As promised, I’ll share a few insights from starting my first balcony garden. Was it worth it? Well…
Pros of Growing a Balcony Garden
- Potentially save on your produce grocery bill (that is, if your plants actually yield fruit)
- No worms! No centipedes! No major pests like what you would deal with in a backyard (ladybugs, squirrels, groundhogs, and the like)
- It’s relaxing and makes a nice scenery while enjoying your Sunday brunch on your balcony
- It’s good exercise
- It is (or at least should be) cheap to do – biggest bang for your buck
- Being able to run out to your balcony, snip off whatever you need (green onion, rosemary, thyme or tomato) and immediately incorporate it into whatever it is you are making in the kitchen. It’s like having a produce section steps away from your kitchen.
Cons of Growing a Balcony Garden
- You must buy your own soil because you do not have any earth (you don’t realize how much you take free soil in the earth for granted until you want to start your own garden on your balcony)
- Lack of sunlight (but some plants still thrive in such conditions)
- Lack of pollination (you won’t get a lot of bees, so you may have to pollinate your zucchini and squash flowers by yourself)
- Lack of natural hydration (the rain does catch the plants, so you have to be particularly vigilant about watering)
- Pigeons (and their poo)
A word on pigeons: Would you believe that I’ve lived here for years and never saw a pigeon on my balcony and the one time that I decide to use my balcony and plant something, pigeons wanna swarm my balcony and use it as a restroom? Dem facety heh? (They are rude right?). After reading up on what to do online, I tied old CDs with string to stakes and I went back to my hotspot – Dollarama – and purchased a fake owl. It worked for a while, and I did rotate the owl from place to place, but I think the pigeons have caught on. One day I was in my living room and I heard cooing and I was like, “Say word the pigeon is back on my balcony.” Usually it was just one pigeon, but now he’s brought a friend. While I can totally relate to the desire of wanting a comfortable place to go poo, must they do it beside my tomatoes? Like really. I can imagine the dialogue: “Hey! I know a good place where we can poo beside tomato plants. Come. I’ll show you.” I’ve just resigned myself to shooing them away and re-arranging the fake owl ever so often. I haven’t spotted any more poo for a while now (*knock on wood*), but they still like to visit my garden paradise. These birds are brave.
Welp, it’s September. That means that it’s almost harvest time and some of my plants, despite my numerous attempts of care and showering them with love and attention, have failed to produce fruit. Of all of the seeds that I planted, this year I will be getting two short, deformed carrots and maybe 10 – 15 tomatoes (though they are kinda small in size). No zucchini, no cucumber, no cherry tomatoes, no butternut squash, no spinach, no bell peppers…yeah. The herbs are still doing well though. Next time (if there is a next time) I will stick to growing herbs and tomatoes and replanting green onion. Just herbs and tomatoes and green onion.
Do I have a green thumb? I guess not. This experience, however, has taught me a lot about myself and my God. How so? I’ll explain more in my next post.
I’d be interested to know — what have you learned from your gardening adventures?