Like a pro: Grow vegetables on your own

Ready, steady, grow

Get some soil, some fertiliser, some gardening gloves, and a small trowel from a gardening centre, so you can start planning and sowing at the beginning of the warm season (around March). To start with, you can eat cucumber, chard, tomato, carrot or zucchini, which can be grown and eat during the warm season (from July to October). If you’re growing on a balcony you can usually buy seed packets for most vegetable varieties. It’s a good idea to plant the seeds and start them off in something like an egg box, before carefully planting the baby vegetable plants into your plant pots on the balcony or window sill.

The right place

Do make sure your plant bigs are big enough. Pots or flower boxes are suitable for a balcony. Check out for the best position for each vegetable variety. Courgettes, peppers and tomatoes may, for example, like sunny conditions. Lettuce, leeks, spinach and mangold prefer some shade. Also, make sure there’s a water drainage hole in your pots.

Time for salad

For beginners, salad is great place to start your growing career. And window sills and balconies, make picking and cutting lettuce or salads really easy. Your vegetable boxes should either be in sunny or half-shaded positions, and never too hot or in full sunlight. Salad also needs a bit of growing space. Make sure there’s about 20 cm between the seedlings and harvest your lettuce when it’s about 10 cm high.

Red, red, tomatoes

Whatever your tomato preference, cherry tomatoes or great big red ones, this is a vegetable that can easily be planted on a balcony. Here’s how you can try growing tomatoes without using seeds. Put some tomato slices including their seeds into a saucepan. Cover them with soil, keep the soil watered and place the saucepan in a sunny spot. When watering your tomato plants, make sure only the roots and soil are watered and not the tomatoes themselves.

Herbs love the sun

Fresh herbs really thrive indoors as well. Basil, chives, parsley, marjoram, oregano or lovage love growing on any window sill that gets plenty of light. Spray them each day with a mist of water and then turn them so they don’t always face the sun all the time. Mint is also becoming more and more popular but it prefers a more shady spot. You can try growing ginger yourself in a flower pot placed in a warm place. It does takes a little longer, but you’ll always have ginger.

En vogue: Vertical gardening

Growing a vertical vegetable garden is becoming increasingly popular both indoors and out. It’s obviously a space-saver and also looks neat. Flowers work well and succulents like aloe vera, lettuce, cabbage and most herbs are also good for vertical gardening. To try it yourself, use narrow planting baskets and fasten them one above the other on an outside wall or trellis. You could even use plastic bottles. Cut them in half, fill the halves with soil, then hang vertically or horizontally and plant them with the salad plants of your choice.

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