The art of gardening is certainly a practice that requires perseverance and commitment, but it can be done without necessarily being professional gardeners and leads those who dedicate themselves to it to receive a lot of satisfaction. Dedicating yourself to the garden during your free moments is often a way to find calm and concentration, as well as an occasion, increasingly rare compared to current lifestyles, to spend time outdoors. According to some studies it would even help to extend life, allowing among other things to marvelously activate our senses.
You don't always have real gardens available, but even a simple terrace and even a small balcony can certainly turn into a green, flowery place and become a privileged space in the house.
The choice of plants is undoubtedly linked to personal taste, the climate and the exposure of our outdoor space, as well as the time that, objectively, we think we can dedicate to it.
More and more often, even in the city, people choose to transform their gardens or balconies not only into a flowered place, but also into small vegetable gardens. The two things can indeed coexist and give greater versatility and beauty to our outdoor space, using among other things simple and common recycled objects.
Let's see what are the first steps to begin with respect to the choice of exposure, pots, soil and varieties that are easier to plant and cultivate.
What do we need
To begin with, we definitely need a little goodwill and some simple tools.
We should make sure we can enjoy good light exposure (at least 4-6 hours a day), although we can easily inquire from plant and seed dealers which varieties hold up well even with less sunshine.
The terracotta pots undoubtedly offer the best characteristics for transpiration capacity and freshness of the soil, however, especially with regard to vegetables and flowers in bulbs, the classic wooden boxes for fruit offer an excellent and economical solution, just line them with a plastic sheet on which to drill small holes. In terms of recycling, we can then give ample vent to our imagination: the seeds can be planted in plastic vegetable boxes, in egg cartons, in yoghurt pots and in glass jars. We could even create a small greenhouse with trolleys used to store fruit and vegetables in the kitchen. Just line the respective baskets with plastic, add soil and seeds and place a plastic sheet that creates the greenhouse effect necessary to protect the plants from the cold of winter.
As for the land, if we decide to plant vegetables, we should prepare the pots with clay and gravel on the bottom. Always if we decide to plant vegetables, we will add 10% of sand to the universal gardening soil, preferably coarse-grained, otherwise the soil will be sufficient in itself.
Useful tools for gardening, are also scissors, gloves, watering can, vaporizer, threads and straws to create the supports.
Watering and fertilization
As far as watering is concerned, the soil must always remain moist, while avoiding watering too much. It is preferable to water with water at room temperature and away from the hours of sunshine.
Fertilize yes, but not too much: excessive fertilization burns the roots of plants. If together with ornamental plants and flowers we have decided to dedicate ourselves to the vegetable garden, then the fertilizers to be preferred will be organic ones. In fact, it would not make much sense to decide to personally grow fruit and vegetables only to end up eating a product identical to that purchased at the supermarket. Among the natural fertilizers on the market, earthworm humus is among the best. It should be inserted directly when putting the soil in the pots. Among organic fertilizers, organic fertilizer is also perfect.
These fertilizers gradually release nutrients, allowing plants to strengthen their roots and the soil to develop microflora. The most appropriate time for fertilization is when the flowers are born. If it is liquid fertilizers, these must be administered about every 15 days during watering, while solid ones must be buried at the time of transplanting.
DIY Gardening: How I Protect My Plants
Our plants, even if they are subject to loving and constant care, can get sick. To avoid the presence of parasites, it is useful to plant garlic, onion, basil, rosemary and other aromatic plants that have the effect of warding off parasites. If you have the opportunity, you can plant a hedge: in fact, in addition to being a useful windbreak (thus sheltering from the presence of parasites and smog) it is also the ideal habitat for ladybugs and other small animals that keep away parasites.
Other agents that could make our plants sick are cold and heat. To shelter the plants from the cold, we could use small greenhouses (also do it yourself, as illustrated above), or cover the plants with plastic sheets on which we would have drilled holes to avoid condensation, we can move some plants around the house or cover them with cardboard boxes and newspaper.
To repair our plants from excessive heat, it will be necessary to create adequate shaded areas.