How does your garden grow?


I’ve had these photos sitting in a draft for several days and they’re rapidly becoming outdated, so here’s the first of (likely) many posts about our balcony garden.

Our front porch is pretty large (5′ x 14′ or so, I’d guess), so I knew as soon as we moved in that I wanted to do a little container gardening when the time came.  Cue the longest winter ever.

Now that things have warmed up for the long term, I’ve got several planters’ worth of herbs and vegetables growing; here are the highlights.


I planted some family heirloom seeds, and not a single one sprouted.  They were a few years old and probably stored in less-than-ideal conditions, so I blame myself for that failure.  I picked up a 4-pack of plants and planted them near the balcony railing, in the hopes that they’d find their way up.  No such luck.  They were clearly getting too heavy for their own good, so I tied them on to the railings, which seems to have helped.  They’re still getting taller, but I’m puzzled by the dead leaves at the bottom.  Those are the leaves that tend to get wettest when I water them, so I’m inclined to think that there’s something in our city water that doesn’t agree with plants.






Same problem with the basil: it’s growing quickly (it’s almost twice as big now as when I took these pictures last week), but the bottom leaves are disgruntled.  As long as the rest of the plant looks healthy, I guess I’m not too worried, but curious.


Red Bell Peppers


I know, these plants are way too close together.  I didn’t actually want six plants, but that was how they were sold.  I thought I’d plant them and let them duke it out in the planter, and just keep the top three.  (Un)fortunately, they all look good, so it’s time to find a new planter.  All six plants cost less than a pound of red peppers at the grocery store, so it won’t be hard to come out ahead on these anyway.






Now on to the real experiment of the year: tomatoes in bags.  It’s been done before, but will it work here?  I’m incredibly cheap, so the idea of using 99-cent Aldi bags is really appealing.  So far, the tomatoes (San Marzano variety) seem to be doing well.  They’re certainly getting bigger and one of them may have the start of a blossom (or maybe that’s just my wishful imagination).  For the sake of next year’s planning: each bag is holding about 1 cubic foot of dirt; whether more is needed will depend on if these work out.



Sink or swim, more updates will surely be coming through the summer!


8 thoughts on “How does your garden grow?

  1. Jenny says:

    Yay, veggies! Looks great! I’ll be curious to hear how the tomatoes in bags work out.

    • Holly says:

      So far so good. I’m a little concerned that I should’ve added more dirt, but I think it’s probably too late for that now.

      On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 3:21 PM, Pilgrims in an Unholy Land wrote:


      • Rosie says:

        ACTUALLY! You CAN add more dirt, because tomatoes tend to lose their bottom leaves as the plants grow taller, so if you build up the soil around the stem, they’ll grow new roots there! Isn’t that cool??? I wonder if that’s what’s happening to the other plants, and if they’re just losing steam down low… The lower leaves tend to get less sun as well, so that could be it?

        • Holly says:

          YAY!!! I’m definitely going to do that, then! I thought I had read something about that, but I couldn’t find it again and it seemed like something I might have imagined. Thanks!

          On Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 8:06 PM, Pilgrims in an Unholy Land wrote:


  2. Katie says:

    The basil plants that I’ve put into planters have started going brown, especially the bottom leaves, but the one I haven’t planted yet looks fine. I really don’t get it.

  3. Tomatoes in bags! I can’t wait to see how that works!
    I’ve also found that the family heirloom seeds are waaaaay less forgiving about post-date germination than conventional seeds.

    Love the container garden!

    • Holly says:

      Everything has blossoms now, so something must be working!

      On Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 6:44 PM, Pilgrims in an Unholy Land wrote:


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