As I sit here sweating even with the AC on full blast, there’s no denying that summer is here. And despite the oppressive heat, my balcony garden is thriving. I should be eating homegrown tomatoes within the next few weeks, and I can’t tell you how excited that makes me.
Let’s talk Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix and I took a little break this winter, after receiving two atrocious boxes in a row. In fact, I was entirely convinced they had turned into a maternity wear company, that’s how bad it was. So we took a break, a 6 month break, and only recently did I decide to give them another chance.
I was pretty pleased with this one overall. You could say Stitch Fix and I are back on speaking terms. The hot pink print wrap dress is perfection, cute and flattering and definitely a keeper. The heart polka dot tank (yes, heart-shaped polka dots!) is adorable, and will probably be staying as well. The green wrap dress, on the other hand, despite the pretty color and comfy fabric, was a bit too low and loose in the chest, and the long sleeves just didn’t work for me. Especially now when it’s 90+ degrees outside. No thanks.
I’m torn on the necklace, which Taylor said looks like spoons filled with whipped cream. Based on that alone I might have to keep it. Because SPOONS!
The other white top is a mystery. It’s a pretty basic piece, a white collared button up. But cotton knit, like a tshirt, with some contrasting ribbed knit on the sides. I like it, and I don’t like it. For $54 I’ll probably end up sending it back, unless you all convince me otherwise.
Regardless, I feel like my last two boxes have redeemed the service. It is a gamble, having someone pick out clothes for you, but for the most part I enjoy it. Getting clothes in the mail without having to go to the mall? I call that a win.
Want to try Stitch Fix yourself? Sign up here and schedule your first box! (Full disclosure, that’s my referral link. If you sign up I get some credit towards future purchases, so thank you in advance!) Basically, you pay a $20 styling fee to receive a box of clothes selected just for you. If you choose to keep any of the pieces, the $20 can be applied towards that cost. AND if you decide to keep the entire box, you get a 20% discount off the entire thing. I’ve had one box like that and I can tell you it’s awesome when it happens. But if there are things you don’t love or that don’t fit, just send them back in the prepaid envelope. It couldn’t be easier.
Also, I really need a full length mirror…
Heading back outside… this is the current state of our balcony.
Notice the fact that everything is shoved up against one side of the porch. That’s because the sun only hits that side, and even then it’s debatable as to whether the plants get the “full” sun that they need to thrive. I’d love to live on the other side of the building, where they get morning light instead of the scalding afternoon stuff. Regardless, my garden seems to be thriving (especially when you consider that less than two months ago this is what the plants looked like).
I am obsessed with figuring out how to hang some string lights, which I think would look awesome draped between the wall and the divider. We have an outlet over there, but my issue is how to get the lights to hang on the metal siding. I’m thinking something like a magnetic command hook… do they even make such a thing? We obviously can’t drill into the metal siding, so I’m stumped. Definitely open to any ideas!
As for what we are growing… with the exception of the marigolds, it’s all edible. 16 pots worth. We’ve got the basics, of course, basil (and thai basil), parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Mint, both julep and the chocolate mint that was the only thing that survived the frigid winter (I just can’t kill it, I tell you). My chives, or should I say, my chive is pathetic, they’re too weak and spindly to even hold up to the gentlest drops of water. I’ve started them over 3 times now from new seeds, and they never quite make it. Poor things. And poor, chiveless me, looks like I’ll be buying chives all summer.
I’ve got four gorgeous, flourishing tomato plants: two Landis tomatoes (the same kind that did so well for me last year. Perhaps they know that we share a name), and two Lime Green Salad tomatoes that Kristina (aka the tomato whisperer) sent to me, along with a grab bag of peppers and other seeds. Out of 3 or 4 kinds of peppers, the one called Jimmy Nardello was the only one to sprout. I have no idea what kind of pepper it is, but I can’t wait to find out!
Taylor’s got a pot of hops, an impulse purchase when we saw some hop vines for sale at Whole Foods (I may have talked him into getting one). It’s a pretty little vine, we’re hoping it’ll start winding its way through the balcony railing.
And finally, edible greens and flowers. Purslane, as I’ve discussed before, is as pretty as it is delicious. And voracious. I had to transplant the two tumbling perennials into their own pots before they suffocated my tomatoes.
The borage is maybe my favorite part of the garden this year. I had one gangly looking plant last year that didn’t do much. Too cramped in its little pot, I guessed. This year I have 6 in a much bigger pot, and they are exploding. The vibrant flowers just made their appearance this week, and I can’t stop gawking at their gorgeous blue petals, like little periwinkle shooting stars. Borage is also edible, both the leaves (which supposedly have a cucumber-like flavor, although I haven’t tried it yet) as well as the flowers. I have sweet plans for the flowers, just you wait and see!
Sgt. Pepper has discovered the outside… and can’t get enough. Little bugger finds a way to slip through my legs whenever I open the door. He immediately runs over to the cement area, flops over on his side, and starts cackling at the birds. I have to literally drag him, kicking and yowling, inside. He lost his solo-outside privileges a few years ago when he managed to slip through the railing and was on his way over to our neighbor’s when we caught him (and as you picture this, remember that we live 3 stories up).
Meanwhile, Kalypso lost her outside privileges because she tries to eat everything green, toxic or otherwise. And Desmond, well, Desmond is too much of a scaredy cat to go outside alone. And so, when the sun isn’t beating down on the balcony and the temperature is tolerable, we all go outside together for some supervised fresh air.
On that note, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, filled with plenty of supervised (or not) fresh air of your own. I’ll be back in the kitchen on Monday with more recipes you’re going to love. :)
(Also, for those curious about our planters… the gray cylinder ones are actually made of recycled felt. We like them because they’re cheap, they drain well, and at the end of the season we can fold them up and pack them away. Innovations RA is the brand on ours, although these Root Pouch pots look almost identical.)