Friday, September 7, 2012

Balcony Gardening - Day 1

Before I get into the guts of this post, I wanted to share that this is my 400th post! How exciting! When I started I honestly never have thought that I would keep going this long! And in part that is thanks to everyone that stops by and reads, and particularly those that comment - I appreciate each and every one of you! Anyway, enough of that, on to business...

In my previous balcony garden post I talked about my wishlist and plans for my balcony garden, ending the post with a shopping list. I'm happy to say that on the whole I kept to my shopping list when I went and bought all the stuff last Sunday. Below you can see the alive parts of my balcony garden at the end of my first actual day of gardening (I'm not counting all the reading and planning as days).

It's very modest at the moment but (I hope) it'll grow. In the trencher on the left I have three different strawberry varieties. The round pot has mint, the trencher at the back has sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary, and the small trencher has perpetual spinach. They were all on my list... the big barrel pot with the tree wasn't on my list; it's a lime tree (a dwarf one designed for being in a pot).

All the pots I bought (except the barrel one) were plastic and terracotta coloured. I made this decision from two pieces of advice. The first was from Sam, who commented that she found (actual) teracotta pots dry out quicker than plastic ones. The second was from a staff member at CERES who mentioned that dark coloured pots would heat up in the sun faster than pale ones, so they suggested getting paler coloured ones (which by the way they didn't have, so I doubly listened to their advise as they were telling me to buy something from another shop!)

Getting a citrus tree had crossed my mind, but it wasn't in my plans for day 1 - I was planning on getting some pots and outdoor furniture and see how the space was going. However my brother saw this pot, which we both really liked, and we decided to go for it and get a citrus tree - we think it looks great in the pot and is the perfect feel for the yellow building and terracotta tiles. Looking at the options in bunnings (the tree was from bunnings, all the other plants from CERES) I really wanted to get a blood orange tree, but sadly they didn't have any dwarf ones, and the lady who gave me some help was adamant that it wouldn't survive in a pot, so the choice was basically lemon or lime - I decided to go for lime because it's that bit more exciting to me, and who doesn't like the idea of a G and T with home grown lime?!

I also bought some seeds at the same time as the seedlings - shown above is the beginnings of my attempt to grow rocket, "Mr Stripey" tomatoes, marigolds, and "string o pearls" (flowers). I'm hoping to put the string o pearls in the pot with the lime tree, and the marigolds under the tomatoes.

The scientist that I am, I thought I'd try a couple of conditions for germinating the seeds - so I made up two identical sets and put each in a plastic box, and now one is living inside, just inside the window next to the balcony where it gets the morning sun, and the other is living outside on the shelves (see below, right). I still don't really know what I'm doing in terms of seeds, but I'm opening my boxes to give the plants ventilation in the morning, and then closing them again once the sun goes down to keep them warm. I'm also checking that the soil stays damp, spraying it with water from a spray bottle as not to disturb the soil too much. Cross your fingers for me that in a few weeks I'll have some plants growing! If I'm doing anything wrong or you can suggest anything, please do so in the comments!


So lastly above are a couple of pics of what the balcony looks like now - the junk is gone, the extra bikes are gone (ignore my bike, she's still there while there's still space, but that's the one I commute on every day). My gardening supplies and seed box are on one shelf unit, with the extra potting mix on the bottom shelf to support the shelves. If you look behind the bike in the right hand picture you can see the large round pots that I've bought ready for the tomatoes (and beans/peas?).

I didn't quite manage to get everything I needed on Sunday - there was one last trip I needed to take to K-Mart to buy the table and chairs I've had my eye on and some small trenches for lettuce etc. However, when I was in the car headed to pick up the boy, just after dropping my brother off at the uni there were troubles! The clutch stopped working - I couldn't get the car in gear. I was stuck at the front of the right hand filter at the traffic lights. After putting my hazards on, a few minutes later I eventually managed to get the car into first and get it to move, only to have it stall, right in the middle of the junction (blocking the tram tracks in both directions!) eek!!! I just about managed to get the car to move again, and managed to roll into a loading bay space just outside of the junction, at which point I had to call the RACV for a tow. The car is now at the mechanics getting something to do with its clutch fixed, and I don't yet have my outdoor furniture or extra pots. Quite a stressful end to an otherwise enjoyable day!


  1. What a great start! looking forward to chatting gardening with you on Sunday :)

  2. Funny, I'm toying with the same idea. I live in a house, but vegetables and herbs get eaten in the main garden. I have a lovely sunny balcony, just right for my potting adventure.

  3. It looks so good already!!! Well done! I can't wait to see how it all gets on, please keep posting photos. I will pop the seeds into the post for you this week, sorry for the delay but 'life' has gotten in the way recently :-) Sam xox

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