Monday, June 2, 2014

The Balcony Garden

Since relocating to Lisle, IL, I've had to downsize my garden considerably, going from a suburban lot of approximately 6500 square feet to a balcony of around 40 square feet or so. As noted previously, I bought a small four shelf greenhouse in the hope of getting a jump start on the gardening season and to maximize the available space. Since the weather has finally decided to become Spring-like, I took the cover off this weekend and had to reseed several things, as I've found out that even with a greenhouse, when you're seven stories up, late March/early April is still too early to sow seeds when you're having an unusually cold Spring. I've wound up buying plants I would normally start from seed at Dove Manor because it's the only way to be sure I'll actually be able to harvest things or enjoy the flowers.  Another casualty was the Marchesa Bocella rose and I replaced with a Climbing Queen Elizabeth, another pink rose. I'll have to buy a trellis for it to grow up once it starts to fill out. I went to a yard sale Saturday and bought a hosta, some oregano, Black-eyed Susans and a wooden grape crate, then the seller gave me a basil of unknown variety, a broccoli plant and a cutting of trailing jade; the total cost was $13, less than the hosta would cost at a nursery.  I went home, put my treasures on the balcony and returned to the sale with two rooted stapeliad cuttings, Stapelia gigantea and Orbea lutea ssp, vaca, to thank him for the free plants.

The hosta, just $6.

Oregano, $2

Black-eyed Susans, $3

Wooden grape crate, $2

Unknown variety of basil, free

Broccoli, free

I bought some pots, spending another $8 for the five, and 48 pounds of potting soil for $8, so my total for the weekend was only $29.  I then set about repotting the new plants and resowing existing pots, rearranging things as I went.  After I surveyed my handiwork, I decided it was time to move some of the stapeliads out to the balcony for the summer and I rigged up some shelves, then loaded them up.  I noticed some encouraging sights, the first tomato on my 'Better Bush' and a flower bud on the 'Ichiban' eggplant, as well as a couple of Takanotsume pepper sprouts.

The "long" end of the balcony

Lemon grass, Black-eyed Susans, basil and oregano

Strawberries and petunias

Stapeliads, a haworthia and an euphorbia

Another euphorbia, more stapelaids and the hosta

The top shelf of the greenhouse, with tomatoes, eggplant, Korean hot peppers and trailing jade

As things begin to sprout, I'll post updates, but for now, that's all I have to report.

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