I wrote here last year about my small balcony garden. Neither my need to create peace around me nor my desire for tasty food has diminished since then, so I'm growing a balcony garden again this year. I know it is very possible to conduct background research on gardening and plan accordingly, but I've decided to just buy plants that sound tasty to me with no thought to whether my balcony is a good place for them, and just learn from the experience. Here are this year's lessons:
1. Dill and bell peppers don't love what my balcony has to offer. Both bit the dust quickly.
2. Success can vary widely even among members of the same species. The basil plant I bought from the farmers market is tall and bushy. The basil plant I bought from Whole Foods is short, stumpy, and being chomped on by bugs.
3. Mint has dreams of world domination. This has actually been a lesson every time I've grown plants on any balcony!
4. Cucumbers also have dreams of world domination. We bought a cucumber plant from the farmers market this year when it was still very small. It is magnificent now and is sending leaves out between the railings on the balcony. It seems to be attracting a good number of bees, so I'm looking forward to getting fresh cucumbers!
5. Tomatoes are moody and unreasonable. I grew a tomato plant on the balcony last summer, and it did fine. We didn't get a ton of tomatoes, but we got a few, and the plant was tall and healthy. This summer, three cherry tomato plants died on the balcony. In theory, at least, they should have been getting enough sunlight because they were in the same place as on the balcony as last year's tomato plant. I now have a beefsteak tomato plant that hasn't died yet, but also hasn't grown any taller or grown any blossoms. I'd love to solve this particular lesson/mystery for next year because I was really hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes.
Basil, mint, and cucumbers are definitely keepers for next summer. I may try green beans, too. Anybody else growing a garden this summer?