I wrote here last year about my balcony garden, which was relatively successful in spite of probably insufficient sunlight. I got some cherry tomatoes (as did various critters who visited), and I got loads of basil. This year was different.
I think part of the problem was that I decided to branch out and grow kale on the balcony. I bought three starter plants from a nursery, and at first, they looked like a smashing success. Then came the whiteflies. For those who have never had the supreme pleasure of seeing them, they are tiny white flying insects that feed on the bottoms of plant leaves. When you water the plant, they all fly up like a disgusting cloud, but never seem to be deterred for long. Evidently, they enjoy kale as much as I do.
After it became apparent that they were destroying the kale plants, I pulled up the sad, skeletal remains of the kale and threw them out. They then decided to settle for my mint (a new mint plant this year, since my old faithful plant finally died). They haven't killed it yet, but it's not for lack of effort.
Tomatoes were another real disappointment; I didn't get a single one. My mom suggested that I may have inadvertently bought a determinate variety of tomato and that a heat wave may have destroyed all of the tomatoes as they were developing. It seems plausible, given the weather over the summer. I kept hoping they would develop, but after listening to two podcast hosts based in Canada talking about their tomatoes, I realized the chances that my Virginia tomatoes were just delayed were slim.
My basil has fared better than my other plants this summer, but I didn't have the copious amounts I did last summer. I've even had to buy bunches of basil from the farmers market to get all the pesto I want. I'm not sure what went wrong, but it's a disappointment.
According to the interwebs, marigolds may help repel whiteflies, so I think I'll try planting some of those next year with the hope of protecting all of my plants. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to be careful which tomatoes I get and hope for the best for a bumper crop of basil.