Friday, 23 March 2012

My Balcony Garden

Well before we knew we had secured the flat (it took a good long month from us saying we wanted the place and were ready to put down the deposit to secure it to the various owner type people getting everything in order and finally taking our money *breathe*) we were well aware it came with a delightful balcony. And as such, I was well aware I would fill our little outside space with as much greenery as I could as soon as I could.

When I left my seamstressing job down south with a lovely group of ladies, they knew of my plans for a balcony garden and for my leaving gift they bought me a fantastic selection of gardening bits anf bobs, this was my starting point for my gardening. I then spent the chilly months of January and February buying up seeds (I managed to get most of mine massively discounted because they were last year's. Packets of seeds for 39p ftw.), as well as pots and other gardening bits and pieces. Then on my week long visit down south to see family and friends I bought a huge amount of soil (£10 for 3 x 60 litre bags!) and what is proving to be possibly one of the best things I have ever bought, a mini, plastic greenhouse. Similar to this one here, but under a tenner!

It is currently my pride and joy. I have planted so many different things, I'm starting to wonder if I really do have enough space for everything once it gets closer to harvesting things.

Pretty much every thing's shooting up too. All apart from the strawberries, which have finally poked their tiny little lazy plant heads up above the soil, but are seemingly reluctant to grow into anything larger and that might potentially grow me some strawberries. And the coriander, that just doesn't seem interested. It's still got time though, I've not given up on the little seeds yet.

I've got radishes, which will go into their final pots this Sunday (Sunday is gardening day), purple sprouting broccoli and peas which are also close, tonnes of carrot plants, tomatoes, spring onions, pak choi, various herbs in a small grow bag on the bottom level along with two tubs of rocket and salad leaves, and butterhead lettuce.

Gardening for me is not just the joy of growing something from a seed and (hopefully) enjoying the fruits (veges?) of my labours, but about family ties and memories. One of the most important veggies I've planted, for me, are the runner beans. I've planted three beans which are a few generations down from the same that my Grandad grew rows and rows of on his plot of land at my grandparents' house, a place which holds strong and fond memories from my childhood. The generations in between were my parents' plants. I can't remember a year where we didn't have a glut of runner beans in the summer. And I love them, especially the first crop of the year, young and tender beans, absolutely delicious just on their own. Maybe a little gravy. Nom.

I've gone for a few flowers as well, poached eggs plants and nasturtiums. Both because they remind me of my parents' house. The drive out next to the front garden was, until recently, a thing of dread for anyone trying to navigate it (or just me and delivery men in vans). There was about a foot wide ditch between the edge of the drive and the lawn and it was inevitable I would end up in it in my car, more often than not (back wheels right in there, on a front wheel drive car D: ). During the winter this was a horrible boggy ditch of doom, which I got properly stuck in more than once (Pa having to come out of the house to angrily rescue me). But in the warmer months it became a beautiful patch of vibrant poached egg plants.

The gardeny part of the front garden was always covered in nasturtium plants, I used to play with the cabbage white caterpillars that would smother the patch for a month or so of the year, then once the caterpillars had all found somewhere cosy to chrysalis-up (or had been eaten by something), the plants would go mad and threaten to take over the path as well as the garden. And the smell, it was so strong, especially in caterpillar season.  Recently, however, my parents got the lawn (and the dreaded ditch) paved over, turning the area which was garden into lawn. Some of the nasturtium plants were put into pots and now live in the back garden, and I brought some seeds from the plants up to York with me, which are now growing into my very own nasturtium plants.

And sunflowers. There are no reasons whatsoever for me wanting to grow sunflowers other than they grow tall and awesome. And potentially delicious if I harvest their seeds (that sounds a bit sinister, but yeah.).

Other than my seedlings I've got my violas, which are just about surviving the greenflies that have appeared from nowhere.


I bought these not long after we moved in, in November I think it was. These have been flowering solidly since then! Dedicated little lovelies. They smell fantastic too.

 Honourable mentions go to my avocado plant, which has started to sprout again, to my relief, after I chopped all of it's leaves off!
 My lemon plant, which I grew from a seed I found sprouting inside of a lemon at my last pub job, over a year ago now. That's got sprouts now after I chopped the top off. (I think my harsh pruning habits must come from my Pa.)
And last but not least, my carrot plant. Which you would be correct in thinking it is just a top of a carrot. Le Boof  hit the nail on the head by saying gardening taps into my nurturing nature. I saw one of the carrots starting to sprout in the fridge, which of course meant I had to chop the growing bit off and stick it in some soil! There will be millions of carrot in the flat when I'm finished, I swear.

So there we go. There were going to be several other things mentioned in this post, but I've probably waffled on enough for now. Back to cake and yarn next time!

Two songs by one of my favourite bands ever:
The song that first got me interested in them, Wild Beasts - Assembly
One of the songs from their latest album, Wild Beasts - Bed of Nails


  1. Impressed how much you fit on a balcony! Wish we had some outdoor space with our flat.

  2. I had no idea you could grow carrots from a top! I think the person that told you you could was telling a porkie!!!

    Clairey xx

  3. Ah, I did not know that. Just as well I've got millions of carrot seedlings on the balcony then!