Gardening on the balcony

It’s been about four weeks since Brian and I started up the balcony garden.  We knew that it would be tough – our balcony is large but north-facing so there isn’t a lot of sun exposure.  But at the same time, we didn’t want to be discouraged.  There’s also a lot of great resources available online for those who are interested in small space gardening.

Well, the initial results are in – It’s been a mixed bag so far and definitely a great learning experience.


The Beans – A Fail (so far)

We bought a small bag of green bean seeds.  My parents have always had success growing green beans and I hoped to replicate their success.  They’ve been growing for about 8 weeks now, both inside and outside and they’re looking not so good.  They’ve grown to be about a foot tall, but there are no blooms and they still have their baby leaves.  The shoots are still green, but they seem to have entered some sort of dormant phase.


The Basil – A Fail.  In fact, an Epic Fail.

There’s a lot of different varieties of basil plants to choose from.  At the Van Dusen Plant Sale a few weeks ago, we bought a Siam Queen Basil plant.  It smelled sooooo good.  For the first few days, the plant was doing well.  But alas… it has wilted and does not seem to be recovering.  I don’t have much hope for this one.


The Oregano and Thyme – A Success

The oregano and thyme plants are both doing very well in our slightly shady balcony.  The oregano has grown about three inches taller and the thyme has spread to take over a third of the planter.  I harvested a few springs of each this past weekend.  I’m going to have to keep an eye on these plants to make sure I harvest them regularly.


The Watercress – An EPIC Success

For $1-something, we bought a watercress plant at a small farm shop in Burnaby the other week.  I planted it in a spare pot I had and BOOM.  Shoots galore.  It did great on the balcony!  In fact, there were so many shoots, that some of the smaller ones were dying because they were being crushed by larger shoots.  I took that as a sign to harvest, and I collected a bag full of shoots this past weekend.  We had them raw and in soup and it tasted great.


The Tomatoes… – ????

We bought two Tumbler Tomato plants from the Van Dusen Plant Sale.  I saw these growing in a planter outside a restaurant once and I’ve coveted them ever since.  Tumbler is a low growing variety (hence the name) and produces small fruits about the size of a cherry tomato.  I’m super excited.  Since we planted them last week, the plants have grown larger, but still no signs of flowers.  I’m hopeful though.  The leaves are very healthy and green and there are new shoots forming.  Time will tell!




I’m happy with the results so far.  We’ve definitely recouped the cost of the watercress and I expect to recoup the cost of the fresh oregano and thyme within a few weeks.  As for the fails, well… I still have more bean seeds, so I might try growing another two plants if my current ones don’t get better.  The basil is a lost cause.  I think that I might replace the dying basil with something more shrubby – perhaps rosemary?  And the tomato plants… fingers crossed!

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