It was very windy and quite cold when I got up this morning but decided to step outdoors to check on the Balcony Garden and make my first really large harvest for the season. I do cut herbs regularly, but it was about time I cut some more leafy vegetables (including the lettuces).
So out came the baby veggie ‘shoot’ clippers (about 2 1/2 – 3 inches long) which I use to cut my pea and bean shoots I sprout, and a big plastic bowl to gather in the harvest.
(Gosh, it sounds like I’m a real farmer LOL). I have pretty vivid imagination 😀
I’d been meaning to cut the lettuces for over a week as they weren’t doing as well under the hot, gale-force winds that plagued Melbourne (and the whole eastern seaboard of Australia) for so many days in this last month.
I hope they taste OK.
In fact, my harvest has been pretty ‘ordinary’ compared to Spring last year. Even the lettuces last Spring fared pretty well and they made such good photos that I couldn’t bear to harvest them (below).
By the way, I can see the Purple Coral Pea over the road is in flower at the moment. The images (below) are from when I lived on the north-east side of Melbourne, not here in the western suburbs where I live now.
Purple Coral Pea (Hardenbergia violacea syn. H. monophylla) is a species of flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae, native to Australia from Queensland to Tasmania. It is known in Australia by the common names false sarsaparilla, purple coral pea, happy wanderer, native lilac and waraburra. Wikipedia
I might add, the flowers really are this bright purple at the height of flowering, especially in the blue hour – late afternoon.
Last Spring (2018), the Harlequin Bugs and Cabbage Moth Caterpillars ate nearly every leaf in the Garden except for the lettuces which I’d already harvested.
My trial of growing Capsicums was a failure in the sense that I got about 6-7 ripe red Capsicums at the end of a 13-week wait and only one was ripe at any one time. I think the Possums might have jumped down off the apartment roof and broken 2 of the main branches also.
I need at least 6 large red Capsicums to make my favourite roasted Capsicum salad.
Even the pest control hatch/net I bought last year didn’t keep the birds off the seedlings. One tiny Superb Fairy-wren crept under a loose corner and squeaked pitifully until I went outdoors and lifted the netted hatch up to release it.
So today, first up were the French beans and I gathered enough for one meal. They were still relatively small compared to the supermarket ‘offerings’, but I could see many more 1 – 2″ sized babies and they will be ready to harvest in another 2-3 days at the rate they are growing. The Plant Nursery label DID say they’d come ‘thick & fast’ as soon as they were large enough for the first harvest.
French Beans were a trial on this west-facing hot balcony this year. Actually, I’m always trialling different vegetables these days, but French beans seedlings will be on the Plant Nursery shopping list for 2020. If Melbourne is going to exposed to these severe gusty winds permanently, I’ll have to trial quite a few more vegetable varieties I think.
Then some English Curly Parsley and lots of Mint to make some Tabbouleh this afternoon. I had bought a big bunch of Italian Flat-leaf parsley from the supermarket this week as I still haven’t got around to buying another potted plant for the Balcony Garden to replace the one that went to seed. I was going to go earlier this week but other issues took up some time.
(I make my Tabbouleh with Quinoa, not Bulgar Wheat, by the way).
I’ve had Chick Peas soaking overnight to make a batch of Humus this afternoon.
I clipped a few Beetroot leaves to add to my salad bowl, which together with 3 different lettuces and lots of herbs splashed with home-made French oil & lemon dressing will do for lunch tomorrow.
I had a heaped tablespoon of finely chopped Sweet Basil from my garden with light olive oil on my Buckwheat Pasta a couple of days ago.
Divinely Delicious (is all I can say).
The Sweet Basil, planted at the base of my 3 Heirloom Tomato plants as Companion Plants, has grown a wee bit more than the last Balcony Garden update, but nothing like my usual Summer harvest.
My brother tells me “it’s the weather, its The Weather – so don’t get too disappointed with the slow growth rate of your crops”.
I think he may be right.
There weren’t enough ripe Truss Tomatoes (Heirloom Tomato #1) to harvest so had to rely on supermarket produce yet again.
The whole idea of my Balcony Garden is to be a new hobby (now I can’t do much in the way of Nature Walks), handy to cut a few herbs for dinner each night (as opposed to buying a whole bunch which means I waste half of it being just one person in this household) AND well………….. just for the fun of it 😀
I must admit Bird Watching does come into play as a reason for a Balcony Garden too 🙂