I'm late with my gardening tasks this year. At least that's what it seems when I look at my pre-grown mini plants. At first it frustrated me a bit. Secondly, I thought to myself that it's definitely not just me. The days are often so full of to-dos and obligations. Somehow the garden isn't part of it either. Because for me it is a place to relax and linger, to recharge and let go.
So take a step back and take the stress out. In this blog post I will deliberately give you a few tips and experiences to help you achieve exactly that.
About appointments, planting calendars and garden to-dos
Of course, the months from March to June are the months of the year when the most tasks need to be done in the garden, including on the balcony. And of course everyone who wants to have a nice time here bustles around the most in these months. You can find plenty of information about when to do what in books, media and from (garden) neighbors. To avoid being overwhelmed by the flood of information, especially at the beginning, I always recommend less instead of more. And above all, just start and try it out. It's best to start with three to five favorite plants. Please also read my last two blog posts .
The second tip: Don't be too precise about the sowing and planting dates. Two or three weeks later nothing is done in terms of cultivation. If I haven't managed to grow the seeds indoors for individual varieties, I simply plant them directly outside in the ground later. A good tool to get an overview is my sowing and planting calendar for city gardens . It provides guidance on when a variety of plants can be sown and planted indoors and outdoors, not just for the first few months of gardening, but throughout the year. I also left plenty of space in the calendar for my own notes. This creates a good reference work with your favorite varieties and experiences for the next few years. I also update the calendar every year.
Are you still pricking or are you already planting?
In the last blog post I gave a lot of information about growing young plants indoors. Before these plants are allowed into the (pot) garden, two important steps are missing: pricking out and hardening off.
Pricking sounds more complicated than it is. This simply means that as soon as the first pair of proper leaves appear (the first tomato leaves in the middle in the photo), you transfer the plant into richer vegetable or compost soil. After germination in rather lean potting soil, this gives it important new nutrients and allows it to continue growing. Not all plants need to be pricked out. Radishes, for example, are sown directly outdoors. With its delicate roots, poppies are rather squeamish when repotted. Here too, my sowing and planting calendar provides good guidance as to which plants should be preferred and which should be sown outdoors straight away.
I uploaded a short video about pricking to my Instagram profile . As aids I use a small pricking stick and of course larger plant pots with a saucer . Before I buy new garden utensils, I always first look at what I already own and can use for it. A small spoon handle and old pots from the nursery will definitely do the trick for pricking out and transplanting.
As soon as the daytime temperatures are consistently above ten degrees, it is important to harden off the small plants in the fresh air during the day. This will help you get them used to the new weather conditions such as wind, sun and temperature. I usually just open the skylight under which I grow my plants and leave it open all day. Or carry the pots to a protected place in the shade on the roof terrace. It is important to acclimate the plants to the sun slowly, otherwise they risk sunburn, which will cause them to die. A few days first in the shade, then little by little in the sun are enough and the plants are ready to be planted out.
My third tip is exactly about these steps: If you didn't have time at the beginning of the year to grow plants from seeds and prick them out, repot them, harden them off and finally plant them in the bed. No problem! Plants can be grown early and planted out later throughout the year. My sowing and planting calendar will help you here too. For example, I always prefer lettuce later in the year and then have a staggered harvest when other people have gaps in the bed. I'm also just now starting to prefer pumpkins and cucumbers because they grow quickly and can then be planted outside in a bed or in a pot in no time. And of course I always buy some of our vegetables from local nurseries as young plants so that I can plant them outside in the bed. Now I actually only prefer the vegetables, herbs and flowers that I'm particularly interested in or that taste really good. And believe me, there are still a lot of them...
Long-term fertilization and mulching save work
What I underestimated for a long time, but which saves a lot of work and time in garden care, even in a potted garden, is proactive fertilizing and mulching. That's why I'm giving you the two most important tips in this article: Give your pot or garden soil a biological long-term fertilizer before planting. This supplies your plants with nutrients exactly when the fertilizer added to most organic garden soils has been used up - usually after two to three months. This will certainly make it unnecessary to add fertilizer over the course of the season, leaving you with more time to enjoy your garden. Sheep's wool fertilizer not only provides your plants with important nutrients, it also stores water well in the soil. This is particularly important for potted plants, as the soil dries out more quickly than in garden soil. In addition, I have had great experiences with these clay cones for water-saving watering, especially of potted plants and balcony boxes.
In any case, you should also mulch the soil surface of potted plants - i.e. provide it with some kind of protective layer. This suppresses weeds and keeps the soil moist longer. You can also do this with sheep's wool fertilizer by spreading it on the surface. I also like to use grass clippings from neighbors or chopped kitchen waste such as potato peelings or even dead bushes and healthy plant clippings, which I cut into small pieces and add to the (pot) soil. Another important thing to know: You should only mulch when the plant is around 5 cm tall.
Clever fertilizing, watering and mulching will save you a lot of time when gardening and you will have more time for the hammock . Thanks to mulching, pulling weeds is now almost a thing of the past for me.
On Instagram and Facebook I invite you to accompany me in my gardening season. Feel free to link me if you sow, plant or otherwise want to support me. I am always very happy to see what emerges and grows from your Sprießerie products.
AND: Feel free to write to me if you are interested in my garden advice. Here I will accompany you personally and with individual instructions on the way to your dream garden, especially on the roof or balcony.
No matter how and where, I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a lot of fun with urban gardening and always have time to enjoy.
- Seeds for young and old