In what is most likely the last entry in our 2010 balcony garden series, how about we look at how our herbs, veggies and flowers fared, what we spent and what we will look to do a little differently next year. Here's a quick shot of our tomato plants - bonus addition of cat in bucket.
We ended up probably getting about 40 or so cherry tomatoes and about 10 romas. They came in gradually and ripened at different rates which was good because we didn't want to be eating salad every single night.
The fruits of our labor were so small that salad was really the only option for them. Of course, we got creative one night and made "tomato, basil, mozzerella in a bowl" drizzled with balsamic when we didn't have any lettuce at home.
I think I've already shared that I won't be attempting flowers from seed next year - they just took too darn long to do anything and I want to be enjoying them in May and June! Luckily, our zinnias finally came in and I love how many colors sprouted out of the pot. Looking back I would have picked shorter plants for this pot as they gave themselves hunchbacks the bigger they grew.
Because it was our first real year of gardening, albeit on a balcony, I think we spent more than we would in a normal year. We had to pick up at least 4 large pots for the lettuce and tomato plants as well as seed starter kits and a couple metal staking systems. I also bought a few smaller pots for the extra basil plants I gave away to friends or kept up myself.
My sister and brother in law utilize this tomato grower extraordinare, the EarthBox Garden Kit. It helps control water distribution and also keeps the crazy vines in check with the staking accessories. We looked into this once our seeds started to turn into something bigger than our smaller pots could handle, but the $50 price tag made us hold off on going to that option this summer - maybe next year?
It was still fun to see some successes in going from this:
So what's the plan for next year?
- Buy flowers at the nursery, not from seed.
- Set up a gro-light contraption over the seed starter kits during March/April timeframe when they are not getting a ton of natural light from inside the apartment.
- Try out peppers or one other vegetable, but probably continue tomatoes and lettuce.
- Plant cilantro early and carefully. After a month of nurturing, I realized I was watering a weed.
- Pick herbs I'll actually use. While basil is easy to find uses for, my chives remain almost untouched.
Now I'll just have to rely on my parents' garden for some fall goodies like squash, zuchinni and pumpkins!