When I first started growing plants on a balcony, I was somewhere between treating them like ground plants and treating them like indoor plants. I was adding at times too much fertilizer or too little (or, if it was a liquid fertilizer, too infrequently in too large a dose). If it was something that could have been done wrong, at some point I probably did it.
Over the course of a couple years, that’s mostly changed. This year I’m trying something wild – planning out which plants will go where, and when the seeds will get started. I’ve done some deep digging into where and how the sunlight falls on the balcony (starting around 10:20am now, as late as 12:20pm in summer), how much light I have (almost exactly 8 hours a day, across the whole year), and which plants need to be replaced or repotted.
Until recently, I’ve been having some fun starting plants willy-nilly and seeing what’ll happen. I’d try to force plants to live on long past when I should have started new ones. Now I want to actually produce a bit of extra green stuff for eating or cooking or smelling nice. This will be one of the first time I’ll be starting seedlings indoors and transplanting them when the time is right, not just when I need the dirt space. The next big date should be around mid-March, when the cold and windy season dies down – and it’ll be time to transplant.
If you’re interested in joining in with the Six on Saturday format, check out where it all started! If you look down in the comments, you’ll see just about every other type of garden showing off their 6.
The blueberries and tomatoes are not doing so well. On the side of the blueberries – I had crammed too many other plants into this planter at the start. It was then a slow war of attrition for the next year, as the plants fought for dominance. None of them really made much fruit, so I guess none of the plants (or my kitchen) won that fight. After the other plants died, I tried to get the damaged and wasted blueberry back to producing, but it never seemed to recover properly. My originally poor watering practices probably helped compact the soil too. I don’t have much room available, and it’s time to refresh it and turn it over to better practices. If you look close, you might see another small pot where I was ambitiously starting a grapefruit from seed.
Going in place of the blueberries and old tomato will be two varieties I’ve never tried growing. I picked the two classics that I know I’ll eat… usually in the form of antipasto. Roma and Cherry. They should be a little less stressful than the aptly-named Celebrity variety I had been growing before. There’s no guarantee any will actually make it to the kitchen, as I’m just as likely to eat them right off the vine.
This ceramic pig-shaped planter has held a variety of flowers throughout history – california poppies, forget-me-nots, and chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemums were cleared out during winter after over a year of life. Now it’s time to use the planter for Shishito peppers. It should be plenty large enough to encourage a happy pepper plant to grow. I just have to figure out how to get the dirt to drain a bit better. Can’t really punch new holes in a ceramic pig unless I want some broken bacon bits.
I picked up some paperwhite bulbs a few weeks back and finally put them into the ground. We’re past the worst of winter here and I’m not sure when these should go into the ground. I’ve decided that the time is now! These are just for fun to see what happens. I know I’m working on planning out and properly timing the garden, but I can’t help but throw some bulbs in and see what surprises me later. Maybe I should dedicate a planter toward a wildflower mix to scratch that itch.
My wife and I went hunting for snow on the peaks overlooking Los Angeles. We could see snow on a few of the peaks overlooking Rancho Cucamonga, in a stretch of the San Gabriel Mountains. I’ve never experienced such tenuous, mild-mannered snow before! The air was a pleasant 65 degrees, and the snow was perfectly soft for snowballs. The snow was melting where sunlight would normally hit during the day, but held on in the canyons and on the steeper north faces of the mountains. Even wilder, the map told us we were only 6 miles away from the northern edge of the city.
Snow, within miles of LA, in warm and sunny T-shirt weather. My concept of seasons has never been so ruined.
Valentine’s is right around the corner. Here’s a new leaf on a philodendron, shaped like a heart. I think it’s a cutie.