A growing phenomenon: why not you?
Have you ever thought about how great it would be to pick up fruit and vegetables directly from your own garden, or even from your balcony, without the need to go to the supermarket?
Having your own domestic garden is priceless and the current trend in Italy and in the rest of the world, shows this.
According to the Italian Farmers’ Confederation (CIA), a growing number of Italians cultivate vegetables (such as tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce), herbs and spices on their balcony; in particular last year the percentage has increased of 9%, from 4.5 million to 4.9, so 8% of the Italian population.
This practice allows to save more than 10% over the monthly grocery shopping and it guarantees the origin of the products.
Creating a domestic garden is not only a great advantage, but also a way to get easily the most common products, without being constantly dependent from the supermarket. And above all, it represents a true joy and a great satisfaction in producing by yourself something that can be later eaten. A further advantage is represented, of course, by the quality of the products. Indeed, this way allows to eat fruit and vegetables, which are organic and sustainable and of course natural and genuine because they are produced by ourselves.
How to create it?
There are lots of way to create your own home garden, accessible to everyone: beginners, enthusiastic, experts or lazy people (see the links below for the ways to create it).
If you already have a garden, then it is very simple to use part of the land to cultivate some seasonal vegetables. In spring, for example, it is possible to seed tomatoes, lettuce, peas, beans, aubergines, zucchini and, for those who live in warmer countries, even melons and watermelons.
It’ s not necessary to have a large space. It is sufficient a small portion of land where to plant your vegetables, water them and to protect them from the weather conditions. You will be susrprised by the great quantity of products the land can offer you!
In autumn, on the other hand, one can choose to grow potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and other seasonal vegetables which cannot lack on your table.
Your home garden on the balcony
For those who don’ t have a piece of land or a garden, can create their own garden on the balcony as well, using proper vases and plant racks. Or, another way to be even more sustainable is to use wooden boxes and to fill them with soil.
Create a small garden is really easy and it doesn’t require great and specific knowledge. With just some commitment and care it is possible to reach optimal results.
I can testify it myself, that even without a green finger, to cultivate vegetables and plants on your balcony is really easy and exciting. The following picture shows this.
Only two weeks ago I have planted some seeds in a vase. I have poured water every evening and now I can already see the results: in some days I will be able to pick up my fresh salad and taste it! And this is for the whole season!
The plants which cannot lack for sure, on our balcony and which are the easiest to cultivate, are the aromatic plants: sage, rosemary, basel, pepper, mint, thyme, marjorame and many others.
Apart from being necessary to cook tasty plates, they make your balcony more beautiful.
And for those who live in Mediterranean countries, you can easily choose to grow a lemon tree! Here many romans are having one, it’s a nice decorative items and it’s perfect to always have fresh lemons (without forgetting the opportunity to make your own limoncello – find here the recipe ;).
Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) which can be defined as “the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities”is more and more popular. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 800 millions of persons practice it.
Another interesting data regards the productivity of UPA: garden plots can be up to 15 times more productive than rural holdings. An area of just one square meter can provide 20 kg of food a year .
Moreover, many cities in Italy and in the world promote the urban redevelopment of some areas transformed in community garden where citizens are able to make grow their own food. We’ll do soon an article on this issue!
Our selection of links to start your own vegetable garden and know more about urban agriculture:
- In the Better Home and garden website, all the tips for Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden
- Everything to grow your vegetable garden on your balcony in the ByzantineFlowers website
- The Rareseed website, where you can buy rare and old seed, all non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented and find informations about seeds
- The Urban agriculture FAO webpage
 Source: Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori, http://www.cia.it/svl/documentiRead?doc_id=35018&tpl_id=7