The Garden Share Collective: Turning of seasons

Summer is not the best time of years for my balcony. Autumn and winter are far more favourable seasons, with cooler weather, forgiving sunshine and much more rain. Being out on the balcony with a hot cup of tea first thing in the morning before the SO even stirs in bed is one of my daily pleasures.

While we don’t really experience the true turning of seasons here in Brisbane, the weather has finally turned down a couple of notches and I find myself rummaging through the back of the wardrobe for the space bags of sweaters, coats and stockings. The sun doesn’t feel so harsh on the skin and early mornings mean winding scarves and tucking feet into boots before stepping out the door.

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

With the weather cooling, the balcony garden has been taking things a little slower, but it’s still being productive. I’ve done a bit of reading and have realised that I have neglected to mix compost with potting mix to maximise the nutrient content in my potting mix. Going on a drive into the country to pick up a bag of manure has been on my to-do list for awhile now, but we keep forgetting, so we picked up a AUD$3 bag from Bunnings instead.

I’ve sowed my next batch of salad greens – lettuce and radishes. These two troughs used to have white alyssums and failed attempts at planting rocket, so they’ve been turned out and re-filled with a half and half mixture of potting mix and compost (and a generous sprinkling of slow release fertiliser). We seem to eat a fair bit of baby salad plants, so one has been sown with a mix of beetroots, lettuce and tatsoi. The other has a mix of garlic and regular chives. Based on last year’s experience, they wilted like melted butter under the summer sun, so I have my fingers crossed they’ll feel and grow better in autumn. Thus far, everything looks promising. Both troughs are just starting to see the seedlings sprout through.

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

As you can see, my tatsoi has faced a number of ‘haircuts’ and still has been holding up well to the abuse.

After seeing the price of passionfruit in the markets these days, I’ve decided to try growing our own on the balcony. A trip to Bunnings led to us bringing home two – one is the commonly available black and the other is a Panama red. Both are more mature and apparently suitable for container planting. They will be given the entire balcony to trellis, which is hopefully enough room seeing as they can grow 10 metres per year. Hopefully we’ll see some fruit in 18 months.

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

Asparagus shoot

My worm bin is still much too small to produce enough worm castings for all the balcony pots, but after a year of worm farming, I decided to harvest some of the worm castings. Exposing the little slimey soldiers to force them into diving deeper into the black gold felt cruel, but it was the only way to ensure I didn’t accidentally remove them from the farm. The harvest went into a Styrofoam box of soil, and lo and behold, a bunch of tomato seedlings sprouted. With no idea what variety these are, I’ll just have to wait till harvest time to find out what we got. Who says gardening doesn’t have surprises?

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

I’m giving my dwarf sugar snap peas another go this season and I had my fingers crossed. Initially, it looked like all 4 seedlings were doing very well and just starting to flower and pod, but quickly withered away. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not watering them too much or too little. I have it on my list to re-mix the potting mix to try again.

Garden Share Collective - June 2014

 

TheGardenShareCollective150pixThis blogpost is part of the Garden Share Collective, a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills.

Got a balcony or small space garden and care to share its progress? Join us at the Garden Share Collective.

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