Vegetable garden balcony
The choice of setting up a vegetable garden on a balcony must take into account various factors, the main one being your willingness to dedicate all the care you need to grow the vegetables you need to grow in a space that can be considerably reduced and sometimes particularly exposed. If, having made the proper assessments, you have decided in a positive sense, you just have to take the necessary precautions to get the best out of your plants, whether they are lettuce tufts, blond onions or small aromatic herbs.
First of all, to make the best use of the available space, it is advisable to give preference to the use of square or rectangular containers also for the individual aromatic plants, which, if chosen, must be planted in a row or in series. In the case of perennial aromatics such as sage or rosemary, it is advisable to provide a dedicated pot, since they need a longer time to reach their maximum luxuriance. If you want to make even better use of the space you have, you can take advantage of the climbing capacity of some plants on sticks or trellises to take advantage of the space below to grow bush vegetables. As for the size of the containers, it is preferable that they are at least 40 cm on each side, with a depth related to the characteristics of the plant that is planted there, and that, for example in the case of vegetables with high leaf development such as zucchini or tomatoes, must not be less than 50 cm. It is preferable to use a universal garden soil mixed with a little sand, even coarse in the percentage of at least 10%, as the vegetables do not tolerate a layer of earth capable of retaining water for a long time which, on the other hand, must be able to drain and scroll easily.
As mentioned, the particular arrangement of the balconies can sometimes expose the plants you want to grow there both at the risk of strong solar radiation, especially in summer and in our temperate areas, and at particularly insidious winds or heavy rains that would not allow optimal drainage of the water in the containers. In these cases it is advisable to have the appropriate precautions, protecting the plants with suitable covers and in the case of the wind, using supports for those with the weakest stem or simply placing them close to the walls or parapet.
If, however, you want the rigors of the climate to influence the development of your plants as little as possible, you should opt, always taking into account the layout of your space, for sun-loving and heat-loving vegetables such as tomatoes or aubergines, to be planted in a space facing south, or for others who can withstand the cold better, such as garlic, onion, spinach, radicchio or chicory, if your balcony is not adequately protected from the freezing north winds. In this case it is also advisable to address also early varieties of suitable species, that is, fast growing vegetables whose vegetative development will not suffer too many slowdowns due to the cold winter days.
Finally, if you want to further protect your plants, it is advisable to mulch, using biodegradable material that can be buried next to them and after the end of the winter.