I thought it was time for a little update on how we’re getting on with our balcony garden given that it’s been just over two months (!) since I wrote my first post.

I would describe the progress so far as being mixed. There’s a lot more green stuff out there than there was a few months ago (and I’ve grown a tiny strawberry!) but I’ve also killed quite a lot of seedlings/plants too, generally by a mixture of over and under watering. Watering really stresses me out.


I originally started out with a lavender plant (pictured above and now deceased), another plant which I never remembered the name of (also deceased) and some raspberry canes (looking pretty healthy!). I think bought seeds for growing basil, rosemary, tomatoes, chillies and salad. All of this first batch died, mostly bceause I went away for Easter and didn’t leave them enough water. This is a really cheery update isn’t it?  I haven’t even got to the plant that was squashed to the point of destruction by a pigeon.


But despite all the setbacks, I have not lost heart! In the last few weeks, I think things have gone from strength to strength, not least because I gave up on the idea of growing things from seeds (apart from the second batch of basil which is holding firm and salad leaves which I’ve been reliably informed that even an idiot can grow) and bought little plants from the garden centre instead. This was a much better idea, as evidenced by the aforementioned tiny strawberries.  That tomato plants and carrots that I bought are also looking pretty good and I have quite a selection of herbs in the kitchen now, all of which I’ve successfully potted and kept alive for several weeks (although I admit that the parsley is looking a little ropey).



Apart from the herbs, we’re yet to eat anything that we’ve grown although I think some of the salad leaves (below) are probably ready for harvest and I hope the strawberries aren’t too far away. I’m a little worried that everything is going to die when we go on holiday in a couple of weeks but I’m hoping that my boyfriend will rig up some kind of intricate watering system to keep them happy while we’re away.


I think it’s fairly evident at this point that I’m not much of a gardener despite my diligent watching of Gardeners’ World every Friday. That said,  I can’t help but love every moment that I get to spend in my balcony garden and hopefully by the time I write my next update, I’ll be able to wax lyrical in a fairly pretentious way about all the delicious fruit and vegetables that we’ve grown in our little urban oasis!

25 Responses to "my balcony garden – an update"
  1. Good for you! Starting to garden can be a little bit of a trial-and-error process, as I know from experience. But you’ll learn with every new plant (and with every plant that doesn’t thrive) + it’ll get easier, and more prolific, and more fun. =) And yes, it looks like those salad leaves might be ready for plucking (and eating). Happy gardening!

  2. Alex says:

    Hang in there! Looks like you got a lot of good going on :) Getting proper watering while away is the hardest — Europe trip destroyed our strawberry dreams last year. Does the London spring start a lot earlier than here in the U.S.? We’ve only had our plants out for a few weeks.

  3. Katie says:

    My parents have a high tech watering system based on plastic bottles that they use to save their pots on their (frequent) holidays. I will hit them up for details. Except they are currently on holiday so it’ll be a couple of days.

  4. I am a terrible gardener but my husband does a great job with the limited space we have. We have a small terrace with some flower boxes and this year we are growing some herbs! I do look forward to maybe having a house with a real garden someday. Yours look like they are doing great so far!!

  5. Oh man I’m impressed you attempted to grow some things from seed! I have a hard enough time keeping them alive when we buy the baby plants at the nursery. We will be buying ours in the next few weeks and I can’t waiiiiiit. I’m gonna make all the pesto and mojitos and tomato salads this summer. It’s my favorite time of year. CSA + rooftop garden = happy Sara :-)

  6. Yay! So glad that you’ve got a couple plants surviving and thriving. During our first year at the house in Portland, the boyf planted many things that didn’t come to fruition (ehem, died immediately). Our second year, he worked it out and now our garden is doing well! It’s always a ton of trial and error when you first start; hang in there — you’re doing way better than we were when we first started.

  7. haha I knew I liked you. fellow plant killer over here, but ever hopeful! I bought a big lot of fresh herb starts at the nursery a few weeks ago and, so far, they’re all still with us. Fingers crossed!!

  8. Erica says:

    Oh my gosh this just makes me smile! My roommate and I are working on our balcony garden skills too so it’s awesome seeing your progress – you have quite a bit more green than we do! Definitely have the same issues with watering haha, never imagined it’d be stressful but it totally is. Love the update! :)

  9. Emma says:

    I never have much luck with seeds, I have a black thumb so its best I start with something thats already on its way :) Good luck!

  10. Heather says:

    Kathryn, I’m super impressed that you tried to grow things from seed. That being said, OMG, it is so difficult. Unless you have a greenhouse with proper lights, temperature control, etc. You’re better off starting from tiny plants, in my opinion. I’m curious how the lavender died? When I first moved into this house we had 10 overgrown lavender plants, and I would have loved to kill them. I had to painstakingly rip them out of the ground, which was a feat in itself. Your garden looks great so far. I love getting the first little strawberry of the year. My plants have produced about 6, and I’m so excited for more! Keep up with the good work.

  11. That’s so great to grow vegetables, herbs and other plants on a balcony. It’s not because you’ve got no garden that you shouldn’t be able to grow plants :)
    It may be hard at the first time, but with patience I’m sure your plants will grow healthy :)

  12. Yay for your garden! All the failures included, that’s how it always seems to go. We lost a bit with our first garden too, then had some crazy successes out of no where, and learned a ton. Thank goodness for the few that hold on and give you hope! So awesome about the kitchen herbs – can never have too many of those. And yay for a few strawbs! Those are my favorite to watch grow – its like magic! Glad you’re enjoying it, try not to stress too much ;)

  13. Hannah says:

    Hehe this sounds just like my attempts at gardening – i kill the things even an idiot can apparently grow…except spring onions. I’m pretty good at growing them but unfortunately next doors cat was so impressed she used them as her loo! Thankfully though my husband and in-laws are far more green fingered so my dreams of a vegetable plot are still alive!

  14. I have been gardening for four year now and it seems like I have killed more plants than I have grown! But every plant that flourishes is such a sweet success. There is always so much to learn. Your garden looks great! I love that little strawberry.

  15. Kate says:

    You need leaky pipes! My parents have them in their garden – it’s a watering system with pipes that you can put on a timer so plants stay hydrated. Not sure why I’m offering tips though as I’m so un-green fingered! xxx

  16. Abby says:

    I love this, Kathryn! I’m not much for gardening – I think growing up with my parents, who grow plants & flowers for a living has made utterly sick of it -, but, in spite of this, I’m loving these updates of yours! I can’t believe it’s been two month since your first one- woah.

    Good luck – good luck! You can do this <3

  17. Totally impressed with the progress and all the GREEN! We tried some edible planting on the deck last summer, and suddenly we had a little raccoon family coming to visit every night (eek!). No garden this year, so I’ll just sit back and swoon over yours!

  18. Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen says:

    Yay! Thanks for this update! Green gorgeousness <3

  19. Nora says:

    I am really impressed by all of your progress so far, and this gives me some great ideas for what to plant this year!

  20. Keep going! Gardening is hard work and I feel like most successful gardeners have had to do some trial and error with what works best with their plants. I just started my own garden, my radishes and spinach seem to be doing quite well so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed! My berry plants seem to be doing great, too, but no fruit yet! I’ve yet to figure out a way to water my plants while I’m gone, too… might be time to invest in a plant baby sitter? Does that make us sound like crazy plant ladies? (I am totally a crazy plant lady.)

  21. What a great little starter collection! Look at that teeny tiny strawberry! I’ve been trying to grow Chillis, but they died last week, I was pretty gutted. My herbs have thrived through the cold british winter though. Tomato plants are next on my list!

  22. Kathryn, I was wondering how your little garden was going, and here you are with an update:) Your raspberry bush looks super health and so does your strawberry!
    One thought for you, have you tried using fish emulsion as a fertilizer? It smells horrid, but the plants lap it up.
    Gardening is so humbling…. just when I think I’ve got it figured out, some new issue occurs and puts me back in my place.

  23. It’s looking so good Kathryn! Can’t wait to see it when everything is in full bloom!

  24. Nice garden! I have raspberry canes on my balcony too. This spring I added some herbs and I’m already planning what to plant next year. Greets!

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