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Vegetable garden on the balcony kit
For the realization of your own home garden it is possible to use pre-packaged items to help set up your own green corner; one of the fundamental elements to obtain good results is represented by the choice of the most suitable vessels and containers.
On the market there are vases of different types: from the classic ones in terracotta to the lighter and more manageable ones in plastic. Usually, the former are to be preferred, as terracotta allows oxygenation of the soil and roots, which is important for the life of many plants. The plastic is instead an impermeable material, and does not have this function: plastic pots are however recommended for vegetables and plants that need to be moved very often. For example, plastic containers prove to be indispensable for cultivating salad or currant and, in general, vegetables that need a varied exposure between sun and shade. When placing seeds or seedlings in pots, keep in mind that it is not necessary for each plant to have a separate pot. On the contrary, it is advisable to optimize the space using, if possible, rectangular vases, in which even more plants can be placed together. Only for aromatic plants it is recommended to use a single vase, as these are perennial plants and need to have their own space: in this case, prefer round pots with a large diameter, so that the plants have the space to to better develop the roots.
Don't forget the saucers: when the plants are watered, the water will come out of the holes in the bottom of the pots and will end up running down the balcony. To avoid this, keep the saucers and empty them as soon as they are filled, to prevent them from being used by mosquitoes to lay eggs.
The soil and the fertilizer for the garden
A lot of universal soil should never be missing in your kit. Not only is it necessary every time you want to sow a new vegetable, but it also becomes indispensable for the tamping work (the operation with which the earth is compacted around the vegetables that sprout out of the soil) and repotting, necessary for the plants perennials (such as aromatic plants, which should be repotted at least every two years).
Many vegetables kept on the balcony also need fairly frequent fertilizations. This is because the soil in the pot has a limited amount of nutrients compared to those found in the open field. It is therefore necessary to proceed carefully with plant fertilization, and it would be better to have both organic fertilizer (such as manure, excellent for preparing pots before sowing) and mineral fertilizer (very effective as it is quickly absorbed by the roots: yes uses liquid to be diluted in the irrigation water).
Fertilizers, both organic and mineral, can be purchased in stores specializing in gardening items (but can also be found in the most stocked supermarkets). Prefer the specific ones for the plants you have on the balcony, and be very careful to respect the dosage explained on the package.
To properly cultivate our plants, it is necessary to complete our kit with the necessary tools. First of all, a small scoop, which will help us to easily dig the holes in the soil, where we will plant the seedlings and seeds. The irrigation of the garden in the balcony is effective if done with the watering can: other methods would cause a waste of water, and would be too invasive for the plants. It would be better to have more than one watering can, of different capacities: on the market there are small plastic watering cans, light even when they are full of water. Buy one that allows you to water the plants by wetting only the soil. If you also grow climbing plants (such as tomatoes and aubergines), you can use special supports, which should become part of your kit: you can buy them in specialized shops, or use canes or canes. Also get raffia, the most suitable material to tie plants to supports. When the colder months are approaching, straw will be useful, which you can use to protect plant roots from frost, simply by placing them on the ground in pots. A pair of gardening gloves and a hat will be essential to protect the head during the hottest hours of the day. If you have the chance, we recommend installing an outdoor tent: in this way, you will have the opportunity to create a shaded area to protect the plants from too much sun.
To optimize space
There are many ways to make the most of the limited balcony space. First of all, you can equip yourself with a wooden ladder, the kind you normally use in the kitchen to reach the highest shelves: placed in a corner of the balcony, it will allow you to arrange the vases on several levels.
Another trick to save space is to use cloth pockets, which are usually used to hold bathroom products: they have a limited cost and, hanging on the balcony wall, can be used to hold some vases. Also get the supports for the vases to hang from the railing: they save a lot of space, and are also suitable for heavier terracotta pots: as well as allowing you to increase the number of vegetables on your balcony, they will also allow you to have a terrace flowery and colorful.