Vegetable garden in the terrace
The motivations that can push you to create a vegetable garden in a small terrace are many: satisfaction, desire to eat wholesome food, happy degrowth movements and self-production: in short, whatever your motivation, you have to start from the assumption that creating a garden in a small space it's not at all difficult. Just have passion, desire to experiment and perseverance.
Needless to try to grow an oak on a terrace. The first rule is to realistically take into account the space available and its exposure: a small balcony will not have the same possibilities as a large terrace; vice versa if the terrace has a bad exposure, you will have greater difficulties. So first of all carefully evaluate the possibilities you have: the size of the pots, how much sun your plants will take and in what time they will take it. The next step is planning: not having much space available, you will have to try to better organize your plants, to get the best results. Try to exploit the technique of consociations which consists in placing different plants inside the same vase. With a little practice you will be able not only to maximize your space, but also to create more favorable situations for your plants. An example? Try arranging some aromatics at the base of tomato plants: the soil will be more moist, favoring the development of the tomato itself.The advice however is to start with simple plants, perhaps with aromatic herbs: this is because in the meantime you will better understand the climatic and exposure characteristics of your terrace, being able to make the most of it; secondly because the satisfaction of seeing a plant grow and being able to use it in your kitchen will gratify you and give you the right motivation even for the most difficult companies.The choice of plants and containers
After carefully evaluating the climatic and space characteristics, it is possible to choose the plants to grow. Choose them according to the season you are in, perhaps starting with seedlings already formed: wait until you have some practice for sowing (also because a seedbed is generally used, simpler and more effective).
If you have a fairly large vase (with a diameter of about 28 cm) or balconies, try the tomatoes: they are simple to make, versatile in the kitchen and the plant keeps the mosquitoes away! However, opt for varieties with smaller fruits, so that the plant does not suffer the probable lack of soil.
Pay attention to the depth of the containers: this variable influences the cultivation possibilities. Shallow vases are suitable for small plants whose leaves are used: for example salads or aromatic herbs. The greater the depth, the higher the chances of your plant reaching the fruiting stage; so be careful if you decide to grow courgettes, aubergines, but also tomatoes: the depth of the soil in these cases must be at least 40 cm. A similar argument can be made for cruciferous plants (such as cabbages), to which, however, greater attention must be paid to exposure, since these will be grown in winter.
Prepare all the pots and containers by placing a layer of expanded clay or small stones on the bottom to facilitate drainage of the soil. Remember that vegetables prefer easily draining substrates, which do not allow stagnant water: to improve the soil mix together sand, in order to make it less compact; the latter will be placed in a proportion that is around 10% of the total.
For the same reason, remember that the waterings must be frequent, but never too abundant, to avoid dangerous stagnant water and consequent root rot. It is advisable to water in the evening and directly on the ground, sporadically to rain on the foliage plant.
Regarding the fertilization and the possible care of the plants from pathologies and parasites, it depends on the type of cultivation philosophy that you want to adopt: the advice is to get as close as possible to the biological cultivation, favoring natural fertilizers (excellent, for example, the earthworm topsoil to be planted at the moment of the transfer of the seedling) and renouncing pesticides and chemical fertilizers; the latter, in fact, can also be very harmful to the final consumer if not used scrupulously following the indicated dosages. Whatever method of fertilization and care chosen, it is important to wait at least 15 days before harvesting to avoid consuming products that are still too rich in the substances used for this purpose.
Finally, remember to plant the plants during the evening hours, when the vegetative activity is reduced to a minimum, to avoid excessive trauma to the plants themselves. It is advisable to avoid direct sowing in the pots: it is preferable, as regards the success of a vegetable garden on the terrace, to create a small seedbed inside your apartment, starting with the sprouting activity already around February; subsequently it will be possible to proceed with the planting, when the plants will already be formed or around the middle of April and in any case taking into consideration the seasonal variability.