It is about the time to update you on my Project Eden: my never-ending attempt of becoming a pro at balcony gardening with student budget. As a reminder, my strategy was to go for more or less a ton of everything and seeing how far any of the stuff would go. This strategy has definitely resulted in both success and misfortunes: I have managed to kill multiple sets of rucola as well as parsley BUT tomatoes seem to be impossible to kill and cress was delicious in salad!
It has been an amazing weather (in Dutch standards) the whole week, and today, I finally had the time to repot basil, persil and chives as the first growing pot they came in was just not suitable any more (they started to die due to lack of space). Also, I wanted to repot all the tomatoes (each stem seems to require a load of space) but I ran out of pot soil after a few. It is kind of mind-boggling how much soil you actually need: I have already used around 120 litres although I feel like I have not done really anything yet!
Sidenote: I applaud my mother who got me every year a flower/plant to look after during summer holidays. I think the longest they survived for was two weeks: I even killed a cactus…
The short story above manifests how, besides of having a rather questionable gardening strategy, I have absolutely no knowledge of how to keep them alive. Honestly speaking, I may have killed the tomatoes that I replanted today as I only checked the instructions AFTER the whole activity (who knew you were supposed to be gentle with your plants? Maybe it is good that I had a load at the beginning in case these ones died). I blame my engineering education – instructions are for the weak!
I also planted some new stuff (cucumber, lettuce, spinach, courgette and rucola) to replace the load of dead plants of mine. Honestly speaking, I have no clue if it is already too late to start with these plants now and loyal to my gardening style, I will not check. Time will tell.
Anyhow, if the rest of the tomatoes do not start dropping dead, I may have start looking for willing adoptive parents for them. There is no way I will be able to fit all of them on my balcony!
When I was buying my orange tree from every student’s heaven (IKEA), a random woman came screaming at me to NOT buy it. According to her, it was impossible to keep such a plant alive for longer than 2 weeks: she had had 3 and all of them had died within said time period. Well BOOM you woman! I have now successfully kept the plant alive for well over a month now!
Okay, some (majority) leaves may have fallen off and the tree may look like it is suffering but the oranges are definitely ripening each day. Today, one of the fruits dropped and I tried to give it a test taste. The taste is slightly bitter (more like a lemon) but hey, it is from my OWN garden that I have tried to sabotage as much as I could. I am not sure if I have ever been quite as proud of myself, haha!
I have also been receiving messages asking about the current state and appearance of my balcony. I was first hesitant to show it as I wanted to show it once it was ready and it is far from looking like anything (first I thought it would take me merely a weekend. Wrong.) but hey, we are on this journey together so why not share how it looks like now. As a reminder, this is how the balcony used to look like:
And here is how the balcony looks currently:
As you can see in the photos, the balcony has some greenery. The concrete was so darn cold to walk on (hot in summer) that I wanted to put something on it. First, I wanted to go for a deck sort of a situation: too expensive. After a hunt around, I found some ‘camping grass’ at Kwantum for a relatively cheap price. The best part of the mat is that even if all my plants die, there will still be some green on the balcony: win-win! Did you know that Dutch people seriously take their own ‘grass’ with them when they go camping?
There are also some pallets on the balcony currently. They are waiting for a project that I want to do (and share with you guys once finished). I hope I will have the time this weekend!
After comparing the before and ‘after’ photos, I can really see an improvement in the appearance of the balcony. It may not be Eden just yet but sure as hell is getting somewhere!
Now, it is time to get back to real life and finish washing the dishes.
Have you planted some vegetables this year? If so, are they still alive?
Can you guess what I will be doing with the pallets?
Let me know in the comment section below!