Food grown in pots doesn't have to be "minimalist". A large amount of your food needs can be met if you go vertical. Start composting immediately.



I will have a 10 metre x 2 metre balcony when I get to Sweden... That's around 30 feet x 6 feet.  I have already visualised the summer garden on my balcony. Everything that naturally grows upwards (climbers) will be given maximal opportunity to do so. Somewhat shorter crops such as cherry tomatoes, kale, spinach, silverbeet, beetroot, rhubarb, herbs, zucchini, capsicum, eggplants, lilies - onion family including leeks and spring onions, carrots of various colors, and berries will be grown closest to the railings and up against the wall of the apartment on shelves of different depths. I will probably use metal garage-type shelving against the wall so I can "stack" as much food as possible vertically. 

Seriously climbing plants will likely be given space in the middle of the balcony. There is space enough (2 metres wide) on my new balcony to grow 3 rows of food. Each large square pot (approx. 50cm x 50cm) in the middle row will have 4-5 plants in each one. Each plant will have a heavy piece of cord to climb. The cords for these 4-5 plants will be tied to a central hook located over each pot, securely mounted into the balcony roof beams. The sorts of plants I want to grow to the ceiling (2-3 metres height) includes, small varieties of pumpkin and squash, cucumbers, passionfruit varieties including banana passionfruit, beans, peas, small variety watermelons, canteloupes (rock melon), gherkins, big tall varieties of tomatoes (eg: beefsteak variety), grapes, sunflowers (to attract bees and for seeds), and honeysuckle (fragrance) and maybe black-eyed Susan - simply because I like it!  I also want to grow a bay tree, a lemon tree, and a daphne bush. These can be trimmed to around 1 metre wide (squarish) to fit the balcony environment, and be encouraged to grow tall. 

I also want to have a go at growing orchids. The radiator heater in the bathroom is left on all winter and this heats the entire apartment - it's around 21+ degrees in the bathroom all winter, and obviously steamy a few times each day. I've already done some negotiating with my partner, and i'm going to try cultivating two orchid varieties (a green one and a cream one - my favourites), in the bathroom and they can slowly make their way onto the dining room table (once they're in flower) or outdoors once the temperature is over 23-25 degrees, as it is currently right now in Sweden. In three months time, Sweden will be getting its fair share of 35 degree days... so I think the orchids should do fairly well.


Image result for green orchid


It's my new Swedish balcony food garden that I want to document, and inspire other city dwellers to start doing the same, to whatever extent they find desirable. To be honest... I just wanted to make sure I secured this Blogspot address "Balcony Gardening" before anyone else did, so I can document my Swedish balcony food garden when I get there. At an estimate, I will be immigrating to Sweden in April 2018 - perfect timing to begin my first spring balcony garden in Sweden. My partner's family has a "summer house" (3rd generation "kin's domain" or "family land" on around 1/2 a hectare - equivalent to around an acre of land there). This is where his family have fruit trees (apples and plums currently) and they plant enough potatoes, cabbages and bigger long-storing plants to last the 5 people in their family for the whole year. It's more or less equivalent to the Russian "dacha" idea, but with a much larger and modernised house than what you would generally find on the Russian dacha.

This is the place where i'll be planting brassicas - cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and large sprawling plants such as big varieties of zucchini. I am also very keen to discuss with them to plant grapes (for juicing - additional vitamin C for winter), apricots (which need a harsh winter) and cherries. I'm keen to establish an Anastasia-style beehive at the summer house... back to our Viking roots... I'd love to master the art of creating mead aka mjöd . Chekov wrote "The Cherry Orchard" set in Russia, so cherries should also do well in South Sweden. I'm interested to experiment with grapefruit and other citrus at the summer house. We grow grapefruit in New Zealand to latitudes that get heavy frosts, so maybe there's a chance for grapefruit and lemons also, in Skåne.


                      


First things first... even before I get to Sweden...  My honey needs to buy a worm farm for us. All of our kitchen scraps will get munched through by the worms (tiger worms are best I hear) and they very quickly transform everything into the most amazing soil. This is the heart of my gardening efforts. As with every larger garden anywhere in the world, the compost heap is the heart of the garden. Before you start planting or digging, you first need to plan your compost heap - preferably out in the elements - sunshine and rain, and if you want to keep it nice and tidy rather than an ever-expanding and often spilling-over pile, you need to work out how to make a wood-slat system. My brother has a pair of these side by side. After 3 months, he shovels one bin out and puts it into the "spare". The good composted soil goes onto his garden and the semi-decomposed material becomes the foundation for the new pile. Good system.


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Here is the balcony i'm working with. Skåne, Sweden