I pondered growing "stuff" on my balcony for ages, but I really never did anything about it as I'm a pretty lazy person. Why grow stuff when I have episodes of Mad Men + Game of Thrones to watch and blogs to write?
Then I happened about the gardening blog, Saucy Onion, and was given a copy of her book (The Edible Balcony) which was turned out to be my balcony gardening bible. This coupled with my more frequent visits to local farmers market has really made me want to grow my own food, as much as a apartment-living-city-dweller can. I felt...inspired to become an urban farmer.
I began by a trip (or three) to Bunnings (where else) and stocked up on pots, organic potting mix, seeds, plant labels and some seaweed plant booster stuff. I got busy busy and planted some herbs (basil, parsley, coriander, rosemary) and a few vegies (pak choi, carrots, radishes). I was also given some lettuce seedlings from a fellow urban farmer who I work with.
And then I would spend HOURS on the balcony each weekend watching the dirt willing for "stuff" to appear in my grubby little pots. And in a few weeks it did!!! It's funny how all the seedlings for all the different types of plants looked the same - like tiny two leafed clovers.
I give the plants a good watering every day in the warmer weather, and every second day when it's not so hot. I have NO idea how much watering is too much...or not enough, but it's great to finally have a reason to go out on the balcony...I LOVE my little garden.
I've had some great success with my little balcony farm and it's quite an addictive hobby. The radishes were FANTASTIC and I used them in salad. The lettuce was used in a Thai Pork-Mince Salad and the pak choi went into bowls of wonderful wonton noodle soup. The chives are a great garnish for all of the soups I addicted to cooking in the current chilly weather. The mint has been going into homemade mint tea (yes, I made my own tea)!
The basil, coriander and parsley were all used in garnishes for salads or soups. The best thing about growing herbs is not having to buy a WHOLE huge bunch of herbs when all the recipe calls for is a few teaspoons - we're certainly wasting less herbage that's for sure.
It's not all been success though.
I managed to kinda grow one shallot - God knows what happened to the other 10 seeds that went into the pot with this lonesome little fella. The rosemary didn't sprout at all, so I bought a rosemary bush that has since gone belly up. I thought rosemary was EASY to grow...apparently not. The silly little pots I bought for the herbs really are too small - I'm going to abort mission with them and start again with bigger pots so they have more room to swing their leaves about. And there's been an infestation of aphids on my lovely flowering plant that The Boy and I were given for Christmas. And fat green caterpillars have been eating my crop! How rude!
Stayed tuned, Miss Piggy has just planted her second crop. Will the aphids make another bid at ruling the balcony garden? Will that damn rosemary EVER just grow? Can Miss Piggy grow more than one shallot at a time? Only time will tell.
Miss Piggy xox