Is your favourite farmer not just around the corner? Do you also sometimes wonder where the taste of our food has disappeared to? Have you ever tried a vegetable subscription at your local food producer? Or ordered regional fruit and vegetables online from the Mucca shop? Regionality and seasonality are guaranteed that way! If that’s still too complicated for you, there’s only one thing to do: plant your own vegetables! Urban gardening is the solution.
Without pesticides and long transports
In Switzerland, more and more agricultural land is being built up. Houses are becoming denser and more and more people need more and more food. So it’s not surprising that food is becoming bigger and bigger and more perfect, but tasteless, as a result of price pressure and stricter regulations. With urban gardening, on the other hand, you almost feel like a self-supporter. You can try to grow your own vegetables without any pesticides. The environment is also grateful when the long transport routes and the associated CO2 emissions are eliminated.
Urban gardening, by the way, is not a phenomenon of modern times: until the middle of the 19th century, it was not possible to transport fruit and vegetables over long distances due to insufficient transport facilities. So the urban population had no choice but to use the available green spaces for cultivation. Especially in the war and post-war periods, every bit of land was used to feed the people and to remain independent.
Too little space on the balcony? With vertical gardens, this problem is a thing of the past. There are no limits to your imagination. Pallets on the wall serve as plant beds, plastic containers stacked on top of each other make a herb pyramid, or how about planted tin cans hung on the wall? If creativity is not one of your strong points, you can also do well with decorative hanging baskets and pots planted with colourful flowers or hanging strawberries. In combination with a cosy seating area and a barbecue, the green work of art is completed.
Which plants should I buy? Basically, all plants that thrive well in close conditions are suitable for vertical gardens.
Mediterranean herbs, e.g. rosemary, sage, basil, thyme, need a lot of sun. They thrive best on the south side of the balcony. Tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers also need a lot of warmth and light. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and chard, but also hydrangeas or fuchsias, are suitable for semi-shady locations (west- and east-facing balconies). If sunshine is the exception, peppermint, woodruff, wild strawberries and decorative ferns are recommended.
And last but not least: the soil. Using the right soil is essential for plants to thrive. Here is an overview: -Vegetables and berries: perennial fruit and deciduous trees: roof terrace or tub plant soil -mediterranean herbs: herb soil -flower and hanging baskets: geranium or potting soil.
Have fun in the garden and with your own vegetables!
PS: Jakob Bürgi explains more about the importance of the soil for nature and the quality of organic vegetables at the Experience Day on his farm (click here).