By Matthew Koehorst
If you live in an urban center, chances are you don’t have too much space available for gardening. However, there is still a lot of potential to keep your fingers green and produce a supplementary amount of vegetables to support your fresh vegetable requirements. To garden successfully on a balcony or small space it is important to start with good quality compost and potting soil and to not over-water your plants. Overwatering will wash the nutrients out of the soil, leaving it infertile and ineffective. However, too little water can be very dangerous for your container plants, as their roots are reliant on what water you provide to keep the plant happy.
Good plants for balcony production:
Potatoes, Tomatoes, Spinach, Carrots, beans, lettuces, and a huge variety of herbs can all be fantastic for growing in containers. Make sure to provide enough soil for root vegetables though, and keep tomatoes out of areas that are very windy.
Easy to propagate vegetables from cuttings:
Next time you have some kitchen scraps, think twice before throwing them away- many vegetables can regrow from the discarded ends, saving you time and money and illustrating the beauty of life in the process!
– Romain Lettuce will regrow from the cut stem of the lettuce, just add it to a small container of water with the top exposed to the air and watch it grow
– Basil grows easily from cuttings and is a great way to increase your basil quantities- just cut a stem 4-5cm below the top and add it to water to watch it grow. Remove all but a third of the leaves on the cutting.
– Garlic sprouts can be grown from cloves of garlic by submerging them in water
– Lemongrass and spring onions can regrow from discarded roots by placing them in water.
– Sweet potatoes can sprout and produce vines that will in time produces more potatoes.
Simply place the potato with 1/3rd submerged and wait for the vinelike leaves to emerge before planting.
Urban farmers who lack access to the soil have come up with many different solutions for containers for their plants. From stacked discarded tyres to toilet bowls, from gutters to beautiful wooden planter boxes, the options are relatively limitless. When looking for containers for your plants make sure to include drainage holes to prevent root rot and generally look for something at least 10cm deep to house your plants.
Creating a green space in your urban environment is easy, rewarding and a great way to spend time in a mini oasis in the concrete jungle and to stretch your green fingers. Enjoy the process!