Although I have attempted vegetable gardens in the past, this year is the first time I've really gotten to reap the rewards.
It's hasn't all been successful. I had to throw out both of my pots of strawberries after they developed some sort of fungus (which was very sad as the fruit was coming along nicely) and had to restart my basil several times before the weather was nice enough for it to survive. I also decided to ditch my spindly tomato plant and replaced it with one that was a little further along. Between the unseasonably cool west coast summer and my west facing balcony, my first tomato plant was so far off schedule, I don't think I would have gotten fruit.
Despite all of these glitches, I think things are going pretty well.
I have a tonne of herbs: mint, chocolate mint, rosemary, thyme, lemon verbena, golden sage and parsley. I have no idea what to do with them all!
I also have basil, and this, I know what to do with! I can never have enough basil and wish that it had a longer growing season here in BC. Next year, I will grow LOTS of basil and start it inside. If I can get the basil organized and growing properly, it has the potential to save me lots of money.
My spinach and lettuce have done well and have no problem thriving on my west facing balcony. Throughout June and July, I had at least 2-3 salads a week from my spinach/lettuce pot. Unfortunately, the spinach is now bolting and the lettuce has disappeared. I will replant both again as a fall crop.
I've just started harvesting carrots and I am thrilled with them! I am not sure if it is worthwhile to plant such a small little crop of something that takes so long to grow (and is eaten so quickly), but they feel like a true balcony garden success. Root vegetables are perfect for my partially sunny spot. I will do a fall crop of carrots and perhaps one of beets as well.
Lessons for next year:
* Plant more lettuce and spinach.
* Start basil inside and keep it indoors until July (and plant lots!).
* Buy fruiting tomatos in July.
* Expand root and leafy vegetables.
I think I will also attempt strawberry hanging baskets next year, hopefully the increased sun of a raised location will keep the fungus away!
How does your garden grow?