Pla de Munt and Santa Clara are examples of ecological gardens that sell their natural products to the community. But is it possible to have an organic garden at home?
According to architect and urban planner Cíntia Souza, you don’t need a huge backyard to grow vegetables and other species in your own home. In fact, even an apartment can have a vertical, suspended or even larger potted garden.
The really important thing is to know what to plant, how to make this domestic bed and how to make it productive. To clarify all these points, agroecologist Alessandra Nahra teaches how to grow their own food economically and sustainably.
In this article, you can check the expert’s tips to guide your plantation. In addition, you will learn about the best options for vegetables and how to take advantage of the space you have available at home to turn it into a vegetable garden.
Tips on how to make a vegetable garden at home
Before thinking about the species that will be cultivated, it is important to define the space of the residence that will house the ecological garden. According to the agroecologist, the chosen location should receive plenty of sunlight.
In general, the recommendation is that plants can receive the sun’s rays between 4 and 6 hours a day. They also need ventilation and a type of fertilized soil. ( 1 )
Check out other tips on how to grow your own vegetables below!
keep the vegetable garden visible
Another tip from Alessandra Nahra, who is also a professor of the “Home Gardens and Agroecological” course, is to choose a place that is visible throughout the day. Thus, you will always be reminded (a) to fertilize, water and take care of plant cultivation.
“It can be a slab in the house, a backyard, a porch or even a window sill, but it is important to be a place that you pass every day, so that you can always see the garden”, says the teacher.
Choose the ideal containers
As already mentioned, it is not necessary to have a backyard with land to have a vegetable garden and enjoy healthier food. This is because any type of container can become a flower bed, such as fair crates, buckets, Styrofoam boxes and even old drawers.
For urbanist Cíntia Souza, pet bottles , milk cans and tires are also great options for caqueiras. “Just let the creativity flow and let the garden have its personality! And the best part is, ridding the planet of more waste, as it reuses items that would otherwise go to waste.”
Find the most suitable species to plant
If you really want to make the most of your home garden, you need to consider what kinds of vegetables your family likes best. This avoids wasting the planting and the time deposited in the cultivation process.
Furthermore, it is necessary to take into account the geography of the available space. “Plants such as vegetables, spices and aromatics require at least 5 hours of direct sunlight per day. In other words, a space that receives more constant light is needed”, explains the agroecologist.
Use organic matter in soil
Another important tip for the success of the garden is the constant use of organic matter, such as pruning residues, straw and dry leaves. According to Alessandra, these elements protect the soil against moisture loss and the sun’s bactericidal action. As a result, the soil is richer in nutrients, favoring crop growth.
A simple way to have organic matter always available is to carry out the composting process. For this, it is necessary to gather all the “garbage” from the garden (crop residues, invasive herbs and pruning residues) and transform it into humus.
This process can be done using a container with several holes and a “door” near the bottom. Inside this reservoir, place all organic residues from the plantation and even from your kitchen, with the exception of fatty items.
Water, air and heat are the basic elements for composting. But it is necessary to pay attention to the process, not letting the contents dry or soak, keeping it aerated and always removing the nutrient-rich material from the bottom of the container to use in the garden. ( 2 )
“Every 20 days the land needs to be coated with organic compost, earthworm humus or bokashi”, says agroecologist Alessandra.
In addition to sunlight and fertilizer, plants also need water. In this case, it is important to water the plantation with a certain regularity, respecting the time of each cultivated species.
For example, chard needs watering every six days, while watercress needs watering daily. Meanwhile, the onion needs to have the soil always moist and the spinach is happy to receive water every three days. ( 2 )
According to Cíntia Souza, there are several mechanisms that make it possible to reuse water for irrigation. “One of the most accessible is rainwater storage”. Thus, the garden grows healthy and sustainable.
Explore or environment
Those who live in an apartment may find it difficult to cultivate an ecological garden due to the limited space. But the architect and urban planner guarantees that with planning it is possible to cultivate the most different types of plants in the apartment.
According to the professional, it is necessary to reuse the vertical spaces. For this you can use wall-mounted pallets, hanging ropes or even shelves.
What can you plant in a vegetable garden?
- Chard: excellent option to be grown all year round, needs watering every six days, can be harvested after 60 days of cultivation and is rich in vitamins A and C
- Watercress : it can also be planted at any time of the year, it needs water daily, its leaves can be harvested 40 days after planting and it is a source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron, sulfur and potassium
- Spinach : this is the most iron-rich vegetable, in addition to being a source of vitamins A, B, E and D. Harvesting takes place after 80 days, but it needs water every three
- Coriander: well known for Brazilian cuisine, coriander is easy to maintain. Watering is done every six days, harvesting is carried out 50 days after planting and the year-round season for this cultivation
- Chives: this great seasoning is ideal for those suffering from hypertension, but it is only harvested 80 days after sowing. Watering can be done every six days.
- Lettuce: any time of year is favorable for the development of lettuce. Rich in vitamins E, B and C, this vegetable needs daily watering and can be harvested after 45 days
- Arugula : all year round it is time for arugula, which has vitamins A and C, in addition to sulfur, potassium and iron in its composition. The cultivation is not laborious, as the vegetable needs watering every six days and the harvest can be done 40 days after sowing.
- Tomato : it can also be cultivated all year round, but the harvest is only carried out after 90 days. Watering is necessary every three days and the fruit is a source of vitamins A, C and E
- Strawberry : 80 days after planting, strawberry harvesting can be done. Rich in vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium, this fruit needs watering every three days and the most favorable months for strawberries are April and May
- Rosemary: 40 days is the time needed to harvest the first leaves of rosemary, a very suitable herb for those who suffer from digestion problems. Watering in this case can be done every six days
- Bilberry: another herb that is beneficial to the body, but it takes 90 days to be harvested. Requires water every three days and has healing properties for liver problems
- Chamomile : April and May are the best months for chamomile, but it is harvested 120 days after sowing. Watering is not necessary on a daily basis, but the soil must always be moist
- Mint : it also needs a moist soil to develop, it can be harvested after 90 days and is the protagonist of a tea to relieve colic
- Basil: 100 days after sowing is the time required for the first harvest of basil, which in addition to being a classic seasoning also serves as a mild tranquilizer. Keeping the soil moist is enough for this plant to grow.
- Oregano: Known for accompanying pizzas, oregano is also a digestive aid. To cultivate it in the home garden, it is necessary to keep the soil moist and wait 90 days for the harvest. ( 2 )
Ecological garden concept
The ecological garden is similar to organic farming, but on a smaller scale. It is “a production system that does not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators or synthetic feed additives.” ( 3 )
Therefore, it is a form of cultivation that prioritizes a sustainable and economic system. It can be done at home, apartments, at school and even in urban areas, with a community proposal.
As seen, it is easy to do and put it into practice. In addition, it is a way to make better use of living spaces, cultivate their own food in a healthier way and can also help to preserve the environment, reusing materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as pet bottles .
“Now all you have to do is get your hands dirty and have fun making your garden. Thus, you will have healthier food, a happier, fresher and beautiful house, as plants at home only bring benefits”, concludes architect and urban planner Cíntia Souza.