Growing a Small Vegetable Garden on the Balcony (8sqm)

My rental apartment has only a quite small balcony which is usually empty and scorching hot when summer comes. But not this year. I have embarked on the journey to turn my balcony into a green haven. After a few months I realized that to nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

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Medium
SERVING: 4 People
TIME: 120 days
INGREDIENTS:
DIRECTIONS:
1. Planning the layout and cleaning up the balcony
1. Planning the layout and cleaning up the balcony
1. Planning the layout and cleaning up the balcony
Measuring and drawing a layout of vegetables plan to optimize, maximize and take the most out of the balcony area. Drawing the design of the Raised Beds to make the process of buying lumber easier. Buying a mini greenhouse to allow early sowing, because the weather in Germany is quite cold and it usually will not be warmer til the end of May. Cleaning up the balcony: moping the floor, removing soil from last year, pulling weeds.
2. Making Raised Bed
2. Making Raised Bed
2. Making Raised Bed
Raised Bed is not something new or avant-garde. Making these beds not only make the balcony look better and tidy, but also support the plants to grow much better. Easier to handle and mix soil, avoid snails ... Especially, no longer have to bend over and suffer from back pain when sowing, harvesting, pulling weeds in a long period of time... like planting in low beds.
3. Preparing fertilizer and soil
3. Preparing fertilizer and soil
3. Preparing fertilizer and soil
Fertilizer - I used Bokashi composting to make fertilizer from organic kitchen waste. This is killing many birds with one stone. Our kitchen is now odorless and zero-waste, and organic waste now decomposes faster than traditional composting. In Bokashi composting, kitchen scraps of all kinds — including meat and dairy products banned from aerobic systems — are mixed with some of the inoculated bran, pressed into the Bokashi bucket, covered with another handful of bran, and tightly covered. When the bucket is full, it is sealed shut and set aside for ten to twelve days. Every other day during that time, the leachate that is an inevitable byproduct of anaerobic composting needs to be drawn off. That’s the only care required.
4. Germinating
4. Germinating
4. Germinating
For Plants that need to be germinated indoors: + Using specialized soil for sowing will increase germination rate and good starting point for plants. + Reuse egg boxes, milk cartons ... to sow seeds. Or you can buy specialized small pots if sowing in large quantities. + Write down the name and date of sowing for easy monitoring. + Seeds will usually germinate after 7-14 days. + Keep on windows, where there is plenty of light.
6. Cultivating
6. Cultivating
6. Cultivating
Balconies in urban areas in summer are super hot, so it is necessary to cover the soil to retain water without the need of watering a few times a day. When done properly, the mulch reduces the time required for watering, weeding and fighting pests. In general, this results in better, healthier fruits, vegetables and flowers.
8. Harvesting
8. Harvesting
8. Harvesting
Starting from June, our balcony garden can be harvested very regularly. Sometimes, when we couldn’t keep up with the pace, we had to salt or conserve the veggies to keep it for a long time and give it to neighbors or eat later. Of course, it is not possible to be 100% self-sufficient for the whole family, but it also reduces the amount of vegetables need to bought when shopping a lot. And moreover, they are super fresh and clean! Let's take a look at the tiny garden that brings us joy every day!