The balcony as a substitute garden

Garden Life
Not everybody is lucky enough to have a garden. Many people just live in an apartment with balcony. But why not garden on the balcony instead? With the right equipment you can transform your balcony into a kitchen garden and cultivate your own vegetables, fruits or flowers. So make sure that you choose the right equipment and also the right plants – especially since not all plants are equally suited for the balcony.

Before you start, you need to check the alignment of your balcony. Not all sorts of plants tolerate too much sun, shade or rain. No matter if the balcony is small or large: Plant tubs are available in many different sorts and variants so that you can use your balcony in an optimal way. The trick is to garden not only into the width but into the height as well. The range of different planting options is huge. You can shape your balcony using planting boxes for the balcony rail, plant baskets, bed-boxes for the ground, planting bags with bottom openings for potatoes, planting bags which are fixed to the wall, climbing trellis or even a balcony-greenhouse. You can also fix your individual planters to the balcony banister or the stair banister, the rainwater pipe, or even onto shutters or clothing lines.

Ideally use planters that have holes in the bottoms to avoid waterlogging. It is important that the wall of the planters is stable so they are able to withstand clammy conditions. To make the soil stay in the pot, dress the planters with foil or thick fleece. Pierce a few holes into the foil so that, later on, the water can flow off easily. The next step is to fill in the soil and the seeds or seedlings.

Tomatoes in planters

To make sure that your tomatoes are large enough to start the season, they first have to be cultivated on the windowsill from mid-September. Use little pots, fill in soil and press the seeds approximately 0.5 cm under the soil. Keep the soil moist and cover the pot with a plastic wrap to keep a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. Press the tomato stakes/climbing supports before you dibble the plant, so that you do not injure the rhizome. In mid-November you can put the planter on the balcony. Mix soil with compost or tomato-fertiliser to give the seedlings sufficient nutrients. The tomato plants need a sunny place which is not exposed to rain. Water the plants regularly so that the tomatoes do not blow out. In order to know when harvesting time will come, check the seeds packaging as this depends on the variety.

Radishes in the vegetable box

In mid-September you can sow the radish seeds into planting boxes. Please respect a minimum of 5 centimeters clearance between the seeds. For radishes, you do not have to cultivate little plants from the seeds. The germination time of the seeds is about 6-14 days. Put the box at a sunny to slightly shaded place. Water the plant frequently so that the plant does not dry out. After approximately 4 weeks you can pick the first radishes. If you continue to sow seeds, you can harvest fresh radishes throughout the whole summer.

Parsley in plant bags

Parsley needs a nutritious and permeable soil at a half-shaded place. Normally, you sow the seeds at the end of August until September or later in January/February. First, soak the seeds in water overnight. Then, put the seeds in a low plant bag and heap them up with soil. Water the plants several times a day. After approximately three months you can pick the parsley as needed.

Which plants are also suitable for the balcony?

Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Peppermint
Flowers: Fuchsia, Bellflower
Vegetables: Pepper, Lettuce, Cucumber, Potato
Fruits: Strawberry, Citrus