My Balcony Garden looked almost like a jungle yesterday, so what with the day bursting with sunshine and brilliant blue sky, I got straight down to work after lunch and pruned, groomed, re-potted and…….scrubbed the seepage stains off the large concrete tiles – well, most of them, (and dare I say I ended up so stiff that I could barely get out of bed this morning 😀 ).
The baby spinach has ‘bolted’ (just like the rocket did the first week after it was planted in early September). See the upper half of the image below.
I transferred the Perennial Basil to a larger pot which I’d been meaning to do for a couple of months but hadn’t a large plastic pot free back then. (I’ve got so many potted plants this year, I really don’t want to waste money on more plastic pots, so I just waited for natural attrition, if that’s the right word). Herbs don’t usually like being moved once they’ve got established, but I’ve found in the past, that as long as you don’t disturb the roots too much and keep the water up, they survive and thrive upon transplanting……well, they do for me.
I’ve got several empty pots at the moment as plants have keeled over and died in the heat and wild weather. Many of my herbs are not looking too good at the moment, but with the weekend and early next week almost back to winter temperatures and rain forecast, some plant growth should get a boost. Did I say cold and rain (for the first week of Summer here in Melbourne)?
Heirloom Tomato #2 (below) has got so many green tomatoes, I feared the branch would break, so did a lot of re-staking and re-tying to my bamboo canes yesterday also. One of the other branches has more new flowers so that heirloom tomato variety is definitely a ‘winner’.
I wish they’d ripen though. I’m getting impatient and I usually have all the patience in the world. Perhaps I’m impatient as the 3 new Tomato plants are all new Heirloom varieties and I can’t wait to taste them.
Heirloom Tomato #3 has yet to fruit, but this plant has lots of flowers as I mentioned in the last garden update (below) so ‘fruit babies’ are due very soon.
Even my Rosemary bush is looking a bit ‘ordinary’ and rather glum (well, glum was more a description of how I was feeling). I might have got a bit over-zealous with the watering of this hardy Mediterranian Herb which should stay on the drier side.
For the first time in many years, I haven’t got any Harlequin Bugs or Cabbage Moth Caterpillars in the new burst of new Spring growth. Amazing……. or Worrying…….. I don’t know how to interpret their absence. The original post on caterpillers says it all (in the past).
Maybe, even they, are giving my garden a ‘wide berth‘ and snacking elsewhere (out of the wind).
But the funniest sight was the House Sparrows and male Superb Fairy-wren standing on the balcony fence looking here, there and everywhere, for the Parsley long trough I usually have attached to the balcony fence railing. (sorry I haven’t a photo of the birds as I didn’t get the camera out of its soft pouch in time).
In the end, late yesterday afternoon, they flew down to the English Parsley seedlings I’d planted in other pots and had a nibble.
I hadn’t hidden the Parsley trough. I’d merely put it on the balcony floor (above) in preparation for buying and planting a new Italian ‘flat-leaf’ parsley to fill in space previously occupied by one (in the other half of the English Parsley trough).
The Italian Parsley had gone to seed some weeks ago.
I pruned the Lemon Verbena back to half as it was nearly dying in the hot sun. I’ve now moved it up the north (or right-hand side) of the balcony which gets less hot sun in the afternoons and it is starting to throw out new shoots.
It’s probably the weird and wild weather we’ve been having in Melbourne (and across the whole eastern side of the country) that’s changed so much of the growing habits of this small balcony garden.
I plucked off all the yellow and dying leaves of the other 2 Mint plants and given them more water and they’ve sprung back to the prime of health (below).
At least I have a nice handful of French Beans ready and waiting for dinner over the weekend. It seems like only a week ago I had one bean about 1″ long. Now they’re growing thick and fast and I’m pleased to say my first trial, with growing green beans on my hot west-facing balcony, seems to be a complete success.
I keep turning, moving & swapping plants around with 2-3 small pots coming indoors for a break from the sun & wind regularly, but moving the pots around yesterday revealed more of the sawdust blown over the road from the construction site in last week’s storm.
It’s all very well to grow plants on one’s balcony, but being a rented apartment does mean I have to keep it clean & tidy as per my lease agreement (just in case you wondered why I make so much effort to tidy up so often).
I hadn’t scrubbed the tile floor for some time and it was getting to be quite stained from both watering and watering with diluted seaweed fertilizer in the watering can.
Just spotted a new couple of House Sparrows on the fence. They’re so small, I assume they’re this Spring’s hatchlings. I managed to catch one with the telephoto lens, but the light was behind it, so not necessarily as good a photo as those made on the southern end of the fence.
Almost all avian visitors in the last couple of days have been very small, so I assume they’re ‘newbies’ to my apartment balcony. Once they explore a bit more and get used to the birdbath, I’m sure I’ll get some better photos.
……and I also spotted 3-4 of the tiniest Fairy-wrens I’ve ever seen on the fence 20 minutes ago – both male and female – but they flew down into the thick foliage of the Japanese Maple. I watched their shadows move around the tree for a while, but couldn’t get any photos.
Sorry about that – they were so cute and obviously recently hatched.