Rose: Garden Update, Weeks 4-5

My garden has really taken off in the past two weeks.

I wasn’t sure how this experiment was going to go. I’m sure you could sense my hesitation during the first week. While growing a garden is always the food it produces, there is so much more to it for me. I have a competitive spirit, and so, I wanted this garden to thrive. But even more so than that, I wanted to know I could garden in another place, in my new life.

Gardening happened to me by accident three years ago. I’d never really thought of planting a garden until my roommate planted hers. I would help with weeding and watering. I’d make zucchini bread and can tomatoes. But I really wasn’t into it … not like now.

When she moved out, I started to care a little more. It was either plant the garden or give up. And the second just wasn’t really an option. And so, I researched and asked questions and tried my hardest to figure everything out. I kept up with my plants the best I could, and that summer I had more vegetables than I knew what to do with.

While I can’t produce the same volume of vegetables on my New Jersey balcony, I can still grow these greens. The tomatoes are reaching taller than ever — I can’t wait until I see a tiny tomato plant take root. The lettuce leaves are so close to being turned into a salad. My onions are nestled nicely under the soil, waiting to make their August appearance. And my peppers continue to grow just a bit more, day by day.

I may not have eaten one vegetable from this garden yet, but it might be the best garden I’ve ever grown. I did something new. I stepped out of my comfort zone. And now, this new life is thriving.

Rose: Garden Update, Week 3

Things are certainly progressing in my potted garden. And it’s certainly been an educational experience. A potted garden is much different than a backyard garden. I used to water my garden nightly in Pittsburgh, standing there with the hose. Now it seems I barely have to water the pots, thanks to all the rain. In fact, my pots have been getting a little bit of a green film on top — and it’s actually algae. I’ve been looking into this and, while it’s not harmful to the plants, it is caused by overwatering. So I’ve been trying to rein things in a bit and let my plants dry out a bit more.

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Overall, the tomatoes seem to be growing quite well (top left). In a close second would be my leafy spinach greens. While the green beans were doing well (lower left), they ceased growing when the cat ate the leaves. Eeek. And I’m finally, finally seeing a little sprout from the bell peppers. I have other pots, too, but they aren’t growing with as much significance. Still, by August, I might actually be able to consume some of these greens!

I can’t tell if I’m being impatient, or if these items are growing less quickly in pots. I swear my garden was half thriving by this time last year, but I may be wrong. I wonder if I should’ve planted some started plants, instead of by seed. But this is an interesting challenge, I think. Right now, everything has sprouted except for my cucumbers. I decided to throw in a few more seeds into the cucumber pot to see what happens. Nevertheless, I’d say this is a pretty solid start for someone who has never before managed a balcony garden! Fingers crossed I can eat a salad by my 30th birthday.

How is your garden growing?