Back to the Future

This week in the Flog:

  • First look at the balcony after my 2 month trip
  • Covering the good and the bad of the garden

Hah – what an aptly named post. I was away on a trip to the States for two months visiting family, celebrating my wedding with my wonderful wife, working, and playing in other peoples’ gardens. On our return I got to check out the balcony garden after 2 months of [partial] neglect.

I left simple instructions with a friend to water every other day, spray with Mitey Spray once per week, and that’s about it. Since the garden had some space in it, I planted some seeds the day I left. Peas, beans, watermelon and cantaloupe, a few others.

It’s exciting to see everything now that I’m back! You can tell some things grew up and died in the span we were away. Overall the garden looks great though. There are some successes and failures. Let’s take a look.

The calamansi tree looks great! It has lots of fresh leaves and is clearly thriving. No blooms but that is a seasonal thing. The sage pot looks great as well, slowly growing away.

Patio Garden - Calamansi

The calamansi tree is looking great!

The 2 broccoli plants that were sprouts when I left are large now, but infested with white flies. You can’t tell in this picture but they are covered underneath with whiteflies. They are large but there is no hint of blooming yet. I’m going to have to work on getting a harvest from them. I think the heat will make it impossible, but at least the leaves are nutritious for Opi, the intrepid bearded dragon balcony resident.

Patio Garden - Broccoli

This big broccoli plant is hiding a lot of whiteflies

There are also some plants with mite issues. Clearly my Mitey Spray is not completely effective (or my friend wasn’t as diligent as she could have been). You can see in this picture some pale leaves (circled) – these are all mite infested. I’ll have to work on the insecticide spray, possibly reworking it as discussed in the comments on that post.

Patio Garden - Mite Damage

There aren’t too many mites but there are a couple infested plants (circled)

The purple basil has gone crazy in my absence. I planted quite a bit and now its all grown up and bloomed! It is also absolutely infested with aphids. Its interesting none of the other plants around have aphid issues except the basil. You can see here the blooms sticking out from my balcony. The inset shows a bloom up close – yuck.

Patio Garden - Purple Basil Blooms

The purple basil grew up and bloomed! Too bad they are all covered in aphids. I’m going to chop these soon.

The egg plants are grown and looking great with blooms but no fruit! Not sure the issue, but there are mites and that could be part of it. We will see how that goes. On a positive note the labuyo peppers have born fruit – lots of it. The first couple are turning red. These are big birds-eye-chilis!

Patio Garden - Labuyo Peppers

These little birds-eye chilis look great and taste hot! How cool is it to grow your own hot peppers huh? I know…

Here’s a look at the garden overall after I cleaned up a bit. Looking green! I picked some fresh beans today as well as a couple peppers (so hot). It sure is nice to get back to the garden after that long break. And there’s Opi in the middle hangin out with a bit of food (veggie).

Patio Garden - The Whole Deal

The whole garden, with Opi chilling in the middle with a snack. He’s a bearded dragon and he loves the garden!

Where do we go from here?

The balcony garden has been great. It’s been a fun project to follow but I’d like to do a little more with the Flog for you guys. I’m going to try and mix in more alternative posts. Next week will be the first in a series of posts on composting and some composting experiences I’ve had here on the balconies. There will be other interesting topics following that. We’ll still cover the balcony garden, but hopefully some other interesting stuff as well.

  • Nancy Collins

    Congratulations on your wedding and marriage!

    Is Opi “yours” or did he just appear? Does he eat your plants at will, or only what you feed him? I assume he helps keep bug populations down.

    You’ve done remarkably well with your tiny garden! Have been following its development.

    Looking forward to learning of your composting experiences. Have you considered vermicomposting? Or soldier fly larvae (they eat faster…)?

    Thanks,
    Nance

    • Patrick

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks! It was an awesome celebration back in Oregon. Yep the garden is going pretty well, I’m just enjoying having a garden again despite still living in the city.

      Opi is mine, I got him here as a present from my wife actually back when we were dating! He eats some plants at will, the ones I’ve left growing purposefully within his reach. I’m not sure how good he is at hunting wild bugs – I feed him roaches that I raise on the other balcony. Actually the topic of the first composting post! Cockroach composting! They are incredible composters. Super efficient, like BSF – which are the topic of another in that series. And yep, vermi composting too!

      Cheers,
      Patrick

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