You have a green thumb, but unfortunately no garden? No problem, because even a small balcony or loggia offers the opportunity for gardening. With a vertical bed on the balcony, nothing stands in the way of a small kitchen garden. We explain which vegetables and herbs you can plant there and how to arrange them correctly.
Set up the vertical bed correctly on the balcony
There are different variants of a vertical bed on the market – some models are made of wood, others are made of metal. But they all have one thing in common: they allow you to make maximum use of the available space. A vertical bed can even be set up on a very small or narrow balcony. However, so that the useful plants also thrive well, you should pay attention to a few things.
1. The vertical bed is not screwed to the wall, but is a stable, free-standing construction. This allows air to circulate freely around vegetables and herbs. At the same time, the bed should be placed as close as possible to the wall of the apartment, because it provides warmth and protects against the wind. The position as a kind of room divider is less favorable, because the sunlight falls from the side and the plants on the inside cannot get enough sun rays.
2. The individual “wooden boxes” are usually not connected to each other. So you can fill and plant each one separately with substrate. The boxes are also cast individually.
3. The individual wooden boxes have a smaller soil volume and are not as deep as ordinary balcony boxes and tubs. Nevertheless, they are perfect for crops, because luckily there are many vegetables and herbs that are flat-rooted. Such are, for example, most types of lettuce such as lettuce, rocket, onion, radish, radish, celery, tomato, cucumber and some mini pumpkins. Many herbs and spices are also suitable for growing in vertical beds.
A vertical bed on the balcony can be planted all year round
If planted correctly, a vertical bed can ensure a bountiful harvest. And not just in summer. So you can sow different types of vegetables and herbs in spring, summer and autumn. An important prerequisite, however, is that the balcony is as sunny as possible. A west or south orientation offers the possibility to sow even true sun worshipers like the tomatoes.
These types of balcony vegetables can be planted in the kitchen garden
- Iceberg Lettuce – goes in the middle or top wooden box, needs lots of direct sunlight.
- Beetroot – is placed in the middle wooden box.
- Nasturtium needs a sunny to semi-shady place, so it can thrive in the lower or middle wooden box.
- Carrots – can be sown in the middle wooden box as early as March.
- Cherry tomatoes Sorte „Sungold“, „Blondköpfchen“
- Snack cucumber variety “Corentine”, mini cucumbers “Gambit” – Cucumbers need a lot of direct sunlight, at the same time they can shade other plants with their dense foliage. The varieties that need climbing support can be planted in the middle planter. The rest is simply planted on the edge of the lower wooden box.
- French beans – above all, they need warmth and protection from the wind. They also grow without climbing aids, so they are perfect for the lower wooden box.
- Rocket is a true sun worshiper and will thrive in the top wooden box.
- In the upper wooden box you can also create a mixed culture of different herbs such as oregano or dill. Almost all herbs do best in full sun, so you have a lot of choices.
Plant mixed cultures in vertical beds on the balcony
You don’t necessarily have to sow only one type of vegetable in each wooden box, you also have to grow a mixed culture. An important prerequisite for this is that all types of vegetables, herbs and spices have similar requirements in terms of location, water and substrate. There are also some types that do not get along. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes do best when planted at least 40cm apart.
As for watering, water evaporates fastest in metal boxes. So if you have opted for a vertical bed with metal boxes, then you should water your plants more often in the summer. Wood, on the other hand, saves heat and insulates better in winter. So when it comes to boxes with a small volume of soil, the natural material might be better.
Many types of vegetables are also heavy consumers – this means that they need a lot of nutrients in order to grow healthily and bear lots of fruit. The special soil found in garden centers is rich in humus. However, the nutrients are washed away from the soil with each watering. It is therefore best to add compost to the substrate and then fertilize the vegetables regularly during the growth phase.
Anyone who wants to harvest the vegetables several times a year should prefer the plants now so that they can be planted in the vertical bed after the Ice Saints.