Balcony Garden: 2012 Edition

Another summer in my condo, that means the second year of my balcony garden! Last year I had some good luck, some bad luck, and some useless luck growing plants. I expect this year to be the same, but I'm changing it up a little.

I tried to overwinter some plants. My basil, peppermint and lavender didn't survive an unintentional soaking of insecticide. So that's that. I planted my blueberry bush in my parent's front yard. I seems to have survived the winter so I'll be curious to see if it bears fruit.

This year I'm planting more plants, and trying to plant more seeds. I pre-started some basil seeds inside a couple weeks ago and they definitely grew some promising baby plants. But, I put the window box outside on a sunny day, then went to work, and came back to find my baby basil all sunburned. Oops. Lesson learned I guess. I planted the same beans I did last year (not for food, but for some privacy cover) and the leftover basil seeds in one window box, lettuce and spinach in another and peas in another. I don't actually like salad so was just trying to get rid of some free seeds, but I'm excited to maybe get some peas, or at least some viney greenery. I don't really think my window boxes are deep enough to produce much. I'm also trying to grow some flowers from seed - I planted one of those paper wildflower seed cards that I got from some advertisement or something. I'm interested to see what, if anything, appears.

Most of my plants I bought prestarted, to try combat the difficulty of growing in containers, plus I'm impatient, plus I kill plants. I figure using baby plants is a win-win for everyone!

Swiss Chard - the star of my garden last year. I said I was only going to plant half as much, but I planted the same amount. I'll work harder at giving away more. I haven't eaten chard since last summer so I'm actually excited to cook with it again.

Beets - new to the garden this year. I'm curious to see if I get anything useful, though I can tell already the leaves will be prolific and useful. The beets are Molly's favourite. She's definitely a Ukrainian cat.

Herbs - this year I'm growing oregano, cilantro, and two basil plants. That's a purple basil plant!

Mint - I really liked how nice my peppermint looked last year, so this year I'm trying to grow two types: ginger and chocolate mint. I'll probably never eat them, but I'm hoping they'll grow big and beautiful.
I'm growing some flowers too, less for the beauty and more to attract insects to pollinate my zucchinis!

Zucchini - my other favourite from last year. This is a green zucchini...

...and this is a golden zucchini. I'm going to try hand pollinate the flowers this year to try prevent the shrivelling problem I had last year. Unless my flowers work and attract insects to do this for me of course.

Hopefully I'll get some food out of my garden, but I'd be happy with some greenery. It gives Molly somewhere fun to explore, and it gives me a project to care about. If only I could figure out how to keep Molly out of the beets!