Thursday, June 9, 2011

Balcony Garden Update

 It's been a few weeks since I've highlighted the amazing growth that's been taking place on our little balcony. I've in no way inherited my parents' green thumbs (can't even count the number of plants I've killed) and we've struggled with some of the bi-polar weather this spring (frosts, cold and soaking rain, tornado warnings and high winds) but the opposite swing (over a week now of over 90° days) has really given the garden the kick start it's needed.

And in case you aren't the gardening type, you might want to skip this post. After reading over it, I'm amazed at how long-winded I can be over a 8x11 foot space.

I realize that I never got around to showing off Michael's Birthday presents. I purchased two blueberry plants because they apparently need to have another one around to facilitate cross pollination. And I purchased two types so that we would have different harvesting seasons, thus extending our fresh blueberry eating time. Now, I must admit that I never would have thought to keep blueberries in pots, but Gayla Trail in Grow Great Grub (my current container and small space gardening bible) makes it clear that container grown blueberries can do quite well. Our master plan is to transplant these babies into the ground when the time comes that we have our own yard. This particular plant is the "Patriot" blueberry, and as you can probably tell from the already blue berries, this is our early harvest plant.

This is our "Jersey" (late harvest) blueberry bush with my massive mint alongside. There are many green berries on this plant and while there are one or two blue berries, I don't expect that we will be harvesting for 2 months or so.

 Don't mind the wilty-ness, I watered just after taking the pictures. But regardless, these are my cucumber plants (top right and bottom left) which already have blossoms and tiny cukes growing. The bottom right plant is our lavender which has been growing like crazy; I've already harvested twice and am due to harvest again tomorrow before we leave. The strands of drying lavender are hanging on the same hook as my France calendar which happens to be on a Marseille theme this month. The pairing is very fitting. The herb on the top left is a new dill plant. Since the sage seemed to be over-taking the cucumbers, I opted to transplant it to its own container and put something a bit less invasive.

 Herbs clockwise from top left:
Cilantro is doing OK. It was taking over for a few weeks but unfortunately it went to seed and I didn't catch it in time. We'll see if it comes back or if I have to replace it. Since Michael has an aversion to Cilantro, having a plant means I no longer have to feel guilty about buying it in the store for only one of us to eat it. You could say I've become cilantro dependent.
Terragon is finally taking off after the addition of some worm castings (aka worm poop) to the soil.
Parsley is also starting to catch up with my demand. I have a problem with using too many herbs as soon as I get the plants, not allowing them to get really established before I start eating them.
Chives are also new to the garden. I struggled with the basil that was in this container. It didn't like the cold, wet weather that we had last month so when I finally decided to replace it I opted to move it into it's own container that could easily be taken into the house when the weather isn't perfect. The chives are still quite new but are establishing themselves nicely.

 As you can see, my upside-down tomato plant experiment has been working out quite well. The plant is huge and as of my count this morning, I have 7 tomatoes so far. Two of the three basil plants in the top have done quite well (Thai and the new Purple basil) but the Greek basil struggled with the cold weather and I haven't been able to get it to grow more than one stalk, so we'll see how that one pans out.

 The lettuce, radishes and onions are doing much better after a move to the other, cooler side of the balcony. We have been eating and thinning out the lettuce and onions for quite awhile now and I'm trying hard to keep the radishes happy and damp.

 All of the herbs seem to be loving our heat wave, including the transplanted sage (huge, right?) and the new basil which (thanks to more worm poop) has probably tripled since we bought it last weekend.

My jalapeno plant is doing well but teaching me patience. It has been flowering for quite some time so I was starting to worry that I wasn't seeing any peppers but my research this morning assured me that these plants can take 4-6 months to produce.


  1. Good luck with the potted garden. I gave that a try in Atl and failed miserably. Stuff needed watering like 3 times a day and I just couldn't keep up. Maybe it is less hot in St. Louis!

  2. Haha..."less hot". I wish that were the case but we've had a heat index of over 100 for at least a week now. Thankfully the balcony is covered so 1 watering a day has been adequate.