let’s start at the beginning! this will be photo intensive.
I have a balcony. a very small balcony. well no. i have two balconies, but the other one gets about half an hour of sun a day, maximum, and does not grow things well. i’ve experimented with trying to grow plants in the past, on the no-sun balcony, with limited success. this is a combination of my own state of mind at the time, combined with almost no light.
so this year, i tried again. this is how i started:
please accept my sincere apologies for the terrible photos. sometimes, i have a good camera. sometimes, i use my iPhone. here, i have four tomatoes at the back, a chili, some basil, a capsicum plant, and a few succulents. they are still little tomatoes!
here, i’ve added eggplants, and some companion marigold. the tomatoes, as you can see, are thriving, especially the giant one closest to the wall. this was my beloved black russian, which died of unknown causes. (probably one of the 40 degree days combined with the pot being too small…)
we’re a bit further along here – with some mint cuttings added in.
terrible lighting, but you get the idea.
it’s coming to the end of summer – so there are more big bugs around to catch and squish (sorry), the bottom of the plants are dying off, and i’m preparing for pulling the annuals up, and mulching the perennials. i have a rhubarb plant i bought – which was TINY at the time, and is growing beautifully.
this is a very long way off eating – at least a year or two – but i’m going to try and keep it alive.
despite the losses (three eggplants from bunnings, the black russian, and the strawberries) i’ve learned a huge amount about the space i’m using, and how to grow things – what works, what doesn’t – what i need to make the best use of a very small space – why mulch is our best friend – what is sensible to grow and what is not.
for example, i won’t be growing strawberries again. they are exceptionally cost inefficient in pots, they don’t taste that great compared to farmed ones which grew in the ground – or the ones at my partner’s parent’s amazing vegetable garden, and you get a tiny, tiny yield from one pot. but the basil is amazing satisfying (even when it gets consumed by bugs, there’s some left for us!) and saves a huge amount of cash. mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme are all very easy to grown, and yield a lot, and smell beautiful.
the sweetbite has huge yield, but 1. takes over the whole balcony, and 2. has far less satisfying fruit than the smaller, heirloom varieties. i also dislike growing non-heirlooms, now i know what the difference between hybrid and heirloom is – and there is a real, definite taste difference. i’ll be growing mostly heirlooms for next summer. (and for winter veg too – but they will all be root, so will be from seed).
winter will be interesting – i’ve not grown root vegetables, and i’m not sure what will and won’t work in pots – but i’m looking forward to failing and succeeding!
few things give me the quiet happiness of my Tiny Garden – the fact that i, with my flippant, vague attention span managed to care, work, and continue day in day out to work at keeping the plants alive has instilled more faith in myself than i thought i’d ever have.
here’s a parting shot of the two (i know, only two) chilis. i will be trying the little buggers again, despite the heat being too erratic this year – i worked out the hottest area on the balcony, and that’s where i’ll keep it over winter, and hopefully it’ll keep over winter, and i’ll be able to get it some friends which will hopefully give out more than two tiny fruits!