseases and the appearance of vermin. All produced ecologically and biodynamically. We do not use genetically modified organisms, disinfected seeds, artificial fertilizers, sprayed products, and other chemical substances.
Tall flower beds
Only a few centimeters can be raised from the ground, while higher flower beds are suitable for gardeners who have trouble moving (height 60-75 cm for people in wheelchairs, 75-90 for working up). We can fence them with wood, small tables, bricks, stone cubes. The wood must be adequately protected. The sleepers are not suitable because they are protected with creosol. On the sides, we leave a hole for the water to flow out. The width must be 60 cm for access from one side or up to 120 cm for access from both sides.
They are suitable for use on poorly maintained or contaminated soils. The bottom should be filled with crushed stone (for water to flow out), after which we add the Earth and the compost. Since we cannot walk on the flower beds, we can choose the method without hoeing.
Flower beds in terraces
On steep terrain, the terraced flower beds are the only solution to prevent soil erosion. On the one hand, we form a slope from the terrace; on the other, we carry out construction work to form one or more flat flowerbeds. Low stone fences prevent the Earth from being taken away.
The vegetable garden as an ornament
Vegetables can be very beautiful. If we want to try to create an ornamental vegetable garden, we create a simple project in geometric models and choose plants that can be harvested without the aesthetic value suffering. For carrots, cauliflower, leek, cabbage, and onion, we choose varieties that yield late because there are no empty spaces in the garden. It is necessary to weed often and control the formation of diseases and pests meticulously.
Some suggestions on what to plant: artichokes, tomato in clusters, peas, herbs of different colors, pumpkins and courgettes, high beans, onion from salad, various colored lettuces and peppers.