Moving garden

Well, it’s been a busy few months, and it’s amazing how things grow with very little input from the gardener, I just water things a bit, and hey presto, it’s big and green! Things have been moving quickly in other parts of my life too, and soon (in about two weeks) I shall be moving from Leicester to Oxford where the balcony will be upgraded to small back yard with, get this, soil. So I thought that I would spend the intervening time looking at the highlights of what has been grown and show you a few photographs of the vegetable bounty that has been sprouting on my chilly north-facing, weather-beaten balcony.

This photograph was taken a little while back and shows bay, lavender, mint, thyme, sage, miscellaneous decorative plants that I can’t remember the names of, as well as rosemary, oregano, tarragon and parsley. I’ve also planted up my old boots with nasturtiums – I felt this was a good bit of recycling as the boots were past fixing, and the holes that used to let in water to my feet, now act as drainage holes. Last year I grew nasturtiums in a trough, and all of the leaves pushed themselves through the grill of the balcony which was a wonderful sight from the street, and saved space on the balcony (although we couldn’t enjoy the colour as much). Young nasturtium leaves and flowers add some interesting flavour to salads.


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Inspired by the Eden Project

A week or so back my husband and I had a wonderful long weekend in Cornwall. Our primary reason for going was to visit the Eden Project.

The Eden Project is superb – such a feeling of festival! I particularly enjoyed the Mediterranean Biome, for its fantastic sculptures, olive trees, and the gorgeous summery vegetable planting of courgettes, fennel, tomatoes, basil, coriander, red onions and rosemary. I felt healthy just looking at it…

When we returned home I was delighted to see that the sun had been shining in Leicester and my plants had been GROWING. I was especially pleased to see the perpetual spinach had leaves big enough to start harvesting, the polycress was also large enough to eat, and the beans and peas looked strong, healthy plants, unlike my tomato plants…

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Sowing Seeds

Welcome to my blog on the subject of learning to grow food on a 10’x4′ balcony.

My first experience of gardening was gleaned from my parents who would put a lot of energy into the large-ish back and front gardens we had at our home. Dad would do the hard landscaping – putting raised beds around the bottom of the garden and creating a pond with waterfall, making use of the steep slope that was already there, and Mum would gradually make the lawn smaller and smaller as she acquired more plants – birthday and Mothering Sunday gifts and cuttings from Grandma.

In 2006 I moved to Leicester to pursue a postgraduate diploma in community arts practice at DeMontfort University. After having lived in semi-rural locations and studied music for three years in Canterbury – I moved into a flat in a noisy part of town. Nearby there is a large patch of wasteland which is overgrown with brambles, and a small wildlife garden. Apart from this, there are very few trees or plants around, and the street outside is the domain of buildings, cars and delivery vans.

I never really thought about growing plants on the balcony – it was simply instinctive. And now I have run out of space, I thought I should share my experience and encourage others. I hope this helps!

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