I just got back from a week long trip to Montreal. During that week, some 'interesting developments' have occurred on my balcony.
First, my beans grew red blossoms! I've never eaten or even seen scarlet runner beans before so I basically bought the seeds because everyone said they were pretty while they grew and it's true. There's lots of little red flowers on the runners and the entire lot of beans are climbing the balcony railing nicely. Even my dad said it looked pretty from the parking lot.
My basil, which was not doing very well, seems to have perked up, though one of the four plants died. The swiss chard is big now too, and the chives are doing great!
And then there's the zucchini. It's taking over the balcony! When I left there were three baby zucchinis, and when I returned there's about ten! I already ate one (basil zucchini pizza anyone?) that was about 5 inches, and there will be one or two more ready next week. I plan on eating them small, I really don't need a big fat zucchini.
On the downside, one of my little viola plant died, and one of the flower pots seems to have either grown too heavy or had some storm damage, as there's a gaping hole in the middle and all the plants are leaning. I pulled up my spinach because it started to bolt. I think it was getting too shaded by the beans and wasn't getting enough light. Also, there has been no change whatsoever in the blueberry plant since I bought it. Possible experiment fail?
And on the super downside, my strawberry box is invested with fungus gnats! There's also some in the chard and beans, but the strawberry box is just full of them. They look like slightly bigger fruit flies, crawling all over the soil. Either the damp weather attracted them or there were already eggs in the soil. Regardless, it's icky. My mom recommended spraying the soil and leaves with dish soap water, and that helped a bit, so I'll keep doing it over the next couple weeks. Apparently peppermint tea repels/kills them too. Otherwise I'm going to have to buy some insecticidal soap, which I don't want to do because I do want to eat the strawberries eventually.
That's another sore point - I don't have any strawberries yet! I had a tiny red one when I left but the gnats or the birds got it as it's gone now. All the little blossoms tried to grow strawberries but they're all dead and dried up now. I'm not sure what the cause is. They have been well watered (I had people checking them while I was away) and have nice big leaves. Perhaps the box isn't deep enough? Oh well, lessons learned.
I'm already contemplating "return on investment" and what I'll plant next year.
I also bought a couple new house plants. My colleague convinced me to get a jasmine plant, which so far has only produced one flower, but adds a bit of green to my living room. I bought a huge purple pot from an apartment sale so I bought a tree-ish plant, a marginata, also called a dragon tree. It's supposed to be toxic to cats, which I was trying to avoid, but it seemed a good fit and is supposed to clean the air. So far I've been able to keep the cat away from it. It seems to insist on leaning though.
This whole growing thing has been an interesting and fun experiment! I can't wait to see what happens next!