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Why cultivate a micro-garden?
Growing herbs and tomatoes, what a pleasure!
© Fleur Louis
The good news is that the many benefits of gardening also apply to micro-gardens! Apart from the physical expense which will obviously be less in a small space, cultivating a small corner of greenery will do you as much good as if you had a large lot. Gardening is taking the time to relax. It is also learning patience and observation, activities that reduce stress, calm tensions and calm the mind. Cultivation also allows you to keep in touch with nature, even in an urban context. Touching the ground, sowing and then picking vegetables or spices means keeping in touch with our environment, following the rhythm of the seasons and becoming aware of the passage of time. Creating and maintaining a micro-garden is also a perfect family activity. Everyone can participate in their own measure, even the little ones, and it's a great way to empower the older ones by entrusting them with daily tasks such as watering or weeding. We all know that the best tomatoes are those that you grow yourself and that you harvest freshly picked! This is perhaps the solution to bring the taste of raw vegetables to children, or to involve them gradually in the preparation of meals. Gardening, even on a small scale, means taking an active part in safeguarding biodiversity. This helps educate children about protecting nature, cultivating without pesticides and providing pollinating insects and butterflies with new flowers to visit. This is all the more important in that in the city, bees and other insects have few plants where they can browse at ease. If you're trying to establish ecological practices at home, cultivating a small garden is a great way to recycle rinsing and cooking water for watering your balcony plants. Finally, as small as it is, a garden will bring you immense aesthetic pleasure to embellish your balcony or your windows, to hide a little unsightly vis-à-vis or to protect you from prying eyes. Successful plantings will even allow you to decorate your interior with fresh flowers or even fragrant eucalyptus.
What to plant on a small balcony?
Even strawberries are fun on a small balcony
© Fleur Louis
You can (almost) grow everything on a balcony! Provided you opt for plants and varieties that require little space, do not have disproportionate roots and have limited water needs, you can adapt almost everything to the scale of the space you have. Go for it without hesitation on the spices and edible flowers which are satisfied with a small pot and will pleasantly decorate your dishes. Think radishes, salads and spinach that grow quickly, undemanding beans and peas and strawberries and cherry tomato stalks that will delight children. As for flowers, the choice is vast: pansies, bulbs, heather, primroses, buttercups, carnations, daisies ... Choose the varieties according to the orientation of your balcony!
Some ideas to arrange a micro-garden on the balcony
© Fleur Louis
There is no shortage of ideas for creating a pocket garden in a small area!
- You can of course buy planters or pots, but do not hesitate to recycle or divert the most varied containers: plastic or metal buckets provided you pierce the bottom, old suitcases lined with plastic and clay balls or shards of pots to absorb excess water, crates, cases of wine etc. Your balcony will be more personal and more beautiful!
- Use the space above by recycling a ladder, an old bookcase or a small stepladder filled with pots. You will be able to cultivate more without occupying too much space on the ground. However, be careful to secure everything to avoid falling from your vertical garden in the wind!
- There are also columns of geotextile pockets that allow height to be exploited without encroaching on the balcony. Suspensions are also a good solution, and will also protect your cultures from possible children or overly curious cats! Pots with hooks exist in gardening stores, but nothing prevents you from diverting and hanging everyday objects (colanders, vintage pots…)
- Another solution for a versatile mini-garden, divert a cart like those often found in kitchens or bathrooms. By filling the shelves with pots or directly lining the bottom of a plastic bag, you can grow strawberries and aromatics there and even move them to enjoy maximum sunlight or, on the contrary, protect them from wind or too violent a sun.
- Do you have the possibility of recovering burlap bags or rice bags in synthetic weaving? You just need to pierce the bottom to make perfect containers! You can even grow potatoes there: bury the tubers a few centimeters deep in the ground and cover the base of the stems as the plants grow.
A micro-garden in the street!
Street micro-locations are in fashion
© Fleur Louis
And plant in the streets, have you ever thought about it? More and more cities (Paris, Lyon etc.) are implementing "greening permits" and allowing city dwellers to flower and green the city. Around the trees, in bare spaces or even along the walls in cuttings of bitumen, everyone can thus contribute to beautify their neighborhood and quench their thirst for greenery! A few bulbs, lark seeds, hollyhocks, shrubby sage or bellflowers, and that's a little more green in the city, and one more place to sit for bees and butterflies. Think also of the "seed bombs", these balls of clay, earth and seeds that can be thrown or deposited on vacant lots or by the roadsides, and which will release their seeds when the ideal conditions of temperature and humidity will be met.