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Do you dream of a vegetable patch but live in the city? Today, this is no longer a problem because thanks to a few tips, terraces, balconies and even roofs are transformed into places of culture. Author of Growing vegetables above ground , Yohan Hubert reveals all his secrets for practicing above-ground cultivation in every corner of the city.
Tell us about your background
From an early age, I evolved in a social environment strongly marked by the will to contribute to transmit sustainable ecological practices. By studying agriculture and then biology, I developed practical knowledge of the different soilless cultivation techniques. For the past fifteen years, I have focused my attention on plant cultivation processes that can meet the increasingly pressing challenges of food security and revegetation of the cities we face. Today I put this experience at the service of the general public through the association of soilless culture (www.culture-hors-sol.org) which deploys many initiatives in the direction of the promotion of food production practices responsible and looking for solutions adapted to a professional practice, in particular through the Paris project under strawberries.
What is above-ground cultivation?
The term above-ground cultivation includes all the means used to ensure the development of a plant outside the open ground; it includes in particular the cultivation of potted plants. Quite diverse techniques are actually associated with this designation. While some of them are open to criticism, like the "Spanish greenhouses" or the Dutch horticultural industry, others are inspired by the natural plant cycle. These are capable of providing solutions adapted to unfavorable environments such as sterile soils, lacking water or naturally available resources. In addition, they ensure quality production with good yields. Today we distinguish organic above-ground cultivation from traditional above-ground cultivation.
Are soilless culture and ecology compatible?
When it is considered with the use of organic fertilizers, without pesticides and without herbicides, it brings real solutions for the future in local food production. By extension, it adheres to an ethics which highlights the reduction of the environmental impact of a culture at all stages of its development. Unlike its big sister employed in the agro-industry, it can be practiced on an individual scale, requires less maintenance and provides plants with greater resistance to external aggressions.
Can everyone create their own balcony, terrace or roof, an above-ground vegetable patch?
The different techniques allow many varieties to be cultivated while saving precious space in small spaces. Thus, it is always possible to find a solution to grow in the most unusual places. Above-ground cultivation ensures the gardener the pleasure of having fresh, quality products close at hand, almost all year round. The book has been designed as a practical guide allowing everyone, whatever their initial level of knowledge, to compose their selection of aromatic plants, edible flowers and vegetables, without painfully carrying bags of soil to fill heavy pots and bulky.
What advice can you give to beginners?
The success of your above-ground garden will depend on the precise definition of your project and respect for the constraints linked to your growing environment. Then it will be a question of selecting in the work the most appropriate technique for your project and rigorously applying the proposed recipe!