Saturday, April 17, 2010

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Tackling a balcony garden with little to no experience? Sounds like fun.

Last year, our balcony focused on flowers, but this year we thought we'd make it work for us a bit harder. Tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and a few herbs grown from scratch should save us a little money in the long run. Of course, that relies on our seeds actually taking hold and producing.

Home Depot kicked things off with a Burpee seed starter kit, some new soil and a smattering of seed packets. Cherry tomatoes, basil, chives, cilantro and a couple types of peppers got us ready to start a balcony garden. Of course, buying a $1 seed packet is one thing. Knowing what to do with the seeds is another, and I cannot say I'm sure I've been doing things correctly. . . 

We started by sowing the tomato seeds in the starter kit. The soil pellets expanded with a little bit of water and 2 seeds were put in each pot. These will stay inside to germinate and grow its first leaves before we transplant outside and leave it to the elements. 
Andersonville has an adorable garden shop called Gethsemane Garden Center - we headed there to pick up a large enough pot for the lettuce and a trellis system of some sort for the tomatoes. Won over by the already colorful leaves of the mesclun lettuce, we decided to take the easy way out and forgo starting the lettuce from seed. 
My mom suggested using gravel for the bottom of the larger pots so you don't need to use up all of your soil. Instead, we tried using a layer or two of craft shop rocks that were back up for filling our hurricane centerpieces.
After transplanting the lettuce babies, we'll keep them watered and see how mature they get in 40-50 days. We paid just over $3.00 for the lettuce, which is less than I typically pay for a bag of lettuce in the grocery store - inevitably wasting half of it as it sits in the crisper and I go salad-less before the expiration date.
While at Gethsemane, I also got an idea for a future project after seeing this terrarium. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Hey! I've got one of these glass fishbowls at home! I could make that!" Stay tuned for what develops there!
I'll be sharing more updates as the seeds start to grow (hopefully!) and the vegetables start coming (hopefully!). Please share any tips you may have - as I said, little to no experience means I've been relying on blog searches, the seed packet instructions and frantic calls to my parents!

PS. The title of this post comes from a song from a kid's record we had growing up that I regularly get stuck in my head. "Inch by Inch, Row by Row. We're gonna make this garden grow. All we need is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground." Come on, sing along!
PPS. I just spent 10 minutes trying to find this album cover only knowing that one guy's name might be Gary. Not too shabby, google search.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I planted some seeds this weekend, too. Lettuce, carrots, and beets. I should start some other things indoors, but I'll probably just buy seedlings next month. :) And I totally want that album now, how fun!