Basic Tips: Ten Vegetables Urban Gardeners Can Grow With Limited Space

Cultivating vegetables on a balcony garden is exciting and fun. It is good for your health and your wallet. For those who have limited space, there are a number of do-it-yourself vertical garden solutions. Using a little ingenuity you can transform your terrace in a beautiful and productive urban garden. But what to grow? Here’s a list of ten easy to grow vegetables for beginners. Put down your beer and dig in.


1) Tomatoes

Native to South America, the tomato is a plant creeping vine and that is why we need, for most varieties, the installation of a support, such as a trellis or cage. It is rich in nutrients such as niacin, potassium and phosphorus as well as antioxidants such as lycopene, carotene and anthocyanins. They also are good sources of vitamins A, C and E. Thanks to their juicy pulp, tomatoes add a charge of taste and flavor to a variety of dishes, such as salads, pasta, and sandwiches.

After the final winter frost, choose location with good exposure to sunlight and make sure that the acidity of the soil pH is between six and seven. To increase the pH level, add lime to the soil. To decrease the pH level, add sulfur. Get yourself some good compost (or better yet make it yourself) and mix it with the soil. Dig a hole for each seed, distancing them from one by about one foot to allow room for the plants to grow. Cover the seeds with soil and press lightly. Spray your plants a couple of times a week with a spray bottle.


2) Radishes

A native to parts of China and Japan, radishes are mainly cultivated for their roots, the edible part, which can be various colors (red, white, green, purple), shapes, and sizes. Radishes are a great source of potassium, folic acid, magnesium and calcium, and are commonly used in salads, both as a condiment and as a simple seal.

The best time to plant is from April to July and to prosper require a soil with a pH of six or seven. The seeds should be planted about half an inch deep, taking care to leave enough space between them to allow a full growth of the plants. The radish is an annual plant with a very fast growing cycle.


3) Zucchini

This elongated vegetable, similar to a cucumber, made its appearance in Europe around 1800. It has a low calorie content and is rich in potassium, folic acid and manganese. Zucchini can be boiled, fried, steamed or cooked left to dry in the sun. They can be an excellent side dish, a savory stuffing, or delicious appetizer.

Zucchini should be planted from March to May, laying two or three seeds per hole. The holes will be larger or smaller depending on the variety selected. The holes for winter varieties should be slightly larger than summer varieties. Holes should be spaced from each other by at least 40 inches and filled with compost. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil about eight inches deep. If you water abundantly every day, you will see your plants germinate in a couple of weeks.


4) Beets

The beet is a biennial plant and has a fleshy root which can be boiled, eaten in salad, or alone. Betaine, one of the major nutrients in this vegetable, which gives it an intense red or purple color, is known to improve cardiovascular health.

The first thing to do is prepare the seeds by soaking them in water at room temperature for one day. Prepare the soil and plant the seeds individually, leaving some spacing between them. Water them at least once a day.


5) Carrots

Carrots originate from the temperate regions of Europe and is a biennial herbaceous species rich in vitamin A (beta-carotene, which is responsible the characteristic orange color), B, C, PP (niacin), D and E, as well as minerals, starches, antioxidants and dietary fiber. Carrots are a delicious and healthy snack. They can be steamed, baked or boiled and are a great ingredient for cakes.

Sowing can be done from January to October, according to the varieties and your location. The holes in loose soil should be about half an inch deep, one or two feet apart, and contain a couple of seeds each. The soil should always be quite moist but the amount of water required will decrease as the plants reach maturity.

We’re halfway through. Now is a good time for a beer break.


6) Spinach

Spinach, native to southwestern Asia, was introduced to Europe around 1000 C.E., although it only became increasingly important as a food during the nineteenth century. This plant will produce thick green leaves, rich in iron and calcium.

Prepare the soil for planting using the compost and bury the seeds to a couple of three quarters of an inch in depth. Nitrogen rich soil will yield tender leaves. Space plants twelve inches apart. This gives leaves room to reach full size. Water abundantly.


7) Peas

Peas, natives of the Mediterranean and Near East, is an annual herbaceous plant of the Fabaceae family and is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C.

Mix soil with compost rich in nutrients. Space the seeds of a few inches apart and plant them at a depth of one or two inches. Watering abundantly will yield thriving peas.


8) Peppers

The pepper is an annual plant in the Mediterranean climate and perennial in warm countries of South America where it originated. It is rich in vitamins and nutrients such as thiamine, folic acid, and manganese and can be eaten both cooked and raw.

Fertilize the soil with compost with the addition of Epsom salts, which will make it richer in magnesium and help the peppers to grow healthily. Since peppers grow best where it is warm, place the seeds on the surface. Water frequently, keeping the soil moist, otherwise your peppers will have a bitter taste after harvest.


9) Lettuce

Lettuce is an annual plant with more or less broad leaves, ovoid or elongated shape, and depending on the variety, has different shades of color ranging from green to yellowish to red.

In ancient Egypt it was considered an aphrodisiac. Lettuce is a good source of folic acid and vitamin A. It is used as the main ingredient in most salads. This leafy vegetable, of which there are dozens of common varieties, can also be stuffed with various ingredients.

Before cultivating, fertilize the soil with nutrients and work it by removing any stones or debris. Make sure that the seeds are planted at a depth of between three to six inches and water every morning.


10) Onions

The first traces of this vegetable date back to the Bronze Age. It is a biennial herbaceous plant with a fibrous root system. They are rich in fiber, folic acid, and vitamin C. These bulb vegetables add flavor to a wide variety of food products, such as sauces, soups, salads and much more.

The soil must be very loose and without debris in order to allow the growth of the bulb. Enrich your soil with compost prior to planting. Plant an inch deep in the soil and approximately half an inch or more apart. If planting rows, allow at least one and a half to two feet of space between plants. Keep the soil moist until seedlings come up or until plants take hold. In well-drained soil, onions need a thorough soaking of one inch of water per week for best results.

Happy Gardening! (if you can stay sober for a bit)

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