Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The balcony in question.

I know it seems a little odd to be thinking about my ideas for my container garden when the snow is drifting up onto my balcony.  But it’s been in my head more and more these last few days.  After all, isn’t it sort of comforting to be dreaming about warm days and fresh veggies during the midst of a major cold snap?  The stores are already prepping their shelves for Easter (crazy stores) and our local small nursery has their “Re-opening Soon” sign up.

I love having my little garden out on the deck.  I don’t have a lot of room, but I try to do the best with what I have.  And after all, what could be more frugal than actually growing your own food?  Stepping out on the patio to pick a handful of tomatoes or a few leaves of basil is a lot more efficient than driving to the store.  Tastes better, too. 

Last year, unfortunately, was a bit of a bust.  The weather just never warmed up enough.  I only got about three itty-bitty tomatoes off my plant and one poor little pea-pod.  The blueberry plant never got going, Elias’s sunflower struggled gamely before ultimately keeling over, and the beans never actually appeared.  The herbs hung in there (as herbs are wont to do), and, funnily enough, the strawberries went bonkers.  We actually had two seasons of strawberries!  

Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I’m hoping for a better season this year.  I have all the pots, I have all the soil… I just need the plants.  I’d like to try raising more plants from seeds this year.  I still have a number of little peat pellets and mini-greenhouses, and seed packets are really inexpensive.  I’ve decided this year I’m going for a lettuce or two, Elias has requested spinach (probably let him go for that on his own – would be a great way to work toward his gardening merit badge), definitely doing tomatoes again, the usual herbs (basil, oregano and rosemary)…. What else?

I think I’ll do another hanging basket of strawberries.  The kids loved ‘em.  Not sure if I want to try blueberries again or not.  Knowing the PNW climate and my gardening limitations (second floor balcony, not a lot of direct sunlight), what would you try to grow?  


  1. I don't know if you know this, but I'm fairly certain that blueberries are one of those plants where you have to have TWO of them for them to actually grow berries.

    (Please keep in mind that I could be completely wrong.)

    I have a small garden--I have space, but I'm just not good at taking care of a garden, haha. I typically have a few tomato plants and some squash, maybe a few peppers. I also grow chives indoors, because they're nearly impossible to kill (really, mine should have died years ago...) and you can put them on anything.

    My favorite thing to grow is squash/zucchini, but a balcony might not have room. They kind of go wild, although you may be able to stake them or something. They super easy to grow, and super yummy. I'm experimenting with different types of squash this year--buy one to eat, then keep the seeds. Better yet, keep some seeds for planting and roast the rest for a snack!

    1. According to the packaging on the plant I bought last year, it should have been self-fertile. Maybe they made a mistake? I don't know! lol The darn thing didn't grow at all. I suspect it may have needed more sunlight.

      I LOVE summer squash and zucchini, but my husband doesn't like them at all. Of course, he also doesn't like tomatoes and that hasn't stopped me at all! I'll have to look into the logistics of growing zucchini/squash in containers! :)

  2. Blueberries start off really slow--this last summer was the second one for my bushes, and we got a handful--my 3-year-old's hand full:D.

    Zucchini would be easy to grow in a container. Something like this one is easy to trellis--you could just train it right along your balcony railing! I'd plan ahead as far as where you put it so as not to block other plants, because it'll GROW. As far a container, you could use the square foot method--you can plant 9 (I think) seeds in a square foot. The soil only needs to be 6-8 inches deep.

    Doesn't Gavin even like zucchini bread? With chocolate chips? LOL Guess you could puree it and toss it in pasta sauce;).

    1. I think my poor plant died. I didn't prep it properly for winter. I should have mulched it. Sigh. That would be cool, to have zucchini hanging all over my railing! I have the perfect pot for that one. I think zucchini is happening this year! lol Too bad for Gavin! I love it just sliced and sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic. Yum!