Most of the new herbs and leafy greens I planted 12 days ago are doing well (with the Asian lettuce varieties doing the best). Finally, the French Beans and Tomatoes are beginning to grow, but I think they could do with a little sun. The Tuscan Kale was planted months ago and I use a couple of leaves fairly regularly – one Kale plant is plenty for me.
I’ve only seen one male Superb Fairy-wren in the last week and he didn’t stay long enough to get his photo taken. He was in full mating colours of Blue. I suspect the rest of the fairy-wrens are nest sitting.
I continue to get visits from the female House Sparrows gathering nesting material. I pick the dead parsley stalks and put them all in the one pot so they can gather what they like.
The aim, (apart from a new hobby), is to grow enough for a salad in Summer & leafy greens all year round. I don’t have room for a whole lot of flowers these days, but I might buy a couple later in the year. If I don’t get around to food shopping, mostly online these days, I can still get something out of the garden to eat. I use an enormous amount of mint and parsley all year round anyway. If I buy a large bunch of these 2 herbs, I find I waste half of it, so best to grow it on my balcony and cut as I need it for dinner.
Took the pest control netted hutch off yesterday 27/9/19 and am hoping for some sun. Right in the middle of the frame, there is GARLIC ‘Early White’ (Allium sativum) bought at the start of the year as a pest deterrant. Will it work? Who knows.
supposed to be Broccoli according to the plant nursery label, but of course it’s some kind of cabbage now that it’s grown
old MINT plant that the birds graze on.
SORREL (Rumex sanguineus) – very old plant that I keep cutting down to stubble and it keeps growing again.
LEMON VERBENA (Aloysia triphylla) – I cut this old plant, bought last year, back in Winter and it grows back in Spring.
SPINACH BABY LEAF (Spinacia oleracea)
Supposed to be ROCKET (can’t find the plant label).
LEMON THYME (Thymus citriodorus) – new plant and seems to grow through the winter too. I use this variety quite a lot. Ordinary THYME (Thymus vulgaris) usually dies back in Winter.
OREGANO ‘HOT & SPICY’ (Origanum sp.)
FRENCH BEAN – Green (Phaseolus vulgaris)
FRENCH BEAN – Green (Phaseolus vulgaris) – finally its starting to grow. I was beginning to think it never would.
BLUEBERRY ‘NELLIE KELLY’ (Vaccinium x corymbusm x ashei x darrowi) – looks a bit lopsided in its new pot, so I’ll prune it into shape at the end of the season.
FRENCH TARRAGON (Artemisia dracunculus). Died right off over Winter, but I bought the perennial variety so its now growing back this Spring.
PEACE LILY (spathiphyllum) – I only repotted it into a larger pot a couple of weeks ago and it’s still growing like ‘wildfire’. I don’t want a large heavy pot to move around, so it’ll have to stay in this size pot.
I have arranged my plants for bother Companion Planting purposes and tried to grew the herbs which don’t like each other at opposite ends of the patch
BASIL PERENNIAL (Mentha x rotundifolia) – needs a bit of support via bamboo stakes in the gusty wind.
This year’s new tomato variety – No 1
This year’s tomato variety – No 2
This year’s tomato variety – No 3
I always keep the plant labels as I can never remember the names or varieties of most of my veggies. I can usually remember the herbs though.
Female House Sparrow gathering nesting material – not a good shot, but she flew away before I could re-focus.
Last week I mentioned being able to distinguish 3 Superb Fairy-wrens now.
One of which was the male with the eclipse (non-breeding) feather pattern and colouring. If you look at the face and the breast below (31st July), you’ll see what I mean. Those tufts of white/fawn/greyish colour are quite noticeable, almost like a moustache and clipped beard or ‘beard’ of one feather.
2 days ago, either this male has gone into full breeding plumage, OR it’s a different bird.
Yesterday, after I’d arrived home from my morning errand, the sun was out and I decided to spend some time in my balcony garden preparing for Spring planting. After re-arranging my potted plants and cleaning up all the winter leaf litter in the corners (and tipping out a few totally pot-bound withered plants and depleted soil), I came indoors to turn the computer on and out of the corner of my eye saw what appeared to be 6-7 wrens in the garden.
It was almost like a party.
Obviously stirring up all the soil and pruning back some herbs to 1″stubble, must have opened up some tasty food for my avian friends.
I noticed that male in full breeding plumage was back again but could see no signs of the fluffy feathers between the blue, SO I think it is my one and only male……. ready to breed.
In one week, he’s ‘changed his clothes’ and put on his best head and chest colours to ‘attract the ladies’.
The sun was a bit too bright, but I managed to get a couple of shots in reasonable focus to share.
This second shot is a bit clearer, but the brilliant sunlight, reflecting off the rain clouds, spoilt the shot a bit and over-exposed the breast feathers.
After all that physical work and heavy pot moving, my right elbow and lower back is extremely sore this morning and it hurts to type, so a couple of days rest is required methinks.
Spring is only 3 weeks away now, so my list for new plant seedlings is getting longer by the day, but I only have room for ‘x’ number of pots and only have the time and energy to carry ‘x’ number of heavy watering cans once the seedlings are planted, so I’ll have to ‘prune’ down my Seedling Shopping List a bit.
After all the weeks of watching and waiting for last year’s experiment in growing Capsicums and ending up with only 6-7 fruit and broken branches from the nightly possum (?) visits, I think I’ll concentrate on tomatoes, baby spinach, more parsley (English curly & Italian flatleaf) and some fast-growing leafy greens – they seem to grow the best on this hot west-facing balcony garden of mine.
Some images from the last 2 Summers below………
Bunnings Hardware Warehouse plant nursery
Plenty of herb and veggie seedlings to choose from.
I’ve tried so many different species, but ultimately have to replant each Spring.
Last year’s acquisition of a net to deter the bugs and birds from my new seedlings.
Now you can see how close my desk is to my garden.
Female Superb Fairy-wren after snacking on my spinach.
I need enough plants to make a salad each day in Summer.
female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN snacking on my Blueberry Bush
THIS IMAGE WAS MADE WHILST SITTING IN MY DESK CHAIR – the perfect viewing point to keep an eye on my bush.
The first few blueberries
Lettuces or not? Hmmmmmm.
Lettuces were successful, but they looked too good to eat.
The 2 parsley plants on the fence rail pot thrived despite the wren’s grazing.
Chives or not? Another hmmmmmmm
Sorrel is virtually indestructible
Always good to see the wrens having fun in the rain.
Last year’s zucchini experiment started off well, but eventually failed – not enough room I suspect
The result of the previous apartment’s balcony was better for some of these leafy greens.
I found 3 Harlequin bugs over-wintering in the Lemon Thyme yesterday, so I REALLYmust find a solution to their infestation this year.