Three weeks have passed since I rolled up my sleeves and started my balcony vegetable garden and while there are encouraging signs of life, there have also been a few lessons learned.
One of the first lessons learned, almost as quickly as I finished washing the dirt from under my nails, was that I should have started the seeds in small containers and then transplanted them once they grew larger. With our heavy rains nearly each afternoon, the wee seedlings were being pummeled and the soil wound up splattered all over the balcony, creating a mess. Plus, there is no direct sun on this side of the building for another month or so.
My solution was to move the pots to the hallway outside our units, where they enjoy some better protection from the rain and at least a few hours of sun in the mornings. Soon, though, that sun will go away as the star passes directly overhead our building. At that point, I’ll move them back to the balcony.
Here is a container-by-container update:
These are the large Chianti Rose tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes are at a similar stage, with the second pair of leaves growing. The cherry tomatoes will also need to be significantly thinned as one 15-inch container is not going to handle a dozen plants. So far, so good.
The carrots and beets seem to be doing well. I think I didn’t grow enough carrots and I think my beets may be too crowded, but I’m happy to see the frilly leaves on the carrots – a sure sign that they really are carrots. I’ve planted some additional carrot seeds in the open spaces between plants. I realized that each plant produces only one carrot. For some reason, maybe because I always see carrots in bunches, I expected I might get a bunch of carrots from one plant. So much for having farmer’s blood in my veins.
The two mini bell pepper plants are doing well, also with a second pair of leaves forming. There is another sprout coming up in the background but I don’t think this is a pepper plant. Not sure what sort of interloper it is. Curious, though, as I know I planted at least three pepper seeds.
On to the mixed herbs container: These two stalks are growing in the area I planted parsley seeds. I’m not sure what baby parsley plants are supposed to look like, but this isn’t what I had in mind. Am I not looking for crinkly leaves? Do those just grow in later?
The first hints of what may possibly be cilantro peeking up through the soil. These little green flecks have scarcely grown in a week. The rosemary seems to be missing in action.
The Italian basil is doing well, not seeming to mind their close quarters. I’m looking forward to having the basil developed enough to cook with, although I guess I could eat the young shoots, too.
That’s all from the farm. Stay tuned for more details in another few weeks!