Balcony Garden 2010

IMG_1110Last year, I attempted to cultivate a garden using pots and buckets, as we live in a second-story apartment and have no literal ground space to call our own. Nonetheless, I was excited to discover just how green my thumb might be. I reaped some herbs, namely basil, sage, and mint; beautiful blue morning glories, and a handful of the smallest beefsteak tomatoes you’ve ever seen: they were literally the size of marbles with maybe a ping pong ball-sized one in the mix. When the weather turned frosty, I brought my beloved plant babies inside…where they promptly died. Perhaps our apartment does not get enough light (putting the plants by the window resulted in spilled dirt on the carpet and frosty leaves from being by the cold window), perhaps these plants don’t like my apartment, or perhaps it was just their time to go. Either way, I had to start anew this year.

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As soon as April hit, I got all excited and went to buy pots and dirt and seeds. Most people told me to wait until slightly warmer weather (i.e. May) and the stores weren’t exactly carrying a plentitude of seeds. Regardless, I forged ahead, found what I wanted, and planted my starter seeds. The baby tomato plants did pretty well until I put them outside. Then they died almost immediately. The morning glories never saw daylight. And my awesome herb tower mostly produced weeds (until I discovered what they were and mercilessly uprooted them). So, after weeks of patience, I headed back to the stores which now had a nice variety of plantlings, which I happily purchased (along with some some potting soil to replace the topsoil I was using…apparently there’s a difference between them…I though dirt was just, well, dirt).

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All of that to say that I now proudly have cherry tomatoes that are both the right size AND color, some beefsteak tomatoes that are still growing, plentiful parsley, basil, cilantro, and mint (the rosemary didn’t make it), and a baby bell pepper that I’m determined not to pick until it turns red! I also have two or three other bell pepper plants that have not produced much more than a wilted blossom, probably due to the itty bitty living space I gave them. Either way, they have pretty leaves with which they adorn the balcony. I also bought a bowl of “living lettuce” which provided us with several tasty salads of spinach and other leafy lettuces, but unfortunately this bowl did not keep producing, so I ripped out the unfruitful roots, tilled the soil a bit, and replanted some more seeds. Currently I have some sprouts, but I’m waiting to get excited until I know if they are weeds or lettuce leaves. In addition to the veggies, a few marigolds/mums (I can’t remember which seeds I planted) and some other flowers have shown up, adding a nice splash of color to the greens.

I can’t wait until my greens and reds are ripe for the pickin’, as evidenced by the cherry tomato that I accidently plucked during my overzealous exploration of these plants. I’m hoping it will finish ripening on the kitchen counter. I’ll hopefully post more pictures as the garden grows!

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