Scenes from a Balcony Garden Vol. 1

July 23, 2016

Early spring, I went to a local (aka non-big box) gardening store. The experience wasn’t pleasant at all but I came away from the encounter with this growing bag in which I am growing sunflowers and amaranth (loves lies bleeding). The smallest sunflower is a variety I haven’t grown before (Endurance) and I don’t think I’ll grow them again next year. They freak me out a little because they don’t seem to follow the sun like the other two (Russian Mammoths).

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These are my petunias. I didn’t grow them from seed but they are growing “like weeds”. They make me happy just looking at them. I don’t usually give my plants names but these I call Little Princelings for His Royal Purpleness (Prince).

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I am dedicated to trying to make my garden, small as it is, contribute something to the well-being of birds, bees and butterflies. The photo directly below is milkweed which is the only source of food for the endangered Monarch Butterfly. I hope it grows. I hope it grows!

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I wanted to grow sweet potatoes (for their edible leaves) in soil. I don’t know if it was the variety of sweet potato I selected but it didn’t work this year However I am still trying to grow sweet potato leaves but it’s going very slowly:

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I’m hoping that they’ll grow enough so that I can put them in soil and have delicious sweet potato leaves for the fall. Crossing my fingers!

Last year I tried to grow summer squash but it turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. I don’t have pictures of how it “just simply” died on me. I’m sure I did something wrong but what that was, I don’t know. So this year I’m going for butternut squash. I know it’s a fall/early winter vegetable but I’m starting it now. Since space (and money) is an issue I’m growing it in a bag.

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Amaranth. Amaranth. Amaranth. I chant it like a mantra because it is so important and valuable to me! This variety is green amaranth. I’ve already started snipping it to eat because once I found it was the source of the callaloo I ate as a child, well that was all she wrote!

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Potatoes are the bane of my gardening life. They take so damn long to form the tubers I love that I annually lose patience with them. This year is no exception! The pot in the background is a transplanted potato plant that I hope grows. As you can see, the AC is on my balcony and that makes things harder because of all the hot air backwash. The foreground potatoes seem to be doing well. In the spirit of companion planting, I’ve also planted mustard greens with them. When they grow their true leaves, I’ll start to thin them out.

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I’m growing other things as well; primarily greens because I really want to try my version of homesteading by freezing what we can’t eat so that during the coming winter, we’ll have fresh, homegrown greens to eat. At this point they’re too tiny to share.

 

 

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