This year I'm particularly excited for spring. Do you feel the same? My head and heart long for color, for sun on my skin. I finally want to see something grow again. It's a good thing that February is short and my weather forecast currently predicts an early start to spring. So we can really start planning the garden and, above all, preparing the first sowings.
In this blog post I summarize all the important information in a simple and understandable way even for beginners. In fact, all you need is a few basics and the magic of growing your own small plants can begin.
Grow your own plants - yes or no?
Sure, you say. Then I particularly recommend one thing to you: think about which plants you want to grow. Start with a few favorite vegetables or flowers and try it out. Because despite all the anticipation for the gardening season: Many of the plants that you sow now will be in your apartment until mid-May and need to be looked after. Only after the Ice Saints are they planted outside. The Ice Saints are from May 11th to 15th. They are called that because it can get unusually cold around this time. Polar air masses can penetrate from Arctic latitudes to the Alps . If the young plants were planted outside beforehand, late night frosts could cause them to freeze. This is another reason why you shouldn't start growing too early.
In addition, it is only from the end of February to the beginning of March that the sunlight is strong enough to grow strong, compact plants from your seeds on the warm, bright windowsill. Most gardeners who are already starting to grow plants use artificial light.
Which seeds and which varieties for small (balcony or roof) gardens?
If you read my last blog post and used the garden planning checklist, then you probably already have the list of plant wishes ready. Grab them right now and cross your five! favorites. In my shop you are sure to find the right seeds for many of your wishes. You can also get inspiration from my sowing and planting calendar . I consciously chose seed-resistant varieties and almost 100% organically grown seeds. Seed proof means that you can get your own seeds from your plant and do something to preserve your favorite varieties. I have also selected particularly easy-to-grow and fast-growing vegetables and flowers for children in great discovery sets etc.
Since I garden in a small space in the roof garden, all vegetables and flowers are also suitable for growing on the balcony or (roof) terrace. Many old varieties are included, edible flowers , robust beginner-friendly nasturtiums . Varieties that thrive in partial shade or full sun. The conditions on the roof are often more extreme than on the ground. The sun shines brightly on the plants here. There is hardly any natural shade from other plants. The wind dries out the earth faster than on the ground.
About the location - What grows in sun or shade?
It is therefore always important to consider which plants are suitable for your location before selecting seeds. For vegetables and the majority of cut flowers, at least partial shade, i.e. five to six hours of sunshine a day, is important. A location in full sun is when there are more than six hours of sunshine a day. Which plants grow best there is indicated on each seed bag. To simplify it, I note that all Mediterranean vegetables , plants and herbs thrive particularly well in the sun. In contrast, it will be difficult to grow vegetables on a north-facing balcony - i.e. less than five hours of sunshine a day.
My favorite varieties for the roof or balcony garden
On my roof terrace I have a sunny and a partially shaded area. This means I can easily try out which herbs and vegetables grow well where, even in pots. I was particularly excited about the following plants and varieties last season:
In partial shade
- Nasturtiums in different colors or classic in a set , probably the easiest and most fascinating climbing plant, all parts are edible
- Pick salad salad bowl , perfect in a small space, uncomplicated, fresh salad from the balcony is a must
- Icicle radishes thrive in partial shade almost all year round
- Yellow chard Sunset , old variety, absolutely suitable for beginners, long harvest time
- Elegance Lavender sweet peas bloom beautifully and prolifically if you cut them regularly
- Spinach Matador , wonderful even very early in the year
- Sunflower , grows beautifully even in partial shade and is a real eye-catcher for people big and small on the balcony
In the sun
- The Amsden peach tree loves a protected location, preferably against a wall, and remains small and compact in the pot when cut regularly
- Bush tomato Outdoor Girl , small sweet cocktail tomato with long panicles, grows outdoors, great for children to snack on
- Spanish artichoke, bright purple flowers, beautiful leaf structure, is good for bouquets, even dried
- Chili Hungarian Hot Wax brings color to the balcony, is robust and mildly spicy - the perfect starter chili for kids too
- the Spanish tapas classic Pimientos de Padrón
- Double Cornflower Classic Fantastic, blooms for a long time with regular bursting of flowers, magical edible flowers
- Wild carrot Dara , blooms delicately dark red white, all parts of the original form of the carrot are edible, self-seeds wonderfully
- Cosmos Cupcake Blush and Velouette are also wonderfully suitable as medium-high privacy screens with magically light flowers
Growing at home - what do you really need?
Do you have all the seeds together? Then you should think about the equipment. Here, too, I always recommend first looking at what you already own. You may still have old small plastic pots that would otherwise have ended up in the trash. Maybe you would like to build your own nursery pots out of old toilet paper rolls. You can find countless instructions on how to do this on the internet. However, my experience with the latter is that they quickly become moldy. Others swear by it. It's best to just try it out.
In my shop you will find growing trays in different sizes, small colored pots and matching coasters made of natural rubber or terracotta . Propagation trays are particularly suitable for sowing several plants in one place. There is exactly one seed in each compartment. If you only want to sow a few plants, it is better to use the pots. This saves you the trouble of transplanting or pricking out later. You can find more information about this in this blog post .
By the way, natural rubber is a real climate friend as a material for garden utensils. It is durable and does not leave behind any microplastics after use, but rather decomposes on its own in the compost over time.
The right soil for growing can also fill entire books. I therefore recommend a peat-free organic potting soil to start with. If it has a little sand added to it, all the better. The only important thing is that the soil is poor and therefore has few nutrients. Seeds require little to germinate and grow. Basically just regular water, airy, poor soil and enough light.
Speaking of water. For watering seeds and young plants, I recommend a ball shower and later a handy little watering can . When growing it is important that the soil does not dry out. Because that interrupts the germination or growth process. Seeds need water to germinate. After all, they are naturally dry. In order not to drown the mini plants and to avoid mold, please only water every two to three days. Ball showers are perfect for this with their delicate water jets. You can easily water large cultivation trays in one go.
If you like, you can soak the seeds in chamomile tea before sowing. This is intended to support germination and later better protect the plant from fungal diseases. If possible, soak seeds with hard shells such as sweet peas, beans, peas or pumpkin in water one night before sowing. This softens the shell and helps the seedling break through it more easily. If you are unsure here, use the comment function under the post and feel free to ask.
To summarize again for all beginners:
A cultivation set for the balcony consists of seeds , organic cultivation soil, cultivation tray or small plant pots , saucers , plant signs, small ball shower and watering can . As a growing set for large roof terraces or city gardens, I recommend: large growing bowl , organic growing soil, plant pots , saucers , plant signs, large ball shower , watering can and seeds .
Best time - When do I start which seeds?
As already written, there is not enough sunlight at the beginning of February to grow strong plants. I haven't used artificial light myself yet, partly for reasons of space. For me, the plants are under a bright skylight and on a south-facing window sill from the end of February and beginning of March. This has worked wonderfully so far.
First I sow the plants that take a long time to grow. These are, for example, peppers , eggplant , physalis or chili . You can find the best sowing times on the seed packaging. I mark and label each sowing with a small wooden stick. You don't have to buy anything here either. For example, I collect wooden ice cream spatulas, old shish kebab skewers or disposable wooden cutlery.
Temperature is also important for the germination process. Many seeds require moisture and a germination temperature of around 20, some even up to 25 degrees Celsius. I help myself here by covering the seed tray or pot with small glass lids or foil. I don't buy the latter new, but instead use leftover packaging, for example, which I'm sure will continue to appear in each of our homes. I ventilate them regularly until they germinate to prevent mold from forming.
As soon as the small plants with their cotyledons, as the first pair of leaves are called, appear, I remove the lid. This is important to lower the temperature slightly. Because from now on your mini plant shouldn't be too warm. Feel free to move the pot again. 15 to 20 degrees Celsius and a bright location are optimal for compact, strong growth.
The first little plants are here - what now?
I can't say it often enough, the joy when the first seed germinates is always great. A small miracle, without exaggeration. I am as happy as a child every time and am fascinated by what our nature creates. Just for that moment, when the first green cotyledon peeks out of the ground, it's worth giving it a try.
Of course, you will find out what happens to the mini plants in the next blog post .
For today I hope that this introduction helps you and that you can grow your own vegetables and flowers this year - perhaps for the first time.
Feel free to follow me in my own cultivation on Instagram and Facebook . And: Feel free to link me if you sow the first seeds yourself or would like to support me. I am always so happy to see what emerges and grows from Sprießerie products.
No matter how and where, I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a lot of fun choosing your seeds and say HAPPY sowing.
- Seeds for young and old