“Just” a balcony? Because of "only"!
The balcony is generally regarded as a minimalist substitute garden - and accordingly also has a somewhat ungrateful compromise character. It certainly does not offer as many possibilities as a large garden, both in terms of relaxation and in terms of horticultural design. Nevertheless, it also has some advantages, also from a horticultural point of view, which you may not be aware of so quickly:
- The balcony is of a manageable size - that means less potential for chaos!
- With side walls, it can offer a protected microclimate
- Much stone as a frame material serves as a heat store
- It can be accessed quickly and directly from the house - no long distances to the crop!
- Plant hanging tomatoes even in the smallest of spaces
- The best time to plant herb beds
- Vertical garden on the balcony
So if you only have a balcony or terrace available as outdoor living space, you do not need to forego the cultivation of kitchen-enhancing delicacies - herbs in particular are even ideal for cultivation on the balcony and terrace - for the reasons mentioned! Because many of them do not need a lot of space and a lot of warmth - you are certainly more willing to harvest them for cooking every day if you are only a stone's throw away from them ...
Grow herbs on balconies and patios
Creating a bed is of course not really possible on a balcony - above all there is usually a lack of space and, of course, soil. If you still want to create a bed of different herbs together, the following clever alternatives are available:
- Mini raised bed
- Group of beds made of wooden boxes
Mini raised bed
If you build a mini raised bed yourself, you can optimally adapt it in size and shape to your balcony architecture. In addition, you have all your favorite herbs in one place, which can be reached for care and harvest without bending down. You can also provide them with a deep substrate. In this respect, a balcony raised bed is particularly suitable for herbs that require nutrients such as chives and wild garlic, lovage, basil or mint.
Another idea is to put together a “bed group” from several wooden boxes. You can group them all close together to form an optically large bed or arrange them individually. The advantage here is that you can cultivate herbs with different location and substrate requirements separately from one another. For example, you can plant a mini box bed with local herbs such as parsley, chervil or chamomile and one with Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, rosemary or oregano.
When it comes to the location, the options for variation on the balcony and terrace are of course limited - above all, you depend on the orientation of your mini garden. Of course, the best option is a southern orientation. Because most herbs need a lot of sun to thrive.
The relatively small micro-room, mostly surrounded by stone material, also has a positive effect on a balcony or terrace facing south - Mediterranean herbs in particular offer ideal conditions with plenty of warmth and protection from the weather.
If your balcony faces northwards, growing southern herbs is of course rather difficult. On the other hand, you can also grow varieties that are less sun-drenched with wonderful aromas and a wide range of uses: These include typical forest herbs such as wild garlic, woodruff or mint.
Refined and decorative alternatives to beds
Instead of working with a functional herb bed, you can of course work differently - and get a lot of decorative value out of your herb culture. In general, the alternative is planting in pots - but there are many different options:
- Window boxes
- Individual flower pots
- Combi pots
They are the somewhat more profane and inexpensive variant. They are easy to fix on the balcony railing, lie at a stoop-free height and thus function as small raised beds, but with less substrate volume. The disadvantage is that you are practically fixed on one location - so the choice of herbs has to be largely adapted to the conditions there. In addition, balcony boxes (€ 106.25 on Amazon *) are of course only of moderate aesthetic value.
Individual flower pots
On the other hand, you can get something more decorative out of a herb culture in several flower pots - especially if you use classic pots made of terracotta, perhaps in different sizes and designs. A varied placement with pots on the balcony wall, others on the floor and others on the balcony table can loosen up the little herb oasis even more. From a practical, harvest-oriented point of view, such arrangements naturally give you full freedom in choosing a location.
What is also very pretty and compact at the same time are combination pots. With its large main pot and attached side troughs, you can cultivate different herbs in one place and still offer them different substrates - the large main pot with its pot volume is ideal for varieties that require humus, while the typical Mediterranean herbs can nestle in the side troughs.