The joy of growing and cooking your own vegetables is not just for rural residents, city-dwellers can also enjoy their own fresh vegetables. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a large plot of land for a vegetable garden and, similarly, not all vegetable gardens benefit from fertile ground or a good exposure to the sun. However anyone can grow some of the vegetables they consume, even in the heart of a city, by creating a miniature vegetable garden on a balcony for example.

Regarding all of these private vegetable gardens, it is essential to make an appropriate selection of the vegetables to grow. Moreover, these vegetables need to be arranged to fully optimize the available space, that is to say, by growing them in suspension, on stairs or on different levels. One will also need to choose fast-growing vegetables in order to have several harvests per season on the same location. Asparagus, for example, should not even be taken into consideration.

Vegetable gardens on balconies

If your apartment has a balcony or small terrace that has a good exposition, facing south preferably, it is entirely possible to create a small vegetable garden. All you need are wooden trays and terracotta pots, the same that are used for household plants. These containers will be filled to ¾ of their capacity with compost or substrate and arranged on different levels that will be located on the balconies’ sunniest spot. Vegetables that are best suited to this kind of cultivation are, among others, tomatoes, lettuce, sorrel and aromatic plants such as parsley and thyme. Obviously, it is better not to grow vegetables that take up too much space or that have a slow growth, as is the case for potatoes or cabbage.

Miniature vegetable gardens

For those who have a little plot of land around their home, the vegetables planted in their miniature outdoor vegetable gardens will be substantially identical to those grown on balconies. Here, the advantage is that you can plant in- ground, but the use of bins and supports will also be required to make the most out of the available space. As with balconies, do not grow plants that require a lot of space and stagger the sowing procedures in a clever manner. Here is a good example: in early spring, sow radishes and lettuce on the same square then, once the radishes are harvested, transplant the best-looking lettuce seedlings. In early summer, once the lettuce are picked, replant leeks on the same space. They will be harvested throughout the fall.

Poorly exposed vegetable gardens

We know the importance of the sun for beautiful vegetables, however it is possible to grow quality products even if your vegetable garden is not very sunny, completely in the shade or facing north. Solutions to capture the sunlight exist and include, for example, a system of reflecting walls that reverberate the light. In any case, the choice of vegetables is crucial. Among the vegetables that grow well in the shade, we can cite endives, radishes, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach. Don’t forget to save some space for a raspberry bush, at the base of which you can also plant wild strawberries.

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Published in Individuals by Alexander on 14 Sep 2011