How Does My Garden Grow – Pt 4: First Harvest

With the US Thanksgiving holiday just a few days away, it seems fully appropriate that I was able to recently celebrate my first harvest from my balcony garden.  It was a limited harvest – one beet, one radish, and two cherry tomatoes – but at least it is a start, right?  For those of you who have missed my videos, I filmed and edited a new one to mark this momentous occasion.


The harvest was a small one, but I was excited with it nonetheless.  On the left is a golden beet, on the right is a type of heirloom radish called a watermelon radish.  It is supposed to have a light green skin with a pink interior.  The skin was kind of a pinkish white instead.  Behind the two roots are my carrots which are slowly growing.


Raindrops on the leaves of my third tomato plant.  Once we hit the start of October – the end of rainy season – the weather rapidly changed.  We’ve had significant rainfall only two or three times since then and my south-facing balcony has been bathed in direct sunlight for about 7 hours a day.  The plants have definitely enjoyed the sun, although I’ve had to be diligent about watering.


One curious thing is that my tomato plants – both cherry and beefsteak – have had a problem with pollination.  So far only two fruits have grown.  I’ve not seen any bees around my plants but according to my online research, tomato plants are self-pollinating.  One technique recommended in some videos is to give the plants a good shake to encourage the pollinating.  So far that hasn’t seemed to help.  Plenty of blossoms come and go, but few ever become fruit.


And there they are, my two cherry tomatoes.  Organic, homegrown, and mighty tasty.  Now if I could just get a few more of them off my plant, which is nearly three meters tall!


Inside of the watermelon radish.  It had a nice flavor, less sharp than the conventional red radishes you see at the market.


Golden beet.  I have only seen red beets sold in Thailand so was very excited to have golden beets.  What I’ve decided, though, is that root vegetables are a poor use of limited container space.  I need to focus on vertical plants – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. – where I can get more yield per square meter of soil.  Of course, I guess the tomato plants haven’t really panned out yet, have they?

Here’s the video of the autumn 2011 harvest.


The healthy salad I made from mostly store-bought vegetables and my few container garden vegetables.  The shredded golden beet is on top, some sauteed beet greens, and the radish.  Success!  Stay tuned for more gardening developments.

Previous entries on this subject:

How Does My Garden Grow – Part 1: Defying Gravity 
How Does My Garden Grow – Part 2: A Move to the Sunny Side
How Does My Garden Grow – Part 3: Back to Seedlings

0 thoughts on “How Does My Garden Grow – Pt 4: First Harvest

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed watching the video and reading your post. The vegetables are beautiful and scrumptious looking! Your home is as beautiful as always. My tomatoes were very scarce also. It kept flowering but the fruits would disappear after a while, until we get cold and then whatever it was eating them stopped. The problem then was the tomatoes won’t turn red or ripened. But once we put them on the windowsill inside, they start to turn red.

  2. Here’s some unscientific advice. The first one actually is from what I remember from my mom’s tomatoes. She pruned those plants regularly (cut the “suckers”). I don’t remember if that helps produce more flowers or simply ensures that the plant’s energy are directed to the fruits. Maybe you need to teach your plants the basics of pollination. Perhaps you can just show them a power point presentation with the key messages and call to action slide? I’m sure you can find tomato porn videos somewhere in the internet. Maybe that will stimulate them. You may have to talk dirty to them too. I won’t show them the pictures of your salad though. That will scare the living daylights out of them. I should have been a farmer.

  3. What a pretty plate of salad! I saw the video on YouTube and enjoyed it very much. You know Chris, the stems of the radishes and the beets or any other greens can be washed and cleaned and gently scoured and chopped fine like you would celery. Soak some lentils like chickpeas or Mung, till they are not hard and brittle. In a pan add a little oil or butter, saute some onion slices, and add the lentils and the chopped stems. You can add some water to soften and cook the stems, and when it is getting dry without the water, add some fresh grated coconut and salt and pepper. It really tastes good. Just thought I would let you know.

  4. Well, I’m glad to see the fruitation of your min-vegetable garden. The golden beets and tomatoes look very nice indeed. Chris, I discovered a sausage place in LA, and pretty sure that will interest you. When you are here, we should stop by and get you some sausages to bring back home! 😛

  5. The watermelon radish looks very pretty. I would love it for my salad. I have never tried golden beets (maybe they are not available in this part of the world). As for red beets, I really do not like them.

  6. that looks like a salad!! and i dont even eat salad that much. so jealous. we tried to grow beets to no avail (well, we did ‘plant’ the seeds on the side walk in the fall…). your veggies grew beautifully 😀

  7. @Devilzgaysianboi – Well, the good news for us is that our growing season will last until about April.  Perfect weather and southern sun on our balcony should let me get a few more sets of tomato and pepper plants in before we call it quits.@XiaoKawaii1993 – In the picture on the seed packet, though, it had a nice light green exterior.  Not so in reality.  Oh, well…@fauquet – Is that in fact an actual group on Xanga?  If so, I’d be most interested in reading what’s posted there.@iskrak – And your beets didn’t grow on the sidewalk?  Small wonder!  =D@Dezinerdreams – Truly home made if not entirely home grown!@Inciteful – Oh, I’m so sorry.  That’s not the intent.@CurryPuffy – Oooo… sausage place!?  Sounds good.@ZSA_MD – That sounds like a fantastic recipe.  Thanks for the recommendation.  I have several more beet plants growing so hopefully will have a chance to try it out.@murisopsis – Well, at the very least I’ll get the enjoyment of growing the plants.  But a few more edible bits would be nice, too.@ElusiveWords – I’ve heard the advice about pinching the suckers and did not that, which seemed to result in a very tall but not very bushy plant.  Not sure about your pollination advice, though!  =P@Fatcat723 – Oh, if I had land I would definitely grow mangoes!@yang1815 – I know, a bit underwhelming, huh?@awoolham – Interesting… I wonder what was causing it?@Ikwa – Gardening is one of those things that I enjoy reading about, perhaps even more than doing. 

  8. that’s so exciting to harvest your own vegetables! i haven’t ventured into growing vegetables much; maybe next spring i will plant a few. my problem, though, is that i’m not sure i’ll be able to grow enough of any one thing to make a whole dish!

  9. the watermelon radish is very photogenic! It looks amazing and I love the way the colour works it’s way through it. The way everything plays together in that salad is quite something as well 🙂 I’m not sure if this applies to tomato plants, but when pollinating it, can’t you just take two blossoms and “kiss” them together? I think my father and I had to do that for a few plants this year since for some odd reason we didn’t have a lot of bees (we’re making some hives for some pollinating but non-aggressive bees next season), but I’m not sure which plant(s) they were.

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