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With the arrival of sunny days, we would like to be able to take care of our small vegetable garden ... But when we live in an apartment, we only dream of having the space to install one. Well know that having a vegetable garden in an apartment is now possible! On a simple window sill or on your balcony, you can plant tomatoes, eggplants or even aromatic plants ... Are you tempted by the experience? Follow the advice of a professional vegetable gardener on the balcony, Florent Imperiale.
Tell us about your background
I am a computer engineer by training, but my passion for gardening dates from my childhood, when I cultivated a vegetable garden with my parents. When I moved into town, I tried to keep this link with the land through community gardens, but unfortunately I could not have a place. I then started potting on my balcony and I quickly became disillusioned with the results of these conventional potted crops. I looked everywhere for planting solutions in the city and I understood that certain countries like Canada or the United States were ahead of this type of culture, in particular thanks to geotextile pots which allowed optimum growth. Plant. I imported this material and the result of my cultures was much more convincing, this motivated me to leave my work in IT to try to live my passion by offering these innovative products as well as my experience of urban culture. on my website.
How is a vegetable garden organized on a balcony?
First of all and you will understand, you have to put all the odds on its side by using geotextile pots, because thanks to their breathable material, the development of the plant will be much better by providing the necessary oxygen, limiting the temperature in the pot and excess humidity to prevent root rot. Then, you should think about taking potting soil as well as organic fertilizer or compost. The soil provides good ventilation and good water retention (preferably take a soil with a water retention rate greater than 60ml / l). Compost will meet the nutritional needs of the plant. It is also possible for those who wish to make their own compost using vermicomposters, we put all the organic waste from the kitchen, and earthworms will ensure the transformation of this waste into compost by digesting it. Easy to use, this process allows you to recover your green waste. Once the seeds have been purchased, all that remains is to sow them directly in the pots or to sow them hot, depending on the time of year and the variety chosen.
Can all balconies install a small vegetable patch?
Yes, you can even start on a window sill by planting aromatic herbs. On a square meter of balcony you can already plant, for example, two tomato plants, an eggplant plant and three pepper plants that can give fifteen kilos of vegetables throughout a season. For balconies exposed to the north or that receive little sun, certain varieties are adapted to these conditions such as salads, rhubarb and certain aromatic plants.
What can you plant in a vegetable patch on a balcony?
Almost any vegetable found in the garden can be planted on a balcony, the important factor being a pot with a volume suitable for the chosen plant. For example you need pots of at least 40 liters to plant a tomato plant, an eggplant plant or even potatoes. One of the classic errors being to undersize the size of the pot which will strongly limit the development of the plant.
Are there special protections to provide?
For plantations exposed to the wind or very exposed to the sun, be sure to provide a surface mulch to limit the evaporation of moisture. For people gardening on a balcony, it is preferable to provide saucers under the pots in geotextile, to avoid moisture spots.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a vegetable patch on their balcony?
We must remember that with plants we are dealing with living things, which just like us need to feed, that's why at least three times a year we must use either organic fertilizer or compost or vermicompost to feed the plant. For the most dizzy or those who go on vacation without being able to water their vegetable garden during their absence, I recommend having drip systems so that the plant always has a sufficient amount of water to feed and can regulate its temperature through evaporation.
Can a vegetable garden on a balcony be aesthetic?
Depending on how you arrange your vegetable patch and the vegetables you grow, you can have something colorful, which brings a natural touch to our city environment. Some photos illustrating this article are proof! In addition, it is always possible to use flowerpot holders, because it is true that the aesthetics of the containers are not necessarily to everyone's taste. Improving this is a real challenge that manufacturers of geotextile pots will have to face, namely making designer pots, colorful, attractive in terms of price while retaining the advantages of a breathable material, and if the product could be manufactured in France, it would be even better! Our practical gardening videos