Saturday, 28 May 2011

The first harvest!

It's a momentous occasion - our little garden has just produced it's first crop! The mixed salad was looking very nicely grown:

So I look some scissors to it, and here's the finished product!

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount that we got out of it. Plus, it tasted absolutely lovely!!

Heathly dinner!
I should be able to repeat this process about 3 more times until the plants are done. Next time I am going to try to plant the seeds in rows so that they are easier to thin out - this time they were a bit of a mess and difficult to see what was what.

Does anyone know what the salad is with the red stem? That was my favourite.

Thursday, 26 May 2011


On a more positive note, I've got some great 3 part pots for herbs. I've filled my first one with chives, mint and what I hope is lemonbalm, all stolen (with permission) from Mum's garden. I've kept the mint in a separate pot as I heard it is prone to overtaking everything, although saying that I think lemonbalm is related to mint so maybe that should have had the same treatement....oh well we'll see!

I always loved lemonbalm in our garden at home, it's got such an amazing smell. I don't know what I can use it for but I can't wait till it gets big enough to smell nice. I'll try to find some nice recipies to use it in.

Mint is a classic....we are big fans of mojitos here so this was a have-to-have. It seems to have bedded in really well. It's such an amazing green colour.

And's hard to take a pretty picture of chives apart from the gorgeous flowers (especially when they are half eaten like ours), but let's remember it's not all about looking beautiful - you can't beat chives and mayo with your potato salad.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tomato Disaster

Bad news folks. It's been really windy here since last night and the balcony has been taking a battering with gusts up to nearly 40mph:

The plants have been standing up to the wind really well up until now, but I'm afraid today one little guy didn't make it. 

It was snapped clean off - you can still see the stem in the growbag. I love how the sun went in just as I took this photo! So there was a rather hasty trip to Wilkinsons and now there's a new accessory on the balcony and two very relieved tomato plants. 

I've put the strawberries in there as well as they are not looking too happy and have also lost a few leaves to the wind. Very very luckily I have one spare tomato plant inside that I hadn't thrown away because I couldn't face it. And don't worry, the greenhouse is very well tied down!!

New Camera!

My very lovely parents have bought me a shiny new camera for my birthday :) My last camera was a very old Canon Ixus 4.0, and I've upgraded to the Canon Ixus 115 - 12 megapixles, HD, wide angle 4x zoom. Check me out! I'm looking forward to doing a bit of photography alongside the growing.
Here's my first offering

Friday, 20 May 2011

Ode to peas

In with my Poundland beans were some Early Onward peas. I was doing a bit of research on what to do with them, and I discovered some great pea-related facts:
1. Mendel basically discovered genetics by breeding peas
2. Peas used to be called pease
3. The oldest pea ever found was in Burma, and it was 3000 years old
4. Thick London smog was called pea-soup because it was slightly green in colour
5. On average everyone in Britain eats 9,000 peas a year (I am certainly not pulling my weight)
6. There is an etiquette to eating peas - you are supposed to squash them on the back of a fork. (This cannot be conducive to eating peas very quickly, but could be fun.)

I mainly have to thank for these amazing facts. The also had a great recipe for ham, cheese and pea muffins. Here's my current effort - rather tiny right now but growing really quickly.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The story so far (month 1)

It seems like there hasn't been much happening for the last few weeks. My tomato and broccoli seedlings have been the same size for ages, with no new leaves or growth. I wasn't having any luck with the beans. But somethings happened in the last few days and suddenly everything is growing! Here's my wildflowers, mixed salad and rocket:

I'm really excited that it won't be too long before we'll be eating this! I'm chuffed with my broccoli and tomatoes too - they've definitely grown, the stems are thicker and there are some new leaves appearing. Yay! I wonder if they have just been concentrating on growing down rather than up and making roots for a while.
My bean saga continues - the beans really quickly got too tall to be unsupported but I was worried about putting them straight outside in case the change of temperature killed them. So I've just put one out at first - to see if it was ok. I felt so bad leaving it out there all alone in the wind and cold at night while I was tucked up in bed! Luckily, it seems to have survived, although the wind has snapped one of the leaves. 
Poor little test bean
I've also planted some peas, so all in all I'd say that the first month has been quite a success! I'm certainly raising a glass to the balcony garden, it's been fun, relaxing and educational, hopefully next month it will be nutritious as well. :)

Monday, 9 May 2011


My lovely friend Katie (who happens to live on the most amazing farm) has very kindly given me two chilli plants that she has grown from seeds. One is jalapeno and the other is anaheim. I know nothing about chillies so I've been doing some research on Wikipedia and it looks like jalapeno is quite a hot variety whereas anaheim is milder. My b/f is happy - he loves chillies and wanted me to grow some anyway. I, on the other hand, am a complete wimp and hate anything spicy. So it looks like this chilli combination will suit us well! I am going to keep them inside until the weather is a bit warmer, but I'm excited to see what these plants do, especially what size and colour the chillies will be and what we might cook with them. I'll keep you posted!
How can something so HOT come from something so cute?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Bean update

Take a look at these little beauties!! Well, they're not so little anymore - this is 3 days of growth, these beans are amazing! Good old poundland :) It's inspired me to plant a some peas as well which I am going to do later.
Also, I had all but given up on my dark cupboard tuppaware beans, but I've had a look today and they have definitely got some life in them!
So I've planted one of this variety (red rum), along with the 3 above (which are scarlet emperor) so I will hopefully have two varieties to try. I still can't believe those bean plants, they are like an explosion of life on my windowsill!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Leggy Broccoli

Bless my little broccoli. I think they got the feeling they weren't quite they grew and grew and grew. They grew so fast, and with my lack of knowledge I didn't know to get them into the light quickly so they have turned out rather tall, which is apparently not a desirable trait in a broccoli. Still, they seem healthy, of all the things I have planted they are certainly the most enthusiastic and I love them for that. I've been researching it, and it seems that you can replant the seedlings deeper in the soil to fix the problem, so that's what I've done. Here's the before and after,
The long and the short of it