If the space on the terrace or balcony is limited, flower boxes offer a space-saving solution. There you can plant not only flowers and ornamental grasses, but also useful plants. We will explain how to create an arrangement of vegetables and herbs, which will also be visually in no way inferior to arrangements of ornamental plants.
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Flower box with vegetables and herbs: A kitchen garden on the balcony
A garden of herbs on the windowsill is the absolute dream of every amateur gardener. So you always have fresh herbs within reach when you need them for cooking. But in a planter box, there’s plenty of room for vegetables, too, such as tomatoes or kale. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a kitchen garden on a small scale:
1. choose a suitable flower box. Wooden flower boxes are best, as they do not heat up too much from the sun. Furthermore, it is important that the planter box is at least 50 cm high so that the plants can take root.
2. think about what crops you really want to plant in your balcony garden. Most herbs and vegetables prefer full sun. So the optimal location is in the sun for at least 6 hours. However, there are exceptions that thrive well even in partial shade or light shade. It is very important that the air can circulate well. Therefore, balconies without wind, sight and rain protection are suitable.
- Vegetables and herbs for sunny locations: lettuces, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, leeks and celery, lavender, oregano, sage, dill.
- Vegetables and herbs for semi-shady locations: spinach, radishes, chard, peas, cauliflower, parsley, chervil, basil.
3. combine crops that have similar soil requirements. If you want to combine vegetables and herbs that have different soil requirements, then you can put them individually in planting bags and then arrange them next to each other in the flower box.
4.For a successful arrangement, you need three types of plants, similar to ornamental plants: An eye-catcher, a ground cover that extends beyond the box rank, and a gap filler.
5. Garden centers sell special small-growing varieties that are suitable for planting in window boxes. They have a much shorter flowering period and compact growth.
6. seedlings or seeds? Now the question arises for most beginners: what is better to buy seedlings or seeds? This depends mainly on when you want to plant the balcony box. Very often, seed mixtures are also sold. All these varieties have one thing in common: you need to grow the seeds yourself no later than mid-April, and then bring them outdoors after the icemen. You can also buy young plants at the garden center and then repot them at home.
Flower box with vegetables and herbs: planting plan
In the first small-scale garden, basil plays the main role. The variety “Pesto Perpetuo” is a real eye-catcher and deserves its place in the center of the planter box. The plant has a compact growth, but grows to a height of about 50-60 cm. This variety does not form flowers, but instead you will enjoy the edible leaves all summer long.
Right next to the basil, you can also plant hanging tomatoes. The variety “Tumbling Tom” will stick out over the edge of the window box. Hanging tomatoes are high-yielding and form sweet cherry tomatoes. By the way, this variety is also suitable for planting in planting bags.
Then come several useful plants that not only taste delicious, but also make a visual impact and bring color to the arrangement. Such are, for example, the purple sage, blood amphibian and ornamental cabbage. All three score with compact growth and are edible. Perfect for preparing salads or seasoning summer dishes.
Furthermore, you can fill in gaps with the following useful plants: Mint, thyme and oregano are creeping plants – perfect for the edge of the box, while rosemary can grow between the tomatoes and basil.
Planting plan for window box with herbs
Next, we offer you an idea of how to create a garden of herbs in the flower box. Here are the herbs, spices and useful plants that will compose the ensemble:
D. Lemon thyme
E. Horned violet
All these cultivated plants thrive best in sunny locations. Therefore, a windowsill, balcony or terrace with a southern exposure, which are in the sun for at least 6 hours a day, prove to be optimal. Otherwise, the plants have no special requirements. They prefer soil rich in nutrients. You should lay a drainage layer of sand or clay at the bottom to prevent waterlogging. The herbs thrive best in a moderately moist soil.