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 Post subject: Winter Balcony Garden...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:44 pm 
Tofu Pup
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:50 pm
Posts: 14
I want to grow one. Only,I've never grown a garden OF ANY KIND before.
Oh, and my mother planted the seed in my head that we're all "black thumbs" from the age of like 5.

I'd love to harvest almost anything edible,but I'm most interested in starting out with winter greens. Is it extremely diff? My home is in the southern US, so it's pretty temperate right now, we've had a very mild season so far, other than one or two cold snaps.

Any advice?
Am I hopeless?
Too late, and I'll have to wait till spring to get some fresh organic veg from home?

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Winter Balcony Garden...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:02 pm 
Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:13 pm
Posts: 63
No, you're not hopeless, and no, it's never too late!

The best thing really would be to find someone nearby who is growing something, and you can ask them about varieties that do well in your area, and what sorts of things you might need to do in case it gets too cold, etc.

If you get about 4-6 hours of sunlight a day on your balcony, you should be able to grow leafy greens and herbs, at least. You'd need more for root or fruit vegetables.

Start with something easy, like green onions. Buy a bunch from the store, cut off the bottoms, and put them in a pot with a mixture of potting soil and compost. A pot about 8" tall and at least 6" around. You could plant about 5 or six cuttings in there.

Water only when the soil is dry when you stick your finger into it about an inch. That might not be every day; it might be less, depending on how warm and dry it is in your area.

Other easy things to start are kale, bok choy or most Asian greens, and lettuce. If you're new, it's easiest to start with seedlings (sold in packs of 6 or 8, usually). But they are all super easy to start from seed, too.

If you do that, sprinkle a bunch in one pot, and cover with a thin layer of soil. Water until they sprout and get to be about 2 inches tall, at least. Or until the first set of true leaves (not the first two that come out). When they are bigger, separate them into separate pots, or even better, a larger planting box, which won't dry out as fast. Or planting bags (see my post in the thread on sub-irrigation).

If you do a planter box, you can plant green onions and kale in the back, and lettuce in the front, so they don't block the sun.

Again, if you can find another gardener in your area, they are extremely likely to be willing to share seeds with you. Take a walk through your neighborhood and look in people's yards.

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 Post subject: Re: Winter Balcony Garden...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:21 pm 
Tofu Pup
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:50 pm
Posts: 14
Alina,

You area doll for this! I'm going to be traveling for the next week or so, but I will definitely be doing more research in anticipation of starting something small at the beginning of the year. I'm going to check out MeetUp & look for bloggers in my city to possibly connect with & get going.

I will keep you guys posted on what happens.

BTW, I just saw your book thumbnail on Amazon like two days ago when I was browsing! I'll have to check it out now. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Winter Balcony Garden...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:29 am 
Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:13 pm
Posts: 63
Thanks, Laine. Don't be too quick to give up once you start, too. Even though there can be lots of problems when gardening, the rewards are great...

Here's a fantastic gardening forum, with lots of amazingly experienced gardeners. You'll probably be able to find someone in your neck of the woods there already.

http://idigmygarden.com/forums/

But I must warn you...once you start growing all these unusual vegetables, fruit, and herbs, you may get hooked! (I suggest Buttercrunch and Bronze Arrowhead lettuce and Black Cherry tomatoes). Both can handle your weather and be grown in containers (like a 5-gallon bucket for the tomatoes) and are some of the most delicious varieties out there.

AND, you're in luck--our gardening season, and yours, too, most likely--has just begun! So you can start immediately! (Do you like daikon, radishes, mizuna, arugula, turnip greens? You can be eating them in about a month, if you plant right away.)

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Alina Niemi
Author of The New Scoop: Recipes for Dairy-Free, Vegan Ice Cream in Unusual Flavors (Plus Some Old Favorites),
Lizard Lunch and Other Funny Animal Poems for Kids, and The Hawaii Doodle Book
http://alinaspencil.com


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