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Newbie, balcony garden, how to start?

 
Xabier Errea
Posts: 2
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Hi guys,

I’m an absolute beginner in the Permaculture world. I want one permaculture design for my little balcony and another for a small yard in my hometown. Which are the recommended reads to start with?

Thanks in advance!

Xabi
 
Jim Gardener
Posts: 30
Location: Acton (north Los Angeles County), CA
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Your first step is to identify your location. Search for USDA's plant hardiness zone map to start.
 
Xabier Errea
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I'm from Barcelona Spain,which is a 10a.
Maybe you can help whith the bibliography also?
 
Jim Gardener
Posts: 30
Location: Acton (north Los Angeles County), CA
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My zone is 9a, which is similar to yours. We will have freezes to consider. I also have high winds, so take that into consideration, also. A southern facing balcony will have more sunlight than a northern facing one, whereas east and west could get extreme sunlight during the morning or evening. Input permaculture in zone 10a into your browser, and you'll find a lot of reading material. In the new forest plant list from Permies, I'd question the citrus, avocado and passion fruit, but the others look feasible.
 
Tegan Russo
Posts: 34
Location: Maritime Northwest USA, zone 8b
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I'd look for the book "Permaculture in Pots," which seems perfect for your situation. The author is from the UK so the climate is a bit different, but it should have some advice specifically for container gardening which has very different issues from gardening in the ground.
 
Kate Muller
Posts: 180
Location: New Hampshire
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You need to figure out how much full sun the spaces you want to use actually get. The amount of sun along with your climate will help you to figure out what kinds of plants you can grow throughout they year.

I used to have a large container garden. I found larger containers tend to grow better plants. They don't need to be watered as often and you can have multiple plants in each container. I had the best success with large beverage tubs. The deeper the deeper the containers the better the root development. I used the 10 to 17 gallon sized tubs. Window boxes are great for fast growing salad greens.

In the hottest part of the year I found the containers needed to be watered more than once a day. All this watering caused nutrient loss in the potting soil so I used supplemental organic fertilizer throughout the season. i would use a granular one every 2 to 3 weeks or a seaweed and fish emulsion foliar spray once a week.

I made my potting mix with equal parts compost and either peat moss or coconut coir with lime, rock phosphate, and green sand added to it. I found it much cheaper to make my own potting mix than buying it.

When filling the containers I like to leave the top 2" of the container empty so I could a layer mulch once the summer got hot. It helps keep the soil cool and reduce evaporation.

It is easy to do crop rotation and grow plants year as long as you choose plants to go with the season.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 383
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Earth boxes are great. They have a large water reservoir and it wicks up through the soil. There are other pots with reservoirs.I mostly raise strawberries in mine. In your climate, I bet a fig tree would be worthwhile.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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