Another month has gone by so I thought it was time to share the successes and failures of my urban gardening adventures, so here we go, my January balcony gardening update! This month I thought I’d also share with you all a few of the books I have been consulting regularly to help me cultivate even the slightest of green thumbs!
Last month was all about the tomatoes and while this month there have been a few it’s been nowhere near the influx of December. I think that’s all about to change though as my cherry tomato plant is covered in teeny-tiny tomatoes, so I think they’ll be ready to pick in another week or so! My other plants aren’t doing so well, one fruited but looks mighty sad and the other looks happy but isn’t fruiting! So strange, but fingers crossed it turns around soon!
Some of my herbs have been going great guns – the mint, basil, rosemary, sage and Vietnamese mint are all looking pretty happy and have been showing up in all kinds of meals. I combined the basil and sage into a big batch of pesto which turned out delicious (and became the basis of dinner and salads for about a week!) so I think I’ll be making more of that soon too! Let me know if anyone would like the recipe!
The coriander and chives however took a beating from some aphids (seriously, aphids and caterpillars are my gardening nemeses!) and I’m not sure they can be saved which makes me pretty sad. Ah well, I guess that’s part of the adventure! The caterpillars have had another go at my chilli plants but thankfully I got to them before they did too much damage and I was even able to pick some ripened chillis this month from both plants, success!
My local nursery was having a January sale so I picked up this baby capsicum plant (already covered in capsicums when I bought it!) and they have all just started to ripen. They’re the cutest little caps and I can’t wait to get cooking with them, I’m thinking there will be lots of stuffed capsicums in my near future (and I promise to share a recipe when I’ve settled on a favourite!). I still need to get this guy a proper pot so that is next on my to-do list!
I’ve also introduced some marigolds into my freestanding unit just to up the colour out there (it’s all rather green!) and they have just started to flower which is making me pretty happy. Such pretty little things! Marigolds are supposed to keep away aphids as well, so fingers crossed that works!
And now, onto my favourite gardening books!
The Edible Balcony – Indira Naidoo
I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see this one on the list! A fantastic book which chronicles Indira’s balcony gardening adventures each season, complete with recipes using her home grown produce. It also includes info on initial set up as well as dealing with bugs and companion planting. A very handy book, that’s for sure!
1-Minute Gardener – Mat Pember & Fabian Capomolla
This book is from the guys behind the Little Veggie Patch Co and is full of 70 gardening skills you can learn in a minute each, perfect for the newbie gardener like me! It covers everything from prepping your garden, pruning, pests, harvesting and even what to do when you’ve harvested your produce. It’s been an excellent resource for looking up quick info when I’m planting something new, not sure how to prune a particular plant or get inudated with bugs! Each skill is demonstrated with a series of photos and simple instructions so anyone can follow them!
Grow Great Grub – Gayla Trail
The book has info on pretty much every edible plant you could want to grow, profiling them each with growing tips, controlling pests, combating disease and companion planting. It also has info on what varieties grow best in pots which is very handy for this balcony gardener!