This is a design for a balcony in my flat. I was inspired by Bill Mollison in the Global gardener video series in the urban permaculture section. Although someone could argue that can be part of my zone zero design, actually it is physically outside my flat. It is an open air extension of zone zero and mostly it required a different approach in designing, as you can see if you compare the two designs.
It functions as a bridge linking my zone zero to my allotment, because I don’t have a garden.
I will use the S.A.D.I.M.E.T. approach for this design.
My balcony was an opportunity to recycle used plastic containers and pots, to use waste water from the kitchen, after filtering with the straw trap, to save more money on food, to grow more salads and herbs in winter, to use as a nursery for perennials before planting them in the allotment, to utilise an empty space, to attract insects and birds as non-instrumental value, to show our neighbors that it is possible to use a such small space (all other balconies were always empty and depressing),to complement the solar passive concept in use in my zone zero design, to maximise the food growing areas, and to relax and to have a more pleasant environment.
After the input/output analysis and a random assembly we can notice the most useful systems to place in the design were: raised bed or planter, greenhouse effect or passive solar system, nursery, mycorrhiza, and trellises to use the abundant vertical space.
Runner beans yield 2009
Peas yield 2009
Evaluation – SWOC Analysis 19/11/09
|it is close to kitchen||small space||to grow more food||size|
|daily checks||top floor||to relax||wind|
|I can plant surplus seedlings of the allotment||sometimes too windy||to receive friends||only certain kind of food to be grown|
|increase the planting space available to me||only salads,herbs and flowers worth it to grow||decorative||water when nobody home|
|catch and store sun energy for food production||watering problems when we are in holiday||educate children to grow food||carry compost to top floor|
|nice place to be||birds and insects watching|
|nice view||to use surpluses|
|recycle grey water||more recycling|
|it uses part of the kitchen waste||catch and store energy|
more space to play for children
|south facing-sun trap|
|walls releasing heat|
|children involved in maintenance|
|attract birds + insects
|diversity of yields|
|full space of the flat fully used|
|it brings nature inside the flat|
children safe when outside
|My Balcony design Evaluation 23/11/09|
|Mixed salads||06/06/09 250g.
06/07/09 250g.Runner beans 14/07/09 60g.
21/07/09 100g.Tomatoes 07/09/09 500g.Grape 15/09/09 noneKiwi 15/09/09 noneChards19/11/09 350g. Costs at 22/11/09Trellises £ 11.99
Wood for planter £ 25.10
Plant containers £ 35
Plants + seeds £ 60.10
Compost £ 18.98
Total amount £151.17
You’ll notice from the yield list of 2009 that it was good mostly for salads and chards. Next I will increase the perennials and herbs like Good King Henry, Salad brunet, Wild rocket, different kinds of Sorrel etc., to have a more stable yield with less failure. The Grape and the Kiwi plants will be in the allotment.
Balcony salad crop 2010