Balcony Garden in Paris

Some little tips from us to you on beginning your journey with your very own Balcony Garden - If you are like us, and are living in a Parisian apartment and wish to start growing your own herbs and vegetables ( Yes, vegetables!) than these small steps can get you on the road to home grown beauties. 
1. CHOOSE A CONTAINER

Make sure that your container has good drainage because soggy roots will kill your garden. Keep in mind that your plants will grow better in a larger container rather than a small one. More soil means more space for roots to grow. For bigger plants like zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers – choose pots that are large and at least 30-40 cm deep. Herbs, leafy vegetables, salad greens, radishes, and carrots can be planted in wide shallow pots that are 15 to 20 cm deep. 

2. FILL YOUR CONTAINER WITH SOIL
Choosing the right soil for your container garden is essential. The better the soil is, the better your plants’ roots, foliage and flowers will grow. Fill your container until the soil reaches a couple of inches from the top. Make sure not to mound your soil, it should be about one inch beneath the top once finished. This will act as a water reservoir, giving your plants more time to hydrate themselves. Vegetables grown in pots require loose, well-drained, fertile, and nutritious soil.

3. ADD A GOOD FOOD STARTER
At your local market, find an organic plant starter which includes both endo & ecto mycorrhizae. You’ll grow a larger root mass to help plants establish quickly and promote bigger blooms.

Pollination:
Bees, beetles, moths and butterflies, will not be able to pollinate your plants since they probably won’t venture higher than a second story apartment. Pollination is important, especially if you are growing vegetables. If you live in a breezy location, wind pollination may be enough, if the blooms on your plants sway in the breeze. If you have little wind and no insects, you will need to hand-pollinate tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers. Gently shake the cage or stakes of pepper and tomato plants every few days. Do the same with the other plants. Nothing else is necessary – you just need to stir up the pollen a little so it is transferred from the male part of the plant to the female. Hand-pollinate during the hot part of the day when the humidity is at its lowest. Peas, beans and lettuces are self pollinating and don’t need any help from their gardener.

4. PICK YOUR PLANTS
Choose plants that GROW together; those that need the same growing conditions. 

Low sun (minimum 4-6 hours)
Celery
Parsley
Mint
Salad greens
Green onions, onions
Ginger
Peas
Radishes and Carrots

Sunny (More than 6 hours)
Basil
Sage
Thyme
Dill
Chives
Eggplant

5. PLANT!
Position your tallest plants in the center of the pot, and the smaller around the edge. As you plant, make sure not to compress the soil. Instead of pressing the soil down, move it to the side to make room for your plants. Fill the soil back into the remaining space so that the plants are tucked securely in place. Always, when growing vegetables, find some companion herbs to grow with them. The combination of them enhances the taste of vegetables

8. WATER
Give your new plants a nice long drink. You want the water to run out of the drainage holes of the pot. If you don’t have drainage holes then you’ll want to water a little less you so don’t turn the soil into a bog. When the vegetables adapt to the microclimate of your balcony, the only requirement left is to watering and fertilizing. Generally, you should feed your plants every month or so with balanced liquid fertilizer or side-dress the vegetables and herbs with compost twice during the growing season

10. MAINTAIN
As the season progresses, be mindful to keep up on the maintenance of your container garden. Deadheading flowers will not only help your garden stay disease free, it will also encourage new flowers to form.

 

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