Sunday 2 June 2013

Contrary Gardening

I've blogged about the peace that I get from gardening in previous posts so I'll spare you any tearful nostalgia. This is more of a 'why did we not think of this before' type post with a portion of 'this is what we've done so far' thrown in for good measure.

Ever since moving here a year and a bit ago our lovely yet naked south facing balcony has been crying out for some seasonal colour and interest. So as soon as the snow stopped falling and the icicles melted in late March, I've been making forays into a large unfamiliar shop called 'B&Q' and acquainting myself with the seasonal aisle of the large supermarkets nearby.

I started off small; a few square pots, a couple of longer troughs with simple begonias, sweet Williams (or Bonkers Bobs, as they're now christened) and some cute looking geraniums. I had no wish to buy a load of stuff and then either lose interest, or it turn out that I don't have green fingers. I was also keen to see how successful transplanting ordinary supermarket hot house herbs would be. Realistically I didn't suppose I would get bored mainly because I was growing edibles and really, who doesn't want a constant supply of pesto ingredients?

So now we have a number of flower tubs which are looking wildly out of control with their little red sunburned faces looking out at the view, massive leaved geraniums, but more excitingly we have also branched out into comestibles other than herbs (basil, parsley, chives, thyme). In a burst of flatmate solidarity, V also wanted to try her hand at this growing malarkey and so bought some pepper seeds and was pleased when all but one of the 12 seeds sprouted. I managed to coax out some home dried chillies and they are quite happy looking little plants so far. I've tried lettuce and radishes too so we are really going for it in the salad department.

The balcony is now looking beautifully verdant and lush with small plants springing up all over the place. And today we realised that we have a way of expanding our green empire. We popped upstairs to set our spare chilli and pepper seedling free and had a bright idea. What about turning some of the neglected raised beds into a food producing Contrary Towers salad bar?

Armed with tough gardening tools*, a wide range of seeds**, and a watering can*** we went upstairs for our first real attempt at non trough gardening. If this is successful, we may have to take over the entire roof, rather than just a couple of square metres. So watch this space!

* Forks. We now need new cutlery
** Lettuces and radishes
*** Bottle of water

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