Let’s make a Bio Garden on the balcony, why not!

For the fans of “organic” vegetables, we would like to present a new idea for a “Bio garden on the balcony”.

You need to have some space on the balcony and some desire, and your dreams can come true: To have bio tomatoes and peppers at your fingertips.

This is a good option to feed rationally on real food only against investing a small amount for organic seedlings and organic fertilizer.

What is necessary:

1. Choosing a place.

Start by choosing a suitable place for adapting your home garden. Although the pots are moved easily, it is important that your plants have sufficient sunlight and protection from the elements.

2. What do you want to grow?

The space you have at home and your choice of crop will determine the type, size and number of containers you will need.

If the pots with small diameter of 15-25 cm are suitable for growing some herbs and even cherry tomatoes, for the cultivation of vegetables you will need larger containers longer than 40-60 cm. Almost every type of pot or box can be used as long as good drainage through holes in the walls or the bottom is provided. If you need to make holes, drill four or more, measuring about 0.5 cm, evenly distributed on the bottom of the container. If you need additional drainage, on the bottom of the pot put coarse gravel of size about one centimeter, pebbles or chips. It is also better to choose containers with water cistern, so that to ensure watering the plants even when you’re gone for several days.

Choosing vegetables 
You should know that not all vegetables can be grown in pots and boxes. Only some are suitable for this type of cultivation. The most suitable for this purpose are: tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, green onions and garlic, beans, all kinds of salads, radishes, parsley and, of course, the herbs.

3. Choosing seeds

В момента, в условията на едва прохождащо биоземеделие у нас, може да си закупите био семена и разсад от зеленчуковите БИОФЕРМИ, от семейните стопанства, за които сте сигурни, че зеленчуците се отглеждат на принципа на биоземеделието.

Currently, with organic farming just emerging in our country, you can buy organic seeds and seedlings from the BIO FARMS, from the family farms, for which you should make sure that vegetables are grown on the principle of organic farming.
Also, with not much effort you can prepare seedlings from seed at home. For this purpose, it is appropriate to use trays for seedlings. Fill the containers with organic soil, suitable for the production of seedlings.

Place the bio-seeds and cover them with 1 cm layer of coconut fiber so that the soil does not catch crust above.

Place the trays in a place with temperatures around 18 degrees and enough light.

Transplant the seedlings after about 6-8 weeks when they develop the first 5-6 leaves. Be careful when transferring them from vessel to vessel to avoid damaging the young roots of the seedlings.

4. Choosing soil?

Pot vegetables need good quality soil that holds moisture well and does not dry too quickly. Ordinary garden soil is not suitable. It does not drain well in pots without worms and other living creatures to loosen it, and gets compacted very quickly. For your green vegetables you should choose ready-mix that contains natural ingredients such as peat, bio-fertilizer, red Californian worm that enriches it, coconut fibers that provide good moisture preservation, dolomite etc. These are the ingredients featured in the list of permissible products for use in organic farming under the European Directive 889/2008.

Such a mixture provides much better drainage and moisture preservation.

5. Cultivation

  • Watering: 
Vegetables grown in pots require frequent watering. The aim is to maintain the soil moist but not soaked. Usually one watering every 2-3 days is sufficient. So watch out if the soil is drained and humectant enough. In hot and dry days the plants should be watered every other day, but check soil in depth.
  • Sunlight: Access to sunlight is a very important condition for the production of quality vegetables. Most vegetables grow and mature best when grown in bright sunlight. Leafy vegetables (lettuce, cabbage, rhubarb, spinach, parsley) tolerate more shade than the root crops (carrots, radishes, beets and onions). Plants that bear fruit, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, require the most sun. Make sure that your organic vegetable garden in pots have access to sunlight for at least five hours a day. Therefore, choose a place that is lit by the sun for the longest time. If necessary, and if the pots you use are not too large and heavy, you better provide their mobility, to be able to move them during the day in search of additional light.
  • Fertilizing: 
Feeding organic pot vegetables with the nutrients they need is an important part of keeping them healthy and productive. Typically, vegetables grown in pots have shorter and more compact root system than those, which grow in the yard and the field. This makes their adequate nourishment more difficult. But a liquid organic fertilizer can help to overcome this problem. Quality liquid organic fertilizer contains essential nutrients and trace elements, needed by the vegetable plants.
  • It will suffice to nurture your vegetables once every two weeks.
  • Pollination: If your balcony is at a substantial height there is risk your plants not to be pollinated by flying insects. For this purpose, when the plants bloom, take a cotton ball and gently hand-pollinate them.
  • Picking: 
Pick vegetables as soon as they have reached full ripeness. This is the time in which they are most fragrant and just waiting to be picked. Avoid picking them too early. After harvesting the crop, throw away the plant and the soil from the pot. Avoid the temptation to use the same soil for the production of two crops. Contaminated soils will pass the disease on the next harvest, unless they are properly composted. Properly composted soil can be reused.
  • Pests and diseases: Pot vegetables come under attack by the same insects and diseases, as the ones in any vegetable garden. Inspect plants for diseases and insects. Given the small number of plants, the physical removal of harmful organisms is generally sufficient. You can use various organic preparations, prepared by yourself.