I’ve had quite a few people ask about our little garden. I’ve mentioned it a few times in posts, and if you follow me on twitter you may have seen my periodic snapshots and updates on it’s progress.
Because you really could call it progress. Amazing how in a matter of weeks (days, actually), you can go from this:
To give some background, we live in a condo. With no dirt to call our own. We do, however, have a fairly good sized balcony (for a condo, that is). And while it is shaded for much of the year, in the summer the sun does make it above the buildings long enough to give us a good solid afternoon of sunshine on one side of the patio. Just enough that our hopes are high for our little container garden.
We’ve only grown herbs before. Probably killed more than we actually grew. And we’ve always started with seedlings. We’ve never fully ‘raised’ plants from seeds before. We had no idea what to do. Lucky for us the garden center nearby is filled with knowledgeable employees (Judith just might be sick of us by now) and we’ve done our best to pick their brains. Like her suggestion to start the seeds in eggshells. And since we eat eggs for lunch just about every day, saving up a dozen or so didn’t take long at all (we just had to remember to carefully crack the tops off of them instead of smashing them to bits). Filled with a bit of potting soil, and then set to sunbathe under a grow light, it was a mere 4 days before we saw the first bits of green starting to poke through the soil. (For those interested, we purchased this grow light – a reasonable price for a nice compact, freestanding light).
That there is the thyme. It won the race as the first to sprout. Though the others were not far behind. We’d watch our little science project grow each and every day. It was like being in elementary school again, the sheer wonder of it all.
We doubled up on many of the seeds just in case one didn’t germinate, and as it turns out only one little basil seed didn’t make an appearance. Everything else, including our two tomato varieties (and I hear tomatoes are actually quite hard to start!) sprouted and took off.
All in all we have planted: thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro (planted directly outside), rainbow chard, haricot vert green beans, black hungarian hot peppers, wild cherry tomatoes, and green zebra heirloom tomatoes (my all-time favorite). We’ll probably also pick up a few other herb seedlings such as mint and tarragon. Ambitious? Probably. But we’re optimistic.
We’ve also got a nice pot of mesclin and arugula lettuces growing outside. Look! Microgreens!
Soon the little seedlings got too big for their eggs, and we transplanted them to peet pots. Not sure if it’d be more efficient to simply start them in the peet pots to begin with? Or if the eggs really provided an extra oomph to the baby plants.
Soon, when the temperatures are holding steady, it’ll be time to replant them in their final containers outside. The green bean (or haricot vert, to be precise) must have been on steroids or something, as it took off and shortly towered above the other plants (it’s the one with the giant leaves on the left). It is actually outside right now. The rest are still under the grow light, just waiting for their time in the sun. The pots are waiting.
So are the cats, for that matter. They’ll probably spend more time in the “garden” than both of us. So long as they don’t eat it before we do. We did grow them their own crop of wheat grass (which big kitty loves… little kitty hasn’t quite figured it out yet, which is funny considering he tries to eat just about everything else, from paper to plastic to fingers…)