A little elaborational tangent about gardening: I really feel gardening, growing your own botanicals or edibles, is a fulfilling and educational activity to understand the whole of life and live happier in it. Some people say they aren't the 'gardening type' (what ever that means) or that it's too hard, or that they don't have any space for it. It reminds me of when people say they can't draw and that they can only draw stick people. Besides being a statement for humour and social relatebility, it's most likely false. There might actually be people that can't draw anything but only stick people, but for the most part, it's the idea that that person has planted in their mind which makes them believe they can't draw well, thus crippling their self expectations of drawing above average and extiguishing their possibility of trying. Drawing techniques require practice, time, and patience, to develope and improve, and so does gardening. If people have an impression of gardening as something extremely labour intensive, or requiring some sort of 'talent', they wont do it. In my opinion, everyone has the ability to garden, even draw, if only they can see the possibility in themselves.
I was having lunch with a friend a couple of days ago and I was talking about how gardening can really be a teacher of life lessons and how to live happier. When I'm gardening, I'm really 'assisting'. I can choose what I want to plant and grow, but after that, the authority and control goes to nature, and I go with it. The lack of control in gardening might be why some people become frustrated when gardening, because no matter how much they try to control the outcome of their garden, it still might not turn out the way they wanted it. What a great life lesson: sometimes trying to over control things in life, out of our control, leads to stress and unsatisfaction. Gardening also requires patience, commitment, and presence, all things that we all can have more of in our fast paced lives. The best moments for me, the most happy, and regenerating, happen when I'm in my garden, silent and still, both in speech and mind. It's in stillness and silence that the fullest awareness, the most beautiful humble discoveries, and creative ideas can surface. In a way, gardening can be a form of meditation, at least for me. So whether you have a one bedroom flat with one window, or an acreage of farmland, live by the sea, or in the concrete jungle, everyone can garden in their own way. A garden can even be as simple as a couple of potted plants of basil on a window sill, or being ambitious and growing your first pepper plant, or even having a space outside your front porch for perennials to grow every spring/summer season. Gardening is what you make of it, and make mistakes, those are the best! Mistakes don't really exist, they are all just the very best learning opportunities.
So there is my elaborational tangent, moving onto the balcony garden. This year, I'm going to use the same planters as last year, with the exclusion of the large round planters I used last year to grow tomatoes, and the addition of two more oval planters, similar to the ones I used for my climber beans. This year, I'm also growing less on my balcony garden. I found that last year some of my plants didn't grow to full maturity as others did because they were too crammed together, fighting to get their share of sun and nutrients. I'm planning to grow seed bombs with edibles in them (yes I said seed bombs, explanation to come...) and my Nonna's climber beans. That's it.
First thing I did was top up my planters with rich organic soil and mixed in my go-to organic all natural kelp meal fertilizer from Urban Harvest. I was sadly surprised to hear that Urban Harvest is only a pop-up shop that relocates around the city every year, but their heirloom and organic gardening fare can be purchased on their website.
Now to the seed bomb portion. I found an amazing seed bomb kit at Anthropologie that grows edible plants.
Basically, they are little round compact forms containing a random mix of seeds, red clay, and worm castings (that will biodegrade into the soil and provide nutrients for the seeds to grow).
There are 15 seed bombs in the kit: 5 for edible flowers, 5 for herbs, and 5 for salad greens.
I dedicated my two cedar planters for the edible flowers and the two oval planters at the balcony's edge to house the salad greens and herbs. The kit suggested to crumble the seed bombs if even coveraged was desired, so I crumbled away.
Literally after a few days of absolutely divine weather, the plants started sprouting!
The final plants I'm growing on my balcony garden are the climber beans my Nonna used to grow and that I started to grow last year. They are beautiful, delicious, and have deep sentimental value to me. Last year, I let some of the bean pods mature and then havested and dried their beans for this year's planting.
I germinated the beans, along with tomato seeds I harvested from my tomatoes last year (which will be planted in my backyard garden), in little anchovy jars filled with damp paper towel. These jars are amazing because their metal hinges can be positioned to prop up their glass lids and act as mini greenhouses.
I still need to buy two more oval planters for the climber beans to be placed at the edge of the balcony, that way they get loads of sunlight and can busily climb all over the railing. For now, I'm placing the germinated beans in a small pot of soil to fully sprout.
Yesterday night the weather dropped drastically and there was a predicted frost warning, so my dad helped me out by covering all the planters with burlap and I kept all the germinating jars and pots in my room. Right before I went to sleep, I noticed this at the end of the day....
Even with all the change and panic, these plants calmly and stoically grow, unfazed. Lesson learned today, face any change with strength and perseverance, no point in freaking out or stressing. Adapt with the current and thrive. The next coming week is suppose to have increasingly good weather, so I'm going to put these plants out again, remove all the burlap, and continue gardening away. If you're gardening this season, I wish you the best experiences and best results!