Balcony Gardening

Our absolute dream is to have a smallholding in the country, which we would happily fill with children, animals, vegetable plots, soft fruit areas, and even a small orchard.  But while we wait for the lottery win, I guess we will have to hope for a large garden at best.  And back here in reality, we don't even have a garden yet!  But this summer we resolved to make the absolute most of our 1m x 4m south-facing balcony.

We started off with a big garden centre trip to acquire a vegetable growing container and came away with this fab willow construction.  Although we didn't know we'd be growing toddlers in it!


We established that it would be one end for vegetables, and the other for flowers and herbs.  We grew strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, spring onions, tomatoes, peppers, chillies, courgettes, aubergines, lettuce, and stubby carrots.  We also have a great supply of herbs going, including chives, mint, parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary.  My next mission is to get some dill seeds to take.

The vegetable end

All did remarkably well and we had some lovely meals from the produce.  The courgettes, tomatoes and aubergines are still going strong in our mild, sunny South coast climate, and we have planted cauliflowers to grow over winter.  I'm also planning to sow some seeds, such as spinach and radish, in stages to keep us going on the salad front.  Here are some of the products of our labour:

We maintained a beautiful floral display all summer, and with the addition of some autumn and winter plants like dahlias, pansies, violas, and cyclamen, we are hoping it will keep going for some months yet.  We've put hanging baskets all along the front railing, and hung some individual ones from the trellis we've put up at either end.  We've also used some small outside tables and stools to put the pots at varied heights, so it creates a sort of tiered, tumbling effect.  It looks pretty stunning, if I do say so myself!

The girls love helping plant the seeds and seedlings, nurturing them and watching them grow.  They have learnt lots about where food comes from, how it's grown, plant care, mini beasts, and much more.  And they've had great fun out there helping, harvesting and picnicking, and playing with a little sand and water table too.  Everyone has been out there playing in it, from Mini Lalaloopsy dolls to Star Wars figures, My Little Ponies to LEGO.  Great fun!

It has amazed me what we can fit into such a small space, and how much you can grow in that space too.  We haven't bought any tomatoes in months!  I hope we can get some more vegetables growing over the winter, and I can't wait to start all over again next spring.  It also gives me endless pleasure to head out and do a quick recce first thing in the morning, picking the ripe tomatoes, deadheading the flowers, seeing what's come and gone.  Bliss!