Welcome to our apartment garden!
During the bar exam Jason and I planted a few things on our balcony. I guess it was the stress that made us go a little overboard, but our balcony is now pretty much half full of plants.
I have always wanted a garden and can’t wait for the day that I have a huge yard and lots of land where I can grow fruit trees and flowers and all sorts of vegetables. But since I have zero experience growing food, our little apartment balcony seemed like a good place to start learning. So back in June I started myself off with two organic herbs: lemon thyme and sweet basil.
Our apartment is on the back side of the building facing woods, and so the porch is extremely shady. Pretty much all herbs need partial to full sunlight, so I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough light back there to grow any herbs. I was surprised to find that the thyme has actually thrived and is very low maintenance. It actually outgrew it’s 6″ pot, so yesterday I moved it to an 8″.
I love the flavor of the lemon thyme, I’m really glad I chose it. It’s a lot lighter and fresher tasting than thyme I usually buy in the grocery store, which makes it a lot more versatile.
The basil didn’t fare as well, which I kind of expected because of the limited sun. It’s still alive but is very scraggly and doesn’t grow much. A few weeks ago I bought a non-organic Italian basil plant, and that one seemed to be doing much better UNTIL a caterpillar got ahold of it and ate a lot of the good leaves (you can see the holes in the picture below). They’re not really growing enough for me to harvest a lot from them, but they’re still alive so I’m keeping them around to see how it goes.
Moving on to the other (more substantial) part of the garden: Jason’s plants! He was actually the one who first decided to put plants on the balcony because he really wants to grow his own peppers. He’s a hot pepper fanatic (makes his own hot sauce and everything) so for him it would be a dream come true to be able to have a variety of his own fresh peppers to pick from right outside.
In June he started with four tabasco plants and a chocolate habanero plant. Take a look at his progress! On the left is one of the tabasco plants in June, and on the right is what it looks like currently.
His habanero plant has done really well, too! Lots of growth.
As you can see, they haven’t grown any peppers yet. Jason’s not too concerned, he said he still thinks they’ll flower and grow peppers before it gets cold.
For all our potting soil and fertilizer we used a great organic garden supply store down the road called Farmer D Organics. That’s also where I got my thyme and the first basil plant. They have an awesome selection of organic plants and their own soil mixes. We really love the potting soil, it holds moisture incredibly well.
I really love having a porch even though it’s small. Our old house in Virginia had a weird layout and even though we had a “backyard”, it was almost always flooded and it looked out onto the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. Not such a serene place to relax. This porch is private on all sides and looks out onto the trees. So peaceful. I can hardly get this little guy to come back inside when we go out there.
See you tomorrow with a great recipe!