Monday, July 30, 2012


Last week I wrote about the success of one of the other chili pepper plants, the jalapeños. Another jalapeño plant has also produced some fruit as well. It's not a great abundance but we certainly have more than we normally buy. I love how plentiful they look on a single plant, just dangling the way they are.

jalapeno peppers

sunflowers: week 1

The sunflower seeds I planted last weekend have sprouted seedlings. They look pretty good so far. Hopefully, the others will pop our of the dirt too. I planted 7 to 8 seeds. I'll have to be diligent about thinning them out for healthy ones. Maybe I'll even try to transplant them to single pots. For now, I'm just happy they've come through the ground.

Sunflower seedling

something's eating my basil

damaged basil

We were editing the balcony garden again this weekend, which meant cutting down and unproductive tomato plant. It revealed a partially devoured basil plant and at the base was the culprit playing dead. I've never seen a caterpillar before and it became a curiosity for me. It eventually returned to munching away on some fallen basil leaves. I was amused by the caterpillar devouring the basil leaf.

I then moved it to the remaining leaf of the basil plant so I could record a video of it chomping away.

Eventually, I got rid of it - over the balcony. I hope it doesn't find it's way back to our balcony garden.

munching away

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

thinning out

We edit the garden again and we're more pleased with the space we've taken back. Being a first time gardener, I was a bit overly zealous about growing things. We started off with seeds but I didn't realize I had to thin them out, and when I did, I felt bad about getting rid of the seedlings. Well, I eventually thinned out the herd! Any of the tomato plants that we have that were not producing were chucked. It sounds cruel but we've adopted a policy in the balcony garden. Each plant must earn their keep by producing fruit or flower. We got rid of 3 or 4 unproductive tomato plants. The balcony feels more spacious now and the surviving plants have room to grow bigger.

The marigolds seem to have sprouted all the flowers it could so I removed the whole plants. I noticed one of the basil plants was being eaten by something so I removed that plant. I removed a nasturtium plant too. I got rid of some other herbs too that were not replenshing.

Despite the sad news of having to get rid of some plants, there are some goods news to share. I noticed a couple of the cayenne peppers started to turn color. In fact, I used one in a chili I cooked this past weekend. One of the chili pepper plants has finally produced jalapeño peppers. I guess my manual pollination paid off. I foresee fresh salsa in the near future!

red cayenne pepper

And a cluster of yellow pear-shaped tomatoes ripened this past weekend and I made a tiny tomato salad with some basil from the garden. These little guys were very juicy, sweet, and flavorful. There's more of these to come! We planted these from seeds and we have a few of them plants. And they're producing clusters left and right and continuing to grow taller!

yellow pear-shaped tomatoes

And in fact, I noticed one of the red tomatoes have started to turn color. We were beginning to worry if they would ever ripen or if we would be eating green tomatoes, which we did as a few had fallen off as we were reorganizing the plants on the balcony. I eventually made fried green tomatoes with them, and they tasted great! I also tried green tomatoes with salt and fresh cracked green peppercorns and they also tasted great!

Monday, July 23, 2012

return of the roses

yellow rose

Just when I thought that the mini rose bushes were done with producing anymore flowers, one of them has produced more yellow roses! It's a welcomed sight to the balcony, which is currently mostly green.

dahlias are coming back

arabian nights dahlia

I was getting worried about the Arabian nights dahlias because they were showing signs of distress. The leaves were speckled and turning brown as if drying up. At first I thought it was caused by the organic bug sprays I was using. I have found a few aphids and infestation of spider mites on the dahlias but I was surprised that these little buggers could cause this much trouble.

Despite the dahlias being distressed, they were still producing new growth and flower buds albeit smaller flowers from what they started out blooming. But even the new growths were also showing the speckled leaves.

I then realized that the dahlias were getting too much water. In fact, the planters were sitting in water. The planters containing the dahlias have drainage holes but the water wasn't draining away because it was sitting in a tray of water. I dumped out the water and the dahlias began to show signs of improvement.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The balcony is a jungle of tomato plants! We got rid of a couple that were not producing, which freed up some air space. It's also too green on the balcony so I've decided to add some color. Apparently, it's not too late to grow sunflowers. I have a packet of seeds and will plant them this weekend.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

orion as seen on our balcony

Orion is a constellation of stars. Orion is also known as a figure in Greek mythology, a giant huntsman. But here on earth, and specially on our balcony, they are a constellation of beautiful flowers with large blooms.

Orion dahlia

Orion dahlia

Orion dahlia

yellow tomato

One of our many tomatoes is beginning to ripen. It's turning bright yellow and I suspect that it will be ready for picking this Friday! I can't wait to taste our first home-grown-on-the-balcony-in-a-container-tomato.

Yellow tomato